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How to Get an Indiana Business License

5-minute read

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Allison Grinberg-Funes

Allison Grinberg-Funes

20 September 2021

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If you're a small business owner in the state of Indiana, you know it takes a lot of planning, work, and ongoing effort to succeed in the "Crossroads of America" state.

You may even be at a crossroads yourself, when it comes to starting your business and what types of permits or registrations you may need. And we get it — it isn't easy to sift through all of the information online, so how are you supposed to feel entirely informed? We've done the research for you so you can find most everything you need in one place.

In this article, we'll review the license requirements, examples of how much the license may cost, and the steps to apply for one.

Let's go!

Does the State of Indiana Require a Business License?

We'll be up front with you, the paperwork you need to start a business depends on:

  • Where you live and do business
  • What your trade or profession is

The state of Indiana typically requires specific businesses to get licensed, like certain types of contractors, people who work in financial services, and more. You can learn if your profession requires a business license on the Indiana Business Owner's Guide, on the page regarding Special Licensing and Permitting Issues.

If you don't see your profession listed on that page, you also can check here at Keep in mind that some of the professions listed require you to deliver your application in person, as they also may require giving your fingerprint to get licensed.

So what if you don't see your profession listed on either of the above-mentioned pages?

You may not be in the clear yet. While the state of Indiana doesn't require a general business license, many municipalities require a license at the county or city level. You can check with the local government where you're running your business to see if a license is required. Additionally, these requirements may change periodically so it’s best to check with your state website to be sure.

Even if it's not required by the state of Indiana or in your local area of business, we still suggest getting a business license. Securing a license for your business can:

  • Help you earn trust of potential customers
  • Fulfill obligations set by landlords or vendors
  • Allow you to open additional locations
  • Help assist in getting approved for grants or other financial assistance
  • And more!

Ready to get started? Read on to learn what goes into the process!

How to Get an Indiana Business License

1. Register for an EIN.

First, you'll need to get your Employee Identification Number, or EIN. To apply for it, head over to the IRS website. Regardless of what type of business entity you have (LLC, partnership, etc.), you'll need an EIN. This also is required for those filing taxes as a sole proprietor, unless you don't have employees.

If you think you might bring on employees for your small business one day, we suggest getting your EIN.

2. Register and apply with the state or your county.

The state doesn't require that all occupations be licensed, but it does require business owners to be registered with Indiana’s Secretary of State. Registering may be done online, by mail, by fax, or in person in most counties, but some counties require you to apply in person.

How do I register my business in Indiana?

If your business is any of the following, you'll need to register with the Secretary of State here:

  • Corporation
  • LLC
  • LLP

If you have a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you'll need to apply to register with your County Recorder.

3. Check with the local county unless you're an LLC or Corporation.

While the state of Indiana doesn’t have a general business license, some counties require you to have an Indiana business license. Regardless of your business entity type, after registering your business, we suggest following up with your local county to see if you need a business license or permits.

Here are relevant pages for the larger cities in Indiana:

Before applying with a specific city or county, be prepared by having all relevant information on hand if needed, such as: your EIN, business name and address, driver's license number, Certificate of Insurance (COI), etc.

If your business is registered as an LLC or Corporation, you'll need to apply via the INBiz website here.

Keep in mind that each city or county may require you to have a business license, depending on your profession or trade. They also may require you to have a professional license, which is a different license altogether. You can look into registering for a professional license with Indiana’s Professional Licensing Agency (PLA) here.

If your business sells goods/products, you'll need an Indiana Retail Merchant Certificate in order to purchase goods at wholesale prices and to collect sales tax on what you sell. This can be accessed at and typically costs $25; it remains valid as long as you own the business and your Federal Identification Number stays the same.

4. Pay for your license and wait for processing.

Most cities/counties will have different prices for Indiana business licenses, depending on your trade or profession. Make sure you know the cost beforehand (we'll get to that in the next section).

Once your application is complete, you'll wait for it to be processed. The wait time varies, depending on your city or county, but we suggest being prepared to wait at least two weeks.

How Do I Get an LLC in Indiana?

To form an LLC in Indiana, you’ll need to file the Articles of Organization with the Indiana Secretary of State Business Services Division. It’s a legal document that officially creates your Indiana Limited Liability Company. It costs $95 if you file online and $100 if you file by mail. The process is fairly straightforward. Just follow the steps here.

Or, if you first want to learn more about the benefits of an LLC, we have them all neatly wrapped and arranged for you here.

How Much Does a Business License Cost in Indiana?

As a business owner, it feels like random charges can pile on at random times. When it comes to getting a business license, though, remember that this is an investment worth making.

The fees for your Indiana business license will vary, depending on where you're applying and what your profession is.

Fees can start as low as $5 and go up from there — it varies, depending on your trade or profession, but the license fee is an annual cost. If your trade requires a higher license fee, be sure to build in the cost to your cash flow leading up to renewal. Additionally, these prices may change so it’s best to independently assess the fee requirements for your business periodically.

Make sure to note the date your license was registered and whether or not you'll need to renew the following year.

What You Need to Know About Business Insurance

Depending on what your trade or profession is, you may be required to have Indiana business insurance in order to get your business license. For example, if you're a contractor in Indiana, you may be required to have general liability coverage, as well as a workers compensation policy (if you have employees) in order to get your license.

If you don't need business insurance in order to apply for a state of Indiana business license in your city/county, there are still many benefits of investing in a policy.

Here’s how a solid business insurance policy can help you:

  • Protect your business from lawsuits related to third-party accidents, property damage, personal injury, and more
  • Secure a sense of trust with potential customers
  • Satisfy landlords and vendors of your business's legitimacy
  • Present as a potential candidate for grants, loans, or other financing options

If you're unsure if you would benefit from general liability insurance or professional liability insurance, you can use our free quote comparison tool to see what coverage options may look like for you. It’s free to compare policy options from the nation's top insurers to determine which policy could work best for you.

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You’re One Step Farther Down the Path

Phew! That was a lot. By now, you should have a good sense of why a business license would benefit your business, how to go about applying for one, and what it may cost you.

As a small business owner myself, I know that going through the processes with administrative requirements like this can be tiring, especially when you have so much else going on. But at the end of the day, securing your Indiana business license will give you peace of mind that your business is official — then you can focus on the work you really love!

* 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.

Allison Grinberg-Funes

Written by

Allison Grinberg-Funes

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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