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What Licenses Does A Window Washing Business Need?

What Licenses Does A Window Washing Business Need?

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What Licenses Does A Window Washing Business Need?

Starting a successful window washing business takes more than knowing how to make a window get sparkling clean. Starting a new business requires completing several steps, and obtaining licensing is an important one as it may impact your ability to operate legally.

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

Let’s look at which licenses to consider when starting a window washing business.

Related: Guide to starting a window washing business

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 Window Washing Business?

There are several licensing requirements for starting a window cleaning business at the federal, state, and local level.  While licensing requirements vary by location, here are a few of the common licenses and permits that a window washing business may need:

Entity Formation

When starting a business, the legal entity needs to be selected. A legal entity refers to how a business is organized to operate. There are four main types of entities; sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC).

Each type of entity has its own pros and cons, such as liability protection, costs, and administrative requirements.

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

Business Name Registration

While not necessarily a business license, it’s worth noting that 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 business name).

Learn: How to register a DBA

Corporations and LLCs register are a little easier because the name is registered when the entity is formed with the state.

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

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 Number

In order to sell products and/or offer certain services, a state sales tax permit (also referred to as a seller’s permit, business tax number, or tax ID number) may be needed.  Many states don’t require a sales tax number for businesses that sell services, but as a window washing service, this will be important to research before starting the business.

This permit creates an account number with the state’s Department of Revenue (or similarly named state taxing agency) to collect and remit sales tax.

Learn: How to get a sales tax permit in each state

Certificate of Occupancy

Many window cleaning services operate the business out of the owner’s home. In some communities, home-based businesses will need a home occupation permit to operate legally.

If you plan to operate in a commercial location, most communities will require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) before opening.  This certificate is typically obtained from the city and/or the county and allows a business to occupy and operate from a building. Before the certificate is issued, the building will need to comply with zoning regulations, building codes, and any other local requirements.

Before purchasing or leasing a location for your window washing business, be sure to check with the local zoning department first to ensure the business can legally operate out of the chosen location.

 

The process of identifying all of the licenses and permits necessary to start a window washing business may feel confusing and overwhelming. It is critical to do this right the first time, otherwise, your business may be temporarily shut down until all licenses are obtained.

These are some of the most common business licenses, but there may be specific licensing that isn't listed. Before starting your business, be sure to check with the City Clerk, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.

For some additional peace of mind, companies like Incfile or Legalzoom can do the research and ensure you have all of the proper federal, state, and local licenses to start your business.

Author

  • 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.

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What Licenses Does A Window Washing Business Need?

What Licenses Does A Window Washing Business Need?

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