What Licenses Does A Dent Repair Business Need?

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Starting a successful paintless dent repair business takes more than knowing how to remove dents. Starting a new business requires completing several steps, and obtaining licensing is an important one as it may impact your ability to operate legally.

The question, “what business license do I need to start my dent repair business” is a common one, but can be hard to answer because every location is different. Your business will likely need multiple licenses, permits, and registrations from federal, state, and local agencies.

Licensing for a dent repair business is much easier than a business that performs auto repairs or auto body work. If your business will also provide these services, be sure to research the requirements.

Let’s consider which licenses to consider when starting a dent repair business.

Related: Guide to starting a dent repair business

While we have researched what licenses and permits your business may need, please be aware that there is no way for us to have uncovered every state and local requirement.

To not miss any important licenses and permits, we recommend also checking with your local Chamber of Commerce, economic development agency, or use a business license service like Incfile or Corpnet.

What Licenses Do You Need to Start a Dent Repair Business?

Provided you are only offering paintless dent repair, the licensing requirements are much lower than other automotive repair businesses. This will help make your business a little easier to start, but there is still business licensing that will be needed.  A few things to look out for include:

Business Structure

One of the first registrations to do when starting a business is selecting a business structure (also referred to as a legal entity). A business structure refers to how a business is organized to operate. The four main types include the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC).

Related: What is the difference between a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or LLC?

Business Name Registration

While not necessarily a business license, it’s worth noting that to use a name for a business, many states require the registration of that name. Making matters more complicated, the process of name registration is different by state and the type of business entity.

For instance, sole proprietorships and partnerships generally need to register a business name (also referred to as a Doing Business As, DBA, fictitious name, or assumed name).

Learn: How to register a DBA

Corporations and LLCs register are a little easier because the name is registered when the entity is formed with the state.

General Business License or Permit

Depending on where the business is located, a general business license or permit may be required. A few states require a business license; however, they are more commonly found at the city level.

Learn more: Business license requirements by state

Federal Employer Identification Number

The Federal Employer Identification Number (also referred to as a FEIN, Employer Identification Number, EIN, or Federal Tax ID Number) is a unique nine-digit number that identifies a business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Any business with employees or those that form as a partnership, Corporation, and in many cases an LLC, the business will need to get an EIN.

Sole proprietors and single-owner LLCs without employees can instead use the owner’s social security number.

Learn: How to get an EIN 

Sales Tax Permit or Business Number

To sell services in some states, which most of what a dent repair business provides is a service, a state sales tax permit may be needed. This permit creates an account number with the state’s Department of Revenue (or similarly named state taxing agency) to collect and remit sales tax.

Learn: State-by-state information on sales tax permits

Certificate of Occupancy

Many dent repair businesses are mobile only, however others repair dents or store equipment in a commercial building. In most communities, a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is typically needed to operate out of a business location. This certificate is typically obtained from the city and/or the county.

Before the certificate is issued, the building will need to comply with zoning regulations, building codes, and any other local requirements.

If the dent repair business will be operated as a home-based business, a home occupation permit may be required. Be sure to review your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy as it will not typically cover business assets in the event of a loss.

Before deciding to purchase or rent a location for your dent repair business, be sure to check with the local zoning department first to ensure the business can legally operate out of the chosen location.

Certifications

In addition to licensing, a dent repair business can also obtain certification to gain additional skills and industry-specific knowledge. A few paintless dent repair business certifications include:

 

The process of identifying all the licenses and permits necessary to start a dent repair business may feel confusing and overwhelming. While researching licenses and permits isn’t the most exciting thing when starting a business, it’s critical to spend time upfront to get right the first time.

To make sure your bases are covered, you can do it yourself and contact the city or local economic development office and request assistance. Additionally, there are companies that specialize in business license research, such as Incfile or Corpnet.

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