Thinking about starting a business in the Beehive State? Good for you! After all, business ownership isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of grit, but also can potentially bring big rewards.
Plus, Utah is a fantastic state to start a small business. Across the state, there are small business development centers that offer free counseling to entrepreneurs regarding strategic planning, finance, marketing, and more.
But before plunging full speed ahead, dot your i’s and cross your t’s with the state. That means before you officially open your doors, you need to register your business with the state and get an official Utah business license.
Fortunately, Utah makes it easy to do the administrative work. In this article, I’ll walk you through the reasons why you likely need an official license and how to get your business license in Utah — fast.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
If you want to start a business, then yes, you need a license. Utah is fairly straightforward regarding the rules, which typically apply across the board to most businesses, regardless of the industry. The state asks that small business owners get a license in the county where their business is located.
Why, you ask? It’s Utah’s way of making sure all new businesses are safe for the public. When businesses have licenses, they’re on the state’s radar. This means state officials can visit and inspect a business to make sure zoning, building, parking, and other requirements are met.
In short, it’s protection for employees, the public, and for you, as a business owner.
Even better — getting a business license can potentially help your business grow and succeed. It can:
Still not convinced? If you don’t get a license, you’re putting yourself at risk for costly penalties. The penalties vary by county, but in most cases, you can risk legal action from the government.
Trust me, you don’t want to get shut down. Just get a business license early on, especially since it’s so easy to do so.
Unlike some states, Utah has a handy website that lets you register your business’s name online. It’s quick and can usually be done in approximately 15 minutes! There’s really no reason to not take this step. Go to Utah’s One Stop Business Registration website to get started.
Completing this online form registers your business as a DBA (Doing Business As), corporation, limited liability company, or limited partnership with Utah’s Department of Commerce. This adds your business’s name to the state’s public registry. Bonus: it makes your company easy to find and helps it appear credible and professional to customers.
If you’re “old school,” no problem. You don’t necessarily have to register your business online. Instead, you can register your business by mail:
Utah Department of Commerce
Division of Corporations & Commercial Code
PO Box 146705
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6705
Service Center: 801-530-4849
Toll-Free Number: 877-526-3994 (Utah residents)
Be prepared to pay a small fee, depending on the type of business you own. If your fee is between $22 and $52, you can pay online using a VISA, MasterCard, or virtual check.
Most businesses in Utah need to get licenses, too. But to be sure, it’s best to contact your local county’s municipal office. The requirements vary, so it’s helpful to talk to someone at your local office first. Fortunately, the state makes it easy to get the address and phone number for county municipal offices. You can find all contact information here.
Remember, every county operates a little differently in Utah. This means that, while some guidelines are universal, the licensing paperwork, background information, and steps required may vary by county.
That said, no matter where you need to get a license, be prepared to bring the following information with you:
Remember, the more prepared you are, the smoother the business licensing process will likely go.
As I mentioned, Utah business licenses are handled at the county level. This means the costs can vary from county to county. It’s best to contact your local municipal office first to find out the license fee amount.
Remember, registering your business and getting a Utah business license isn’t free. But it’s well worth the administrative cost. You don’t want to get caught operating without a license. This could put you at risk for paying a hefty penalty, or worse, having your business shut down. Pay the fee now — and on time. It’ll save you worry and hassle later.
Once you contact your county’s municipal office, you’ll learn the requirements for Utah business licensing. In most cases, you’ll need to prove that you carry a business insurance policy. If you get insurance through Simply Business, it’s easy to request a certificate of insurance (COI) as proof of coverage.
But even if your county doesn’t require a COI, getting general liability insurance and professional liability insurance is a good idea. A business insurance policy can protect you financially if there’s an accident or injury at your company. It also may be able to help cover legal costs if you’re accused of negligence or copyright infringement, for example.
You may think you’ll never get sued, but unfortunately, many small business owners face a lawsuit or the threat of one at some point. Without insurance, the cost of defending yourself or your employees could be enough to put many businesses under water.
Plus, with Simply Business, it’s easy and fast to compare business insurance policy options online. Just use the free quote tool, and within 10 minutes or less, you can see quotes for business insurance policies in Utah. You won’t regret getting a policy sooner rather than later.
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 $25.95/month.*Start Here >
* 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 - December 2020 data of 10% of our total policies sold.
I earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (go Bucky). After realizing my first job might involve carrying a police scanner at 2 am in pursuit of “newsworthy” crimes, I decided I was better suited for freelance blogging and marketing writing. Since 2010, I’ve owned my freelance writing business, EST Creative. When I’m not penning, doodling ideas, or chatting with clients, you’ll find me hiking with my husband, baby boy, and 2 mischievous mutts.
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
*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.