Small business owners help power Idaho’s economy. So if you’re starting a business — or growing your side gig into a permanent venture — good for you! Not only are you embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, but you’re also making a major contribution to the state.
As you finalize your business plan and gear up for your first hire, remember to take all the steps needed for official business ownership. That includes registering your business’s name and entity with the state and getting a business license in your local city or town.
If you’ve been wondering how to get the job done quickly and hassle-free, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve done most of the research for you, so you don’t have to waste time scouring the internet for help.
Here I’ve outlined the steps for getting your Idaho business license.
The answer depends on what you do and where you work. Every Idaho city and county handles business licenses a little differently, so to find out, you’ll need to contact your local municipal department.
Fortunately, the state of Idaho does give you a head start. They’ve put together a Business Wizard tool to help you investigate the requirements for your profession.
All you have to do is answer a few quick questions about your line of work, and the tool will display a checklist of agencies to contact about starting your business. It’s a one-stop shop for getting the contact information you need.
Best of all, it only takes 2 minutes to complete.
But let’s say you contact your local municipal department, and they say an Idaho business license isn’t required for your profession.
Good news, right?
Well, you may want to consider getting one anyway. There are a lot of benefits to carrying a business license, and especially a business insurance policy. A business license can:
In short, it’s worth asking your local municipal office about how you can acquire an official “stamp of approval,” even if it isn’t a requirement.
Here’s one thing the state of Idaho does require, though — all businesses must register their names and entity information with the Idaho Secretary of State. It’s important that you do this before officially opening your doors and conducting work with your first customer. Otherwise, you may be on the hook to pay a fine, or worse, at risk for getting shut down.
Fortunately, it’s quick and easy to do. Just create an account online and follow the registration instructions.
Ready to learn more about how to get a business license in Idaho? Let’s review the steps!
You’ve researched your business’s strategy, drafted a business plan, and determined your business’s structure. Now what?
As I mentioned, the first step is to register your business’s name and entity with the Idaho Secretary of State. Not only will this keep you on the “right side of the law,” but it also helps the state keep track of your business and its safety.
To register your business in Idaho, you’ll need:
You should also come prepared with:
Save time and hassle by gathering these documents ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck in the process because you have to search for paperwork.
And if you have questions on how to register your business’s name and entity, you can contact the Idaho Secretary of State’s Commercial Division — Business Entities department directly:
Idaho Secretary of State
Commercial Division — Business Entities
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0080
208-334-2300, fax: 208-334-2080
Finally, here’s the state’s quick guide to starting a business in Idaho.
Every local county and city in Idaho handles business permits and licenses a little differently. Your best bet is to visit your local municipal building’s town clerk. Many of Idaho’s cities have their own websites, so you may be able to find information there.
For example, if you live and work in Boise, it’s easy to visit the city’s website to apply for a license. You also can research the types of permits you may need and any other requirements for starting a business in Boise.
Depending on what you do, you also may need an occupational license with an Idaho professional agency.
For example, midwives, barbers, and chiropractors, to name a few, must obtain licenses before working with clients. If you fall behind on securing your professional license and keep working anyway, you could get into hot water with the state.
It’s best to be diligent and adhere to the guidelines for your profession.
The Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses does a great job of listing the requirements based on trade. You can find contact information for your profession’s licensing board, and in many cases, renew your license online too.
Starting a business in Idaho is a big deal — and a big responsibility. You want to go about it the right way, and that means following the official process. But if you complete the correct paperwork and are deemed official, you’re much more likely to experience success.
Along the way, you’ll probably want to get business insurance too, as you may need to present a Certificate of Insurance (COI) to get an Idaho business license in your city or town.
But even if it’s not a requirement, getting general liability and professional liability insurance is a good idea anyway. It can protect you financially if there’s an accident or injury at your workplace, or if you get accused of negligence or have another claim filed against you.
Business lawsuits can be extremely costly. You don’t want to get caught in the middle of one without strong financial protection from a business insurance policy.
Before officially opening your business, consider getting a policy right away. Depending on what you do and how many employees you have, the costs may be minimal.
To compare policies in Idaho today, check out Simply Business’s free quote tool. It takes just 10 minutes or less to find policies that can work for your business.
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 >
As you may have guessed, there are some costs to starting a business in Idaho. But chances are, you’ll be able to recoup them as soon as you officially open your business’s doors. You can expect to pay fees for:
Remember, starting a business in Idaho isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes time, dedication, and resources. But anyone can do it if they have the drive and determination, and the rewards can be great.
There’s nothing more satisfying than building something from the ground up and seeing it flourish — especially if it’s a business you can call your own.
* 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.