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What Licenses Does An Event Planning Business Need?

What Licenses Does An Event Planning Business Need?

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What Licenses Does An Event Planning Business Need?

It may not be the most fun part of opening a business, but you will likely need a few different licenses and permits to start a successful event planning business.

Here we’ll break down the different types of permits and licenses event planners may need, along with sharing some resources to help get you started.

Let’s consider which licenses to consider when starting an event planning business.

Related: Guide to starting an event planning 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 an Event Planning Business?

Even though there are no licenses specifically for an event planning business, there are several general business licenses and registrations that may be needed.

Business Structure

One of the first registrations to complete when starting an event planning business is selecting a business structure. A business structure refers to how a business is organized to operate. It should be at the top of your list because the other licenses your business will need will require the business’s legal name, which can’t be registered until the business entity is formed.

The four main types of business structures include the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC).

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, trade name, fictitious name, or assumed name).

Learn: How to register a DBA

Corporations and LLCs register the business name 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.

The FEIN or owner’s social security number will be used to open a business bank account, apply for a business credit card, and to hire employees.

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 business tax number, tax ID number, or seller’s permit) may be needed. 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

In most communities, an event planning business will likely need to secure a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) before operating in a commercial building. This certificate is typically obtained from the city and/or the county.

Before the certificate is issued, the building must comply with local zoning restrictions, fire codes, building codes, and other local zoning restrictions, building codes, and any other local requirements.

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

Liquor License

Selling alcohol brings quite a few regulatory requirements and registrations for a business. Every state requires obtaining a liquor license, and depending on where the business is located, a local license may be required as well.

Food Service License

A food service license will be needed to sell any food or beverage. This licensing helps ensure food-service establishments follow health and safety requirements to keep the public safe. Registration is different by location and is typically through the local health department, though a state license may also be needed.

Licensing typically requires employees have a food handler certificate or food sanitation certification, in addition to the facility being randomly inspected.

Music License

If you plan to play music in the store, whether live, recorded, or streamed, a Public Performance License (PPL) is needed. A blanket license can be obtained through the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), and the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC).

Fines from playing unlicensed music can be pretty high, so be sure to get the licensing before playing in your space.


In addition to licensing, event planning businesses can also obtain certification to gain additional skills and industry-specific knowledge, such as the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) or Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation from the Events Industry Council.


While researching licenses and permits isn’t the most exciting thing when starting an event planning business, spending the time upfront on getting it right the first time is critical. Not getting the proper licensing can result in fines and even temporarily closing the business, so be sure to talk with city officials to ensure the correct licenses have been 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.

What Licenses Does An Event Planning Business Need?

What Licenses Does An Event Planning Business Need?

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