Michigan business licenses

Your easy way to find Michigan business licenses

What should I know about business licenses in Michigan?

Michigan is home to 870,000 small businesses (which make up nearly 100% of total businesses within the state) and growing. It’s a diverse state with many of these businesses owned by minorities. It may be the right time to expand your operations into Michigan, but only if you can navigate the complex requirements for obtaining your business licenses.

Similar to neighboring Indiana, regulated business licenses are decentralized in Michigan. That means a new business owner – or a true business license professional – can’t simply obtain a regulated business license at the state level and expect to be covered wherever they do business within the state. 

It’s frequently necessary to obtain (and renew) separate business licenses in more than one county. That creates a headache for anybody crossing county lines to provide services and may cause delays as you seek to roll out goods to new customers and expand the geographic reach of your services. The good news is that business license experts with Michigan-specific experience exist and are ready to assist.

How many business licenses do you need?

The number of business licenses you need in Michigan depends on a number of unique factors.

These factors include...

  • Within which city/county will you operate your business? 
  • What business activities will you be conducting? 
  • How heavily regulated is your industry? Etc. 

To put it in perspective, we ran the following queries through our own business license research tool. Here are some authentic results:

This may include a county-specific Wayne assumed name certificate. We've collected numerous forms and documents in our database that a business owner should consult before applying for this certificate, including an Assumed Name Certificate Application Form and a Co-Partnership Certificate Application Form.

This may include a local Ann Arbor certificate of occupancy. That certificate requires business owners (at a minimum) to complete a Re-Occupation Application - Commercial.

This may include a state-specific Michigan child care license. In order to get this license, business owners need to submit a Child Care Application-Centers, assuming that they're already well versed in Licensing Rules for Child Care Centers.

Common Michigan business license questions

Let Avalara help you with your business licenses in the Great Lakes State. See some of our common business license questions to learn more.

We wish we could give you a straight answer about whether you need a business license in Michigan. The truth is that it depends, and not every business in Michigan needs a business license. 

Even so, there are many businesses that require a license to operate in the Wolverine State. Businesses ranging from hardware stores to fishing charters need some kind of license.

The cost of your Michigan business license may be different depending on your city and what you do. A business license in Lansing, Michigan has an application fee starting at $100.  In Flint, Michigan, the cost of a business license could range from $22 for a pinball license to $700 for a fireworks store. Keep in mind there may be additional licenses, permits, and registrations required for your business.

How you apply for your business license may rely on your city, but here’s how it works in Detroit. First, you must obtain your building or occupancy permit, your articles of corporation, federal identification number, and any other applicable documents. Then you upload your documents and apply for your license online.

You can save time and cut through some of the processes with managed license services from Avalara. We can help you determine the appropriate licenses and put together your applications.

Licensing information for Michigan cities

Learn more about business licenses

Connect with Avalara to learn more about the licenses your business may require.

Learn more about business licenses

Connect with Avalara to learn more about the licenses your business may require.