We often receive calls from people inquiring about business licenses. Whether it’s to apply for one, find out information on their own, or verify the validity of someone else’s, we’re always redirecting the call. Though we aren't responsible for business licenses, we do assist you with finding the resources you need for your business. So, for this blog post, we’ll share some information on what business licenses are and how to get them.
What is a business license?
A business license is a document that grants the owner the right to start and run a particular business within the jurisdiction of the city, county, state, or country that issues it.
How do I get one?
We covered the steps to starting a business in a previous blog. Once you’ve completed some initial tasks, such as registering with the state and obtaining your EIN number, you’ll need to find out which license, or combination of licenses and permits that you’ll need from federal, state or local agencies. According to the U. S. Small Business Administration, “The requirements — and fees — vary based on your business activities, location, and government rules.”
States tend to have more involvement in regulating businesses than the federal government. Services from occupations such as cosmetologists, estheticians, massage therapists, and landscapers may require specific licensing through the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Activities, such as auctions, construction, dry cleaning, farming, plumbing, restaurants, retail, and vending machines are commonly regulated locally. While the state of South Carolina does not have a general business license, proper research based on your business will be key to knowing which rules and regulations your business needs to register for and comply with.
According to South Carolina Business One Stop, “Your business will need a local business license in most of the municipalities where your business is physically located and conducted.” It may be the case that your business is located in one town and you service another, which would require you to register with both towns. You may be required to register for a county business license if your business is physically located in, or conducts business in a non-city limit or unincorporated part of a county. Some towns may not require you to register a business license with them at all. Most municipalities have their own systems. So, check with them to see what their policies and procedures are.
Also, keep in mind that some licenses and permits expire after a specific period of time. So, be sure to keep track of renewal dates. It’s probably less of a hassle to renew a license than to apply for a new one.
In the case of Williamsburg County, our Code Enforcement Department requires you to register with them in addition to whatever regulations our local municipalities have in place.
For more information, check out these resources on starting a business and obtaining your business license. https://scbos.sc.gov/starting/step4 https://startingyourbusiness.com/south-carolina/
Contact our local municipalities concerning their rules and regulations at the links below. Williamsburg County Code Enforcement
Town of Greeleyville
Town of Hemingway
Town of Kingstree
Town of Lane
Town of Stuckey