Oregon Small Business Development Center Network

DOWN TO BUSINESS - Do I need a city business license?


A look at small business questions from the Southwestern Oregon Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
By Arlene M. Soto CMA, CGBP, Southwestern SBDC Director

Do I need a city business license?

In Oregon, licensing requirements depend on where you live and what industry you are working in. Even if you do not need a local business license, you may need to meet certain statewide requirements.

You will want to check with the local city or county government to determine what licenses are required in your community. Another source of licensing information is on the Oregon Secretary of State’s Corporation Office website at This site is “…a single information source for Oregon licenses, certifications, permits, and registrations (all referred to as licenses).”

If you are planning to operate a business from your home, you will want to check on local zoning ordinances when you check on the licensing requirements. Your community probably has guidelines about signage, parking and other issues that might affect your home based business. If you are planning to build a facility to house your business you will also need to verify the zoning is appropriate for the property you are considering.

Food service businesses have a lot of state requirements to meet to ensure proper handling of the consumable products being sold to the public. To find out more go to the Oregon Department of Agriculture Food Safety Division website at

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) advisors are a good source of information to make sure you have identified all the licenses and permits necessary to operate legally in the state. SBDC counseling services are free and confidential. To locate the office nearest you, go to

Use the free resources provided in Oregon to get answers to licensing and permitting questions before you start your business to ensure you are operating legally in the state. It could save you headaches, time and money.

The SBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network, the Oregon Business Development Department and Southwestern Oregon Community College. Arlene M. Soto has been the Director of the Southwestern Small Business Development Center since July 2007. To ask a question call 541-756-6445, e-mail, or write 2455 Maple Leaf, North Bend, OR 97459. Additional help is available at the OSBDCN Web page