Minnesota business licenses

Your easy way to find Minnesota business licenses

What should I know about business licenses in Minnesota?

Minnesota requires a lot of business licenses compared to other states. Moreover, each business license itself is contingent on many requirements. The situation in The Land of 10,000 Lakes can get even more hectic once you realize that the most heavily regulated licenses are decentralized.

A lot depends upon which city in Minnesota you are registering a business. Some of the larger cities – such as Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Rochester – have dedicated licensing departments, while the smaller towns – such as Fertile, Bovey, and Deer River – rely on a local clerk's office.

The decentralized nature of business licenses in Minnesota is a particular burden for heavily regulated professionals, such as commercial contractors. There is no state-issued commercial contractor license. This means that contractors have to check with each city in which they intend to work to see if they meet the municipality's licensing requirements.

In fact, there are often separate requirements for commercial contracting companies and the skilled trade professionals who actually perform the work.

(P.S. Don't underestimate the extent to which large cities in Minnesota rely upon “specialty business licenses.” For example, check out Minneapolis' extensive list of “Sales and Service” licenses. It's quite long.)

How many business licenses do you need?

The number of business licenses you need in Minnesota 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 state-specific health club/spa license. At the very least, business owners need to review the relevant Health Club Registration.

This may include a local food establishment permit. Our database of relevant forms and documents contains a Retail Food Establishment License Application and a Retail Food Establishment Plan Review Application.

This may include a state motor carrier permit. There is an Application for a Certificate or Permit and a Warrant Application for Charter Bus, Common Goods for Hire, and Tow Truck Service that are sometimes associated with this permit.

Common Minnesota business license questions

Looking for business licenses in the land of 10,000 Lakes? There may be more requirements than you expect in Minnesota. Here are a few of the most common questions to help you get started.

As with many other states, whether or not you need a business license is determined by your business. Where your business is located and what you do can both impact your licensing and permits. 

Not only are there state licenses to consider, there may also be local licenses. A retail sales business in St. Paul, Minnesota does not require a license, although a tanning salon does.

License fees in Minnesota vary based on factors like where your business is located and what you do. The license fee for a tree service in Bemidji, Minnesota starts at $65.00. In St. Paul, a house sewer contractor must obtain an annual license that could cost $191 per location.

There’s good news if your business requires a license in Minnesota; you can apply for many licenses online. You can search for your licenses once you’ve determined which ones you need. 

Want to streamline the process and let someone do the legwork for you? Avalara can help you learn the licenses your business requires. Our managed services can also help prepare your applications.

Licensing information for Minnesota 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.