How to Obtain a Small Business License in the State of Missouri

Are you wanting to get a small business started in Missouri? If so, you might need to obtain one or multiple types of state registration when you are starting your business. The following is a brief look at some of the major informational resources that are available along with a couple of steps that might need to be taken.


Missouri Business License


Small Business Information Programs In Missouri

Missouri’s state government runs a Business Portal website. There are links on the website to information on numerous state business topics, like how to start, manage, and grow your business. You can use the portal to navigate to information on various registrations, taxes, and business filings that are required.

Obtain One or Multiple Business Licenses

Not all businesses in Missouri need to have a license. However, there are many kinds of businesses that are required to obtain a license. The following are some of the general categories of various business permits and licenses in Missouri:

environmental certifications, registrations, or permits
professional licenses
agricultural permits and licenses

Different categories of permits and licenses are issued by various state agencies. More information can be found on Missouri’s Business Portal website by clicking on the section Registering My Business.

Also, some licenses that are required are issued locally. For example, most businesses in the City of St. Louis are required to have a Graduated Business License (GBL). In a similar fashion, most businesses are required by the City of Springfield to have a license. For more information, you can check out the city’s website for where you will be operating your business. (Under federal or state law, some businesses might be exempt from certain licensing requirements.)

File Records For Your Specific Form of Business

In addition to obtaining required permits or licenses, there are certain legal forms of business, like LLCs (limited liability companies) and corporations are required to file certain records with the state of Missouri. More specifically, LLCs, corporations, and other forms of business are required to register with Missouri’s Secretary of State’s Business Services Division. For more information, check out the Start a Business section on the SOS website.

Obtain Professional Licensing

If you belong to one of numerous occupations and professions, the State of Missouri requires you to be licensed. Among the many professions that require state licensing include pharmacists, nurses, engineers, architects, accountants, dentists, lawyers, and doctors. For your initial information about this type of licensing, there are two places at least where you can check online:

the Missouri Business Portal; and
the Missouri Division of Professional Registration

The website for the Divison of Professional Registration contains links with detailed licensing information on all of the professions. There are similar links on the Missouri Business Portal.

Example: Micheel would like to work as a licensed athletic trainer. To do this, she will have to apply for her license with Missouri’s State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts.

Registered Your Fictitious or Assumed Business Name

Numerous small businesses do not operate under their owners’ names. They operate instead under a business name. Also, some businesses, like LLCs and corporations, might originally register with Missouri under one name (which is also sometimes called the true name, actual name, or registered name) but then choose later to operate under a different name. Depending on the structure of your business and where your business operates, the alternative business name might be technically called doing business as (DBA), a fictitious name, or assumed name. In the state of Missouri, any business or person that operates under a fictitious name (nay name other than their “true name”) is required to register their name with Missouri’s Secretary of State. Check out the Fictitious Name Registration FAQs page on the SOS website for more information.

Example: George organized his auto repair business originally as a Missouri corporation under the name George’s St. Louis Garage, Inc. Now he would like to operate his business as West Foreign Auto Repair, Inc. George will need to register his Fictitious Name with the SOS, along with the filing fee.

Register a Service Mark or Trademark

Trade names, service marks, and trademarks have their own separate legal definitions. However, in general, trade names, service marks, and trademarks are utilized to uniquely identify businesses, services, or goods (products). It includes distinguishing a business, service, or product from potential competitors. Service marks and trademarks may be registered with the state of Missouri (It is separate from federal registration.) More information can be found, along with forms, on the SOS website in its Trademarks and Service Marks section.