In Arkansas, there’s tremendous opportunity for small business owners. After all, the state slogan used to be, “The Land of Opportunity.”
But before you get too far ahead, it’s important to set up your business the right way. That means you need to investigate getting an Arkansas business license before officially opening up.
But beware: there’s a ton of information online to sort through. And a lot of it is downright confusing.
Fortunately, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you. In this article, I’ve pulled together the research so you know how to get an Arkansas business license — and why it’s a good idea to follow the guidelines.
The good news is that getting an Arkansas business license and being “official” in your city or town isn’t too difficult.
So are you ready to get started? Let’s go!
That depends on what you do and where you own your business. Not every business owner in Arkansas is required to secure a license, so it’s important to check with the Arkansas Secretary of State and your local city or county town clerk.
For example, some professions related to healthcare, safety, food service, and childcare may require an Arkansas business license. There also are many local Arkansas cities and towns that require business owners to obtain permits and licenses before starting work.
Before getting too far ahead, it’s important to find out what’s required for your line of work. You don’t want to get caught operating without a license when you actually need one. Not only does this put your business at risk, but it also may cost you in penalties and other fines.
To find out what requirements you need to follow, you can:
Fill out the online form on Dream It Do It Arkansas. You’ll find customized directions for your business type.
Contact the Arkansas Secretary of State by mail or phone:
Arkansas Secretary of State Business & Commercial Services Victory Building, 1401 W. Capitol Ave, Ste. 250 Little Rock, AR 72201 888-233-0325 or 501-682-3409
The good news is that there are a lot of benefits to getting an official business license in Arkansas. A license can:
Convinced yet? Next, let’s talk about how to get a business license in Arkansas.
I know, filling out administrative paperwork sounds dull and overwhelming. But I promise that Arkansas actually makes it fairly easy for small business owners to become official. Here’s what you need to do.
Nothing is worse than searching for information while you’re trying to complete a form. Instead, save yourself some hassle and find the information you need ahead of filling out your Arkansas business license forms. Get a folder, and gather these documents and details:
Nearly every small business owner in Arkansas needs to register their business. This helps keep the public safe by putting businesses on the map. It also helps ensure your business pays the right amount of state taxes. To register your business online, go to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website.
Depending on what you do, you may need to secure a professional or trade license before officially opening. Fortunately, the state makes it easy to find out if you need a professional license — and where to go to get one. Just go to the Arkansas Division of Workplace Services website for a full list of professions that require state licenses.
You also can find out the name of the agency that provides licenses, as well as links to their websites. Remember, professional licenses can take time and training to obtain. Plan for this step.
Every Arkansas city or town handles business licenses and permits a little differently. It’s worth calling your local municipal department to inquire about the requirements for your business. Ask about building, health, and occupational permits, as well as permits for signage, zoning, alarms, and even alcohol and tobacco (if needed).
Don’t skip this step. Your local requirements are just as important as getting a state of Arkansas business license.
If you’re starting your business in Arkansas, you should give yourself a big pat on the back. There are a few steps involved, but following the state’s official process will pay off. You won’t have to worry about penalties in the future. Plus, you may get access to some of the state’s helpful resources for small business owners.
As you register your business and investigate local licenses and permits, you may need to get a Certificate of Insurance (COI) too. This document proves that you carry business insurance to protect you, your employees, and your customers if there’s an accident, injury, or a lawsuit.
But even if a COI isn’t a requirement, getting business insurance, including general liability insurance and professional liability insurance is a smart idea. These policies can protect you financially if an unexpected incident occurs.
Fortunately, Simply Business makes getting a business insurance policy easy in Arkansas. Use the free quote tool to compare affordable policies in just 10 minutes or less. Your business will be protected in no time.
Starting a business isn’t free, but it’s well worth the initial startup costs. As you set up your business, remember to budget for:
Filling out the administrative paperwork to start a business can be time-consuming and downright boring. If you start to get discouraged, head to the Dream It Do It Arkansas website for inspiration. You’ll find stories of entrepreneurs who have changed their lives by building a business from the ground up.
Remember, you can do this. It’s hard work, especially in the beginning, but starting your own business is well worth the time and effort involved. You won’t regret building something of your own.
I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
Mariah writes on a number of topics such as small business planning, contractor insurance, and business licenses.
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