Living in New Hampshire has its perks. Featuring the beauty of the White Mountains, the state really does make you feel as if you can "Live free." And being a business owner there is no exception! There are so many options for you as a founder.
But if you own a small business there, do you need a New Hampshire business license?
Figuring out if this applies to you and the process for getting started can be as confusing as an unmarked mountain trail, but we've got your back.
By the end of this article, you'll have an understanding of whether or not you need a New Hampshire business license, how to go about getting one, and how business insurance could be combined with your business license for the ultimate business security.
Ready to dig in? Let's go!
When it comes to a general business license in N.H., the state generally doesn't require you to have one. However, there are many professions that require a business license, as well as specific municipalities.
We'll go through how to review if your profession requires a New Hampshire business license later on. Regardless of what you find out down the road (or down the page), there are many benefits to you as a business owner when it comes to having a business license.
Getting a business license can benefit you by:
Now that you see the ways that a business license could benefit you, let's talk about how to get one in New Hampshire.
Before you can move ahead with getting your New Hampshire business license, you should register to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS here.
Despite what type of entity your business is — an LLC, corporation, or sole proprietorship (with employees), having an EIN will come in handy down the road, especially when it comes to paying your taxes.
Before checking with your local municipality, check to see if your occupation is regulated. There are several state offices you can check with. The first is the Department of Justice, but we'll be honest — the website doesn't usually give a lot of detailed information as far as various industry requirements, so we recommend writing or calling at:
New Hampshire Department of Justice 33 Capitol Street, Concord, NH 03301
You also can call the Secretary of State's Corporate Division at 603-271-3246. This is a busy line, so you may need to give yourself some extra time to reach them.
Finally, if your business is related to food service, we recommend calling the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services at 603-271-4583.
Your profession may not be one that's typically regulated and required to register for a New Hampshire business license, but you still may need a license (or another kind of permit, such as zoning) at your local level.
To do this, you'll need to check with your local municipality's town clerk. Here are a few New Hampshire local city websites to get you started:
The state is most likely understanding of how confusing all of this can be to navigate, so don't be afraid of calling a number to ask for help . In the end, you'll likely be pointed in the right direction!
Each business license has a different fee, depending on where you will be operating your business.
To find out how much a New Hampshire business license will cost you and what the renewal terms are, you'll need to refer to your city or town's clerk's office.
By now, you've learned whether or not you need a business license, based on what it is you do and where you'll operate your business.
What does business insurance have to do with your business license?
Your local municipality may require you to have business insurance in order to get your New Hampshire business license. Beyond that, though, just like your business license has many benefits for your small business, so does a business insurance policy.
Having business insurance coverage can do a lot for you and your business in the long run. Securing coverage with business insurance can help:
If you plan to have employees, you may also consider looking into workers compensation insurance, which can protect your employees in case they become injured or sick while on the job.
Business insurance coverage will look different for you, depending on what it is you do, the risks involved in your operations, where you're operating your business, and more.
To learn what coverage may look like for your business, you can use our free quote comparison tool here to compare policy options from top insurers around the country.
You may need to show proof of business insurance to get your license.
That’s where we come in. Compare free insurance quotes for policies as low as $19.58/month.*Start Here >
There's no questioning that running a small business is a big undertaking. So much work goes into starting, growing, and protecting your business. When you look at the big picture, though, getting your New Hampshire business license is one step you'll take as a business owner — but it's a crucial step in the right direction toward success. Once you've applied, take a moment to congratulate yourself on this step forward!
*Monthly payment calculations (i) do not include initial premium down payment and (ii) may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on January - March 2023 data of 10% of our total policies sold.
I’ve told stories since I learned to talk and written since I could hold a pen. As a small business owner myself - I'm a freelance writer and yoga teacher - I love contributing to the entrepreneurship community in different ways (including writing for Simply Business!). When I’m not drafting articles for SB, I can be found on my yoga mat, perusing an indie bookstore, and writing (with my cat nearby of course).
Allison writes on a number of topics such as small business leadership, business structures, and employee training.
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
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*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.