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How To Get A Wisconsin Business License

Do you want to start a small or medium-sized business in the state of Wisconsin? Learning the steps required to obtain a business license in Wisconsin is very important if you wish to start off on the right foot. You may be required to complete one or more types of state registration, or obtain one or more state permits or licenses, as part of the initial process. LLC Formations helps small and medium business enterprises in different states across the country to secure valid business licenses. Contact LLC Formation if you want more comprehensive information regarding obtaining a Wisconsin business license.

Below is a brief look at some of the steps you need to take to secure a business license in the state of Wisconsin.


Wisconsin Business License

Wisconsin Small Business License

The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) website has a Business Creation Resources Section that includes links to various websites that could be of great assistance to entrepreneurs who wish to obtain business licenses in Wisconsin.

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has a branch in Wisconsin where you can go to get information on news, resources, and upcoming events for small and medium businesses. The SBA also public a specific guide for Wisconsin residents known as the ‘Resource Guide for Small Business that you can download from their website.

Also, the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (W-SBDC) offers entrepreneurs information on how to start, manage and grow their businesses in the state of Wisconsin. The W-SBDC is part of a larger nationwide network of small business development and innovation centers.


Obtaining One or More Wisconsin Business Licenses

Not all business enterprises in Wisconsin need to obtain a license. However, most businesses are required to obtain one or more business permits or licenses. In general, some licenses and permits are regulatory in nature (meaning they cover specific business activities) while others are for specific occupations and professions.

Different regulatory permits and licenses are issued by different state agencies. Some of the most crucial permits and licenses involve health and safety, the environment, and taxes, but there are also other kinds of regulatory licenses as well. You can learn more about permits and licenses relating to tax through the Department of Revenue (DOR). You can apply for tax licenses through the DOR website. Most of the remaining regulatory permits and licenses are handled by the Department of Health Services and the Department of Natural Resources.

On top of state permits and licenses, you may also need to obtain some local business permits and licenses. The requirements vary based on the town or city your business is located in. You can find more information by checking your town or city website. Some businesses may be exempted from obtaining local licenses under federal or state law.


File Record For Your Type of Business

Apart from getting the necessary Wisconsin business permits and licenses, some types of businesses, like limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations, may be required to file records with various state agencies. In specific, LLCs, corporations and other legal forms of businesses must file entity documents with the DFI. You can get more information on how to go about this from the DFI website.

Register A Business Name (Brand Name)

Many small businesses are not named after their owners or proprietors. Instead, they are given names based on the operations they engage in. Some businesses, like LLCs and corporations, are initially allowed to register a temporary name (which is sometimes referred to as the true name, actual name, or registered name) but later choose to operate under another name in the future. Based on the location and structure of your business, this alternative business name may be referred to as a trade, fictitious, or assumed name, or a DBA (Doing Business As) name.

Wisconsin LLCs and corporations that choose to operate under a trade-name must register the name the DFI. Other types of businesses, like general partnerships and sole proprietorships, may register their trade names with the Register of Deeds in their respective counties.

Register a Service Mark or Trademark

Service marks and trademarks are trade names used to identify unique goods and services offered by a business. They provide a means of distinguishing related or competing for products or services. You can register your service marks and trademarks with the state. You can find more information about how to go about this from the DFI website.


This article only gives a brief description of some of the steps small and medium business enterprises need to take to obtain business licenses in the state of Wisconsin. You should do further due diligence and research to get more accurate and concise information on how to obtain a Wisconsin business license for your specific enterprise. You can also contact LLC Formations if you need any help obtaining a business license within the state of Wisconsin.