Town Limits and Business License

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by GreenSceneLLC, May 3, 2013.

  1. GreenSceneLLC

    GreenSceneLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Hello everyone.

    I was wondering how you guys went about making sure a town requires a business license to do business in the incorporated areas? Is there an easy way to look information like this up, or would I need to make a bunch of phone calls every-time I got a job in a town that I haven't been before.

    It seems very tedious having a mobile business and doing work in multiple counties/towns. Is it common to not even worry about having a license in a town and just take the risk?

    How do you guys handle this? Any advice/tips would be appreciated.
  2. windflower

    windflower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,112

    If you are advertising they will find you. Generally larger cities require some sort of license (at least in NC) Just did a google search for wilmington business license and the finance dept came right up. You might try it for the cities you are working in. At least you would have some numbers to call with questions.
  3. GreenSceneLLC

    GreenSceneLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Thank you for the reply. What do you mean they will find me?

    Lets say I get a call for a job in a town I've never worked before. Should I do my best to not be available for an appointment until I know I can have my license finalized? Or should I take the job (w/o the L.)and just get the license asap? Would I face a huge fine if I got caught operating in a town that required a license?
  4. windflower

    windflower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,112

    Can't say how other towns work, but when the city of wilmington found me they simply informed me I needed to buy this license from that point forward or they would take me to court. It's only $30 a year. They have a form I'm supposed to fill out and send in with the check. Any more I throw away the form and just send a check, they seem to know what it is for because I get the license certificate in a few weeks.
  5. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,743

    dang it's cheap for you guys. it's $85-$90 for each city here. it's only needed if you work in city limits. outside city limits no license is needed.

    i work in about 6 different towns/cities. i'm not gonna pay for 6 licenses. i only pay for 2 which is where most of my jobs are.

    it's not worth paying for a license for 1 customer in a city. i work in 4 cities that i only have 1 customer in each city. all of the rest are in the 2 cities i have a license for.

    i've never been checked in any of the places i work in so i wonder if it's all just a waste of money. :laugh:
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,305

    Follow the former military policy: Don't ask, don't tell.

    Then again, you may not want to follow my advice, since I'm not that fond of gov't, taxes, regulations and BS such as paying for the "privilege" of doing business in a certain city.

    I get plowing licenses because apparently in a few cities the cops have nothing better to do at night than harass tax paying, hard working guys out plowing. For summer, I get 1 if needed. The rest............

    And if they give you crap or if you want to get really pissed, read this:

  7. GreenSceneLLC

    GreenSceneLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    That is exactly what I was thinking. Especially for someone starting out. thanks for the reply
  8. rreyn1812

    rreyn1812 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 444

    I would at least find out what the requirements are. Many smaller cities don't require a business licence for some types of businesses. The time & money spend checking can be deducted from your taxes, but the main reason is that you will know what the requirements are. You can then decide whether you will or will not follow your local laws and ordinances, but you won't be guessing. I registered my business one-time with our county clerks office ($25), no special licence required, opened a bank account with a "doing business as (dba)" name, got my insurance with the same name (with my personal insurance agent), and I'm done. The state may have special requirements especially if you get into the treatment of lawns with chemicals, but you have to check those separately. Many guys get into trouble because they don't at least know the rules & regulations. What you decide to do is determined by how much risk you are willing to assume! Violate the wrong law and get caught, and it could put you out of business and/or bankrupt you. Good luck!
  9. magicmike

    magicmike LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    Well another thing is if a customer knows the law, and knows you dont have a license when it is required.... THEY DONT HAVE TO PAY YOU, and if you decide to fight it your not going to win. No matter if you have a contract or not. For a contract (verbally or written) to be enforceable you must have 4 parts... Offer, Acceptance, Legality (which is legally working in your town/city/state etc.) and consideration (money). good luck fighting for your money if you dont have one for the hard work you performed. My advice make your business legal.

    Hope this helps. I spent 550 dollars for county 2 year license. Plus a 75 for a town license which consist of a couple of towns. 31 contractors just got busted here.
  10. windflower

    windflower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,112

    The cost of a license here varies. Most of my work is outside the city so I end up paying the minimum. It is based on sales inside the city with a floor and ceiling.

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