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When you start a business, you know you need a business license. But did you know you may also need a specialty business license, depending on the field your company is in?

What is a Specialty Business License?

Your city or state’s business licenses, permits & tax division have deemed that some niche industries need very specific types of specialty business licenses. Having this type of business license shows that you as the business owner have specific skills necessary to run a company in a given field.

Consider a specialty business license a bit like a doctor’s specialty. All doctors are general practitioners, meaning they are able to treat general illness and injury. But many physicians want to specialize in an area, like surgery or pediatrics. They study more and take more exams to become specialized. That’s you with your specialty business license: it enables you to offer more targeted services.

Types of Specialty Business Licenses

Your state business licensing bureau will determine what types of business permits are considered specialty. In Chandler, Arizona, if you want to offer bingo games, you need a specialty license to do so. You’ll also need a specialty business license there if you plan to open a massage establishment or an off-track wagering business.

In the state of Washington, there’s a long list of what’s considered a specialty business license, including:

  • Bulk fertilizer distributor
  • Cigarette vending machine
  • Collection agency
  • Commercial telephone solicitor
  • Egg handler/dealer
  • Limousine service
  • Liquor license
  • Nursery retailer/wholesaler
  • Pesticide dealer

Check with your city and state government before starting your business to ensure you have any required specialty business licenses. You want to be compliant, and that means starting out with the right business licenses.

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