Apply for Business Licenses In North Carolina

(Last Updated On: October 10, 2017)

A frequent question we get is how to get a business license or permit in North Carolina.  There are actually several types of licenses your business may need to apply for like a local business license, privilege license or professional license.  The cost of business licenses is going to vary depending on the type of business and location. It’s important to start applying for licensing early as it may take some time to get approval to operate your business.  Some types of businesses will also need to register with multiple agencies, which also increases the time to legally operate.  While this site is continually being updated, it’s important to also contact your local city/town’s City Hall, Economic Developer or Mayor to let them know you are in the process of getting started and get confirmation that all local licenses and permits have been applied for.

Some licenses your business may need to apply for include:

Local North Carolina Business License Application

Almost every North Carolina community (both at the town/city and/or county level) have some sort of licensing/registration or rules and regulations that businesses need to be aware of.  Some require a general business license while others have requirements for certain professions, zoning, building/ building improvements, signage requirements, etc.

You will want to make sure that your business meets the requirements before opening the doors instead of having a visit to shut down operations until you are in compliance.   Don’t be intimidated in working with your local governments as they have an interest in new businesses opening in the community and they are there to help you do so, but certain laws and regulations must be followed.

Be sure to contact your City Hall, Economic Developer or Mayor to say you are planning to start a business and need to find out what is needed to register.

State of North Carolina Business License

There is no general business license in the state of North Carolina.  however there are some industries/occupations that are required to register; such as alarm system businesses, chick dealer,

North Carolina Privilege License

The privilege license is a license requirement of every person, firm, company or corporation engaged in any business, vocation, occupation or profession in the state of North Carolina.  The State and County license(s) is issued by the county Probate Judge or License Commissioner in the county where the business is located. Unless otherwise provided, a license is required in every county where the business is conducted.

More information on the North Carolina Privilege License is available from the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Professional Licenses

A variety of professionals in the state are regulated and need to register such as commercial fisherman, firearms trainer, fur dealer and many more.  Additional information, fees and licensing requirements for professions are available from the North Carolina Department of Commerce & Economic Analysis Division .

In addition to professional licenses, businesses in a variety of industries such as food establishments, day cares, salvage dealer and many others require licensing.