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What Licenses Does A Dance Studio Need?

What Licenses Does A Dance Studio Need?

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What Licenses Does A Dance Studio Need?

Starting a successful dance studio takes more than knowing how to pirouette.

The question, “what business license do I need to start my business” is a common one, but in reality, a business will often need multiple licenses, permits, and registrations from federal, state, and local agencies.

Let’s look at the licenses your dance studio needs to consider.

Related: Guide to starting a dance studio

While we have researched what licenses and permits your business may need, please be aware that there is no way for us to have uncovered every state and local requirement.

To not miss any important licenses and permits, we recommend also checking with your local Chamber of Commerce, economic development agency, or use a business license service like Incfile or LegalZoom.

What Licenses Do You Need to Start a Dance Studio?

State Licensing

Only a handful of states require licensing specifically for a dance studio.  Here are examples of a few states with licensing requirements:

In Illinois, dance studios have several regulations, such as providing written contracts to all customers and be bonded if they receive advance payment from any customer in excess of $50 or more per month.

The Michigan Department of Education requires a state license for dance studios.

Florida licensing is required for businesses providing dance studio lessons or services in the state. Licensing can be obtained through the Florida  Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Local Licensing

In addition to possibly needing a state license, local licensing for dance studios is occasionally required as well. A few examples of local licenses for dance studios include:

In Orange County, California, the Sheriff’s Department regulates dance studios.

The City of Waco, Texas, requires licensing for dance schools.

To have a dance school in Boston, an Annual Dance School License, Certificate of Use and Occupancy, Place of Assembly Permit, and Business Certificate is required before opening a dance studio.

While most states and towns/cities don’t have specific licensing for a dance studio, there will likely be general licensing requirements for starting your business.  Here are a few of the common licenses and permits that a dance studio may need:

General Business License or Permit

Depending on where the business is located, a general business license or permit may be required. A few states require a business license; however, they are more commonly found at the city level.

Learn more: Business license requirements by state

Business Name Registration

While not necessarily a business license, it’s worth noting that in order to use a name for a business, many states require the registration of that name. Making matters more complicated, the process of name registration is different by state and the type of business entity.

For instance, sole proprietorships and partnerships generally need to register a business name (also referred to as a Doing Business As, DBA, fictitious name, or assumed name).

Learn: How to register a DBA

Corporations and LLCs register are a little easier in that their name is registered when forming the entity.

Related: What is the difference between a sole proprietorship, partnership, Corporation, or LLC?

Federal Employer Identification Number

The Federal Employer Identification Number (also referred to as a FEIN, Employer Identification Number, EIN, or Federal Tax ID Number) is a unique nine-digit number that identifies a business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Any business with employees or those that form as a partnership, Corporation, and in many cases an LLC, the business will need to get an EIN.

Sole proprietors and single-owner LLCs without employees can instead use the owner’s social security number.

Learn: How to get an EIN 

Sales Tax Permit or Business Tax Number

In order to sell products and/or offer certain services, a state sales tax permit (business tax number or tax ID number) may be needed.  This permit creates an account number with the state’s Department of Revenue or a similarly named state taxing agency.

Additionally, hiring employees will also likely require a state tax number.

Learn: How to get a sales tax permit

Resale Certificate

When buying products such as outfits or ballet shoes, other accessories to sell to customers, the business can purchase these items tax-free. A resale certificate (sometimes referred to as a seller’s permit) allows a business to purchase inventory, and instead of paying the sales tax to their vendor, they charge the sales tax to the end-user of the product.

A resale certificate only allows a business to not pay sales tax for items being resold, and sales tax will still need to be paid for supplies or equipment.

Learn: How to get a resale certificate

Certificate of Occupancy

In most communities, a dance studio will need to secure a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) before operating in a commercial building.  This certificate is typically obtained from the city, but sometimes from the county, and allows a business to occupy and operate from a building provided the building complies with zoning regulations, building codes, and any other local requirements.

home occupation permit is sometimes required by the city government for a home-based business.

Before starting your dance studio, be sure to check with the local zoning department to ensure the business can legally operate out of the chosen location.

Music License

Dance studios use a lot of music, and it is important to obtain licenses for the music you use in your classes. Music licensing companies like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC protect the copyrights of songwriters and music publishers. As a result, obtaining a license from these companies can help you avoid any legal complications that may arise. Make sure to research the various options available, and find the option that works best for your studio’s needs.


  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

What Licenses Does A Dance Studio Need?

What Licenses Does A Dance Studio Need?

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