Let’s not dance around it: Running a business is hard work. There’s marketing, selling, production, hiring, budgeting, and so much more that go into building a successful business. You’re wearing a lot of different hats and pouring your heart and soul into your business.
So, it makes sense to take the proper steps to set your business up for success. One of those steps is going through the Missouri business licensing process.
But where do you start? With various websites, rules, and requirements, the process can seem overwhelming quickly.
Have no fear — we’ve done the research for you! In this guide, you’ll find almost everything you need to know to get a business license in MO.
Let’s get started!
Licensing their business help business owners not only stay legally compliant but help you reach important achievements in your business as well. A business license can help you:
Business owners must apply for a business license through the city or county government in which they do business. Each city or county may have varying requirements for licensing and business permits, so it’s important to verify with your local officials.
Also, your business will determine the type of business license you’ll need to get. In Missouri, specifically, you may need to apply for multiple licenses based on your business. For example, if you’re in the agricultural industry, there are special requirements you’ll need to follow to obtain a business license in Missouri.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of having one, let’s look at starting the licensing process for your MO business.
First thing’s first — before you can apply for a business license in Missouri, you’ll need to register your business. Determine your business structure, like if you want to form a limited liability company, a corporation, a partnership, etc., and complete the corresponding paperwork.
For more information on business entities and types, visit the MO SourceLink website.
Once you decide on your business entity, register it and your business name with the Missouri Secretary of State. Make sure you have all relevant documents and information on hand.
Info that could be applicable is: your business address and phone number, your EIN or Social Security number, your Certificate of Insurance (COI) if you have business insurance, and any other required information.
As we mentioned earlier, the type of business license you’ll need will depend on the city or county in which your business operates. Be sure to confirm with your local city or county officials on what is required for your business.
In addition, the nature of your business also will dictate which business licenses you’ll need to obtain. For example, if you’re a massage therapist, your license requirements may vary from that of a private investigator.
The MO SourceLink website includes a Resource Navigator tool that can help you identify additional resources for licensing your business in MO. Recommendations may differ based on your industry.
The cost of your licensing your business varies, depending on the city or county in which your business operates. The below examples are current to the date when this article is published, so please be sure to double check your municipality's requirements are current to when you apply for your license.
For example, the City of Ash Grove prorates the business license fees based on when you apply, whereas the City of Anderson, charges a $30 flat fee. To confirm your application fee, contact your local city or county office.
To file for a fictitious business name, or your ‘doing business as’ name (DBA), the filing cost is $7. When completing the application for your business name reservation, the fee is $25 per business entity. For a limited liability company, the fee is $30 per entity.
The fee bracket for renewing the licensing paperwork for your business ranges from $0.01–$50. To see the full fee schedule, visit this page of the Missouri Division of Professional Registration.
If you haven’t thought about business insurance, now is the time to do so. After all, you're working hard to build a profitable, fulfilling business in MO, so shouldn’t it be protected? You might as well check this off your to-do list as well when you're licensing your business!
Let’s look at two kinds of business insurance that can help protect your business from whatever you may encounter.
The state of Missouri requires most businesses with employees to carry workers compensation insurance. This type of insurance can protect both you and your employees from legal disputes, medical wages, and more.
Without this type of insurance, you may have to pay for those expenses out of your own pocket, which could be devastating to your business.
In tandem with workers compensation insurance, general liability insurance is another great protection for your business. General liability insurance can cover things like medical and legal expenses, property damage, professional mistakes, and more.
Without this kind of insurance, you may be at risk of paying for those expenses out-of-pocket, which can add up fast. Not to mention, unforeseen expenses could harm your business exponentially.
If you’re interested in learning more about workers compensation, general liability insurance, or other types of business insurance, reach out to our team of experts today. We’re happy to help you find the right policy for your business.
You may need to show proof of business insurance when licensing your company.
That’s where we come in. Compare free insurance quotes for policies as low as $22.50/month.*Start Here >
As a critical part of the local economy, it’s essential to comply with Missouri rules and regulations. Not only will it legitimize your business, but it can help with growing your customer base, gaining trust among customers and local officials, and position you as a valuable member of the community.
It may feel like a hassle to get your MO business license, but trust us, it will help your business grow in many ways!
* 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’m a writer who specializes in creating value-packed blog content for eCommerce and SaaS companies and small businesses. When I'm not writing, I’m probably out running, checking out a thriller novel—or two—from the library, or trying to pet the nearest dog.
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.