Supporting businesses since 1983

Do I need a license for my business?

Depending on the type of business you are setting up you may need to apply for a license. The length of time an application will take varies so allow yourself plenty of time to make your application and then wait for it to be granted before starting to trade.

Examples of the types of businesses that might need a license are listed below, but please check with your Business Advisor and Local Authority to see whether your proposed business activity will require one.  

Food Businesses  

Food business operators must register their premises with the Environmental Health Department of your Local Authority at least 28 days before you commence trading. This also applies to mobile or temporary premises, such as vans and stalls. The registration requirement also applies to home-based kitchens.

Street Trading  

If you intend to trade in public places, including streets, public footpaths, and other areas, you will require a street-trading license from your Local Authority.   

Taxi and Private Hire 

Depending on the type of service you will offer and where you will be based, the driver, the vehicle and you as the operator of the service will require a license. This is usually granted by the Local Authority.   


If you intend to sell or supply alcohol in the UK the Licensing Act 2003 will apply to your business. You may need to apply for a personal license, a premises license or a Temporary Events Notice (TENS) from your Local Authority.  


If your new business will involve betting, bingo, casinos, gaming machines, gambling software providers, lottery and remote gambling you will be required to apply to the Gambling Commission for a license.  

Special treatments  

If your business will offer special treatments including massage, manicure, chiropody, light treatments, electric treatments, other treatments involving heat, light or vapour you may need to apply for a Massage and Special Treatment (MST) license for your business from your Local Authority.  

Animal Boarding  

To run a boarding kennel or cattery, or board dogs in your own home, you need a license from the Local Authority. The number of dogs and cats that may be accommodated will be specified on the license along with other specific conditions. 


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