The Right Guide on How to Get Your Business Permits

By on May 22, 2018


Business permits register and regulate businesses within cities, counties, states and nations. This regulation is necessary for managing growth and balancing the active business profiles within their designated areas. It also avoids issues unregulated business growth can create.

Permits, in effect, create a record of the establishment of your business. They offer some degree of protection and reassurance for both, the business and its customers.

Being permitted also establishes business legitimacy in the eyes of local authorities and the public it serves. Permits tell the consumer your business meets the legal requirements for operation.

Permits further imply that your business satisfies local, state, and in some cases, federal review standards, and it has been deemed safe for public patronage.

Unpermitted businesses do not enjoy this status. In the eyes of authorities, these businesses are operating illegally and offer the consumer no protection against ill treatment by that unpermitted business.

Determining Your Business Category

The shortest, quickest route for obtaining a business permit is always the optimum choice. To make the process as quick and painless, not to mention least expensive, as possible, first identify your business category.

Depending upon your business classification, you may also incur higher town planning prices or fees. These fee increases are added to cover any additional local resources your business may use to operate and any additional risk hazard your new enterprise may pose to the public.

Since the business type possibilities are so numerous, no one central permit agency exists on the federal level. To get federally permitted, identify the issuing agency for your kind of business listed in one of the categories. Getting started with the right agency can prevent unnecessary and expensive re-applications.

According to the Small Business Administration, the ten general categories for businesses in the U.S. are listed at their Business Guide tab on their ‘Apply for licenses and permits’ page here.

For example, if your business is any category of farming biology, meaning plants, animals or animal products, your governing agency in the U.S. is the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA. If your business involves any air-related travel or transport, you must get your permit from the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA.

One category not listed on the site above is investment advising. If you plan to open such a business, you now must get a federal permit.

In 2010, after the financial meltdown of 2007/08, federal authorities put in place stricter standards to better protect IRA and other personal retirement accounts some were using for investment purposes.

This licensing can be obtained through the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, for those holding a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field after taking the required certification courses.

Meeting State Permit Requirements

Additionally, each state has its own set of permit requirements. Some of them may already have been met at the federal level, but it always is good policy to double check. State permit standards vary from state-to-state; so again, there is no cookie cutter formula.

States may add requirements depending upon the type of business, number of employees, its location and the pollution produced in its operation. Increasingly, businesses which burden or threaten the environment pay substantially increased operating costs assessed when applying for a permit.

Satisfying Local Permits and Regulations

Likewise, permit requirements are applied at the local level. This is understandable since the immediate area of the business around the business location stands to be most directly affected should adverse circumstances arise.

Additional local permit requirements may address local codes. These codes create increased scrutiny by government agencies charged with protecting the public’s interest.

Even business signage, building finish and color, landscaping, parking lot design and sufficiency are measured. Some cities actually require and count the number of parking spaces in a newly constructed business facility.

How close to the street the building can be located is governed by city rights of way. Review this example of a city in New York with such parking lot codes.

Codes associated with permits are far reaching to the point of being burdensome in many cities. Code violations are punished by heavy fines after a warning, and sometimes, there is no warning.

Review these permit mistakes before beginning the process so you avoid them.

Business Permit Maintenance

One final caution about permits regards their maintenance. Be sure to note renewal dates. Permits expire, and you may or may not receive notice.

Maintaining the original permit is far cheaper and less expensive than having to go through the whole process again. Obey all posting location requirements at the business and all other local permit standards.