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How to Get a Business License in Oregon

Written by:

Edited by:

Reviewed by: Daniel Javor

Published on July 24, 2022

Updated on November 17, 2022

How to Get a Business License in Oregon

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How to Get a Business License in Oregon

One of the most important elements of starting a limited liability company (LLC) is making sure you have all the requisite licenses and permits. The requirements vary by state, some of which have as many as 300 different licenses and permits. 

This article is too short to list them all, but it’s crucial that you’re aware of which ones your LLC needs and that you follow the steps for application and put your business on the road to success. 

Intro

In Oregon, LLCs need certain licenses and permits to legally operate as a business. The regulatory hurdles required vary depending on the type of business, its location, and the products and services offered. 

To help you launch your new business, this article lays out the most commonly needed permits and licenses in Oregon — and details the steps required to acquire them. 

Why are business licenses required in Oregon?

Business licenses and permits are issued to certify that a business and its products and services are safe for the public. This explains why food businesses, for instance, require more licenses than most other business types. 

Which agency issues business licenses in Oregon?

In Oregon, the vast majority of licenses and permits are issued at the local level, though some are issued by the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Labor and Industries. For instance, the state agriculture department issues food safety licenses, while the labor and industries bureau issues licenses for certain types of contractors.  

Some licenses and permits are issued by cities or counties. So if you live in Portland, you’ll need to check with the city to see if licenses or permits are required for your business.

Before you apply, it’s important to know which state or local agency issues the license you need. Check the state’s site where you can search for licenses for your business. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

businessman typing on computer in the desk office

Types of Business Licenses

Your LLC may need local, state, and/or federal licenses and permits, depending on your type of business. Fees for these vary, but most costs are minimal.

Federal regulations associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific permits. 

The most common permits and licenses include: 

  1. Business operating licenses may be required by the city and the state to allow you to operate. 
  2. Industry-specific licenses may be required, depending on your type of business. Businesses involved in construction, childcare, plumbing, electrical, food and liquor, insurance, finance, landscaping, and architecture all require licensing, for example. In some highly regulated industries, you may require licensing from a federal agency, such as the FDA or Department of Transportation.
  3. Zoning permits are issued by municipalities to ensure you’re operating in an area in which you’re allowed to operate.  
  4. Building permits verify that the building you’re operating in is up to code. Home occupation permits, which some areas require, allow you to operate a business from your home.
  5. DBA permits allow you to do business under a name that is different from your legally registered business name.
  6. Sales tax permits allow you to sell products and collect sales tax. 
  7. An employer identification number (EIN) is required if you plan to have employees, no matter what your business entity type. 
  8. Health licenses and permits are required for certain businesses based on industry, and you will be required to maintain health and safety standards. Environmental permits are also required for certain industries in some locations.
  9. Fire permits certify that your business is up to fire safety codes. Depending on your location, this may be required for all businesses, while in other areas it’s required only if you work with flammable materials.
  10. Sign permits may be required for your location or other signage if there are rules about sign size and location.

Check with state and local government offices for specific requirements for your location and industry, or visit MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance page.

Read more about the types of business licenses and permits here.

How to Get a Business License in Oregon

In Oregon, the steps for acquiring specific licenses and permits vary widely, so it’s important to be aware of what you need, and how to get it. 

Determine the Types of Licenses That You Need 

The licenses you need will depend on the nature of your business. If you have a restaurant, you’d need a food safety license. If you sell tangible goods or certain services, you’ll need a sales tax license. If you are a remodeler, you’ll need a contractor’s license.

Again, you can do a search on Oregon’s business xpress website to find the licenses required for your business. 

Submit Your Business License Application

You’ll apply for business licenses through the relevant department. For example, you’ll apply for a liquor license with the Liquor and Cannabis Commission.

How fast can I get a business license in Oregon?

Most licenses are issued within a few days to a week. Liquor licenses, however, take two to five weeks. 

Renew Your Licenses When Needed

Most licenses need to be renewed annually. Nominal fees are usually involved. 

How much does an Oregon business license cost?

Fees for licenses range from zero for a food safety license to up to $1,000 for a liquor license.

In Oregon, and most US states, jumping through all the hoops to acquire the necessary licenses and permits can be exhausting. But if you want to operate your LLC, you’ll have to wade through all the red tape. So get started on these regulatory hurdles as early as possible and clear the way for your entrepreneurial journey to success.