July 19, 2005

Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may be required to obtain local, county, state or federal licensing.  Regulated businesses may be subjected to certification, registration or accreditation and may experience routine inspections.  Some businesses require licenses or permits in order to begin operation.

It is important to determine which licenses or permits will be required before you start conducting any business since heavy fines are usually associated with conducting a business without proper licenses and permits.

Multiple licenses and permits may be required

A restaurant, for instance, may require clearance from the local fire department, sanitation department, health department, building inspector, board of alcoholic beverages control, and local zoning board, etc.

We recommend that the prospective business person make thorough inquires to the appropriate authorities.

Local Licenses

Call or visit your city, town, and/or county government offices (usually in the courthouse) for information about licensing and permit requirements.  Your town clerk is an excellent resource for any local requirements.  Examples of businesses with local permit requirements include taxi services, street vendors, and garage or yard sales vendors.

Be sure to check on zoning and sign regulations that may apply to your business and location.

Home based business

If you intend to operate a business from your home, be sure to also check local zoning requirements (again, at the courthouse) as well as any property covenants and homeowner association requirements.  Zoning requirements are those laws that regulate how property can be used and in some cases, some activities may not be allowed.

State Licenses

Certain businesses and professions will also require a State license to operate.  Examples include (partial New Hampshire list only):

  • accountants
  • automobile dealerships
  • bakeries
  • businesses dealing in Weights and Measures
  • child care providers
  • communications service companies
  • contractors
  • electricians and electrical contractors
  • food manufacturing and sales companies
  • food serving businesses (restaurants)
  • grocery stores
  • gun dealers
  • hotels and lodging establishments
  • insurance brokers
  • junk yards
  • liquor sales
  • lumber sales
  • lumber yards
  • opticians
  • outdoor advertising
  • restaurants
  • tobacco products


The following occupations require licensing, certification, and/or registration in New Hampshire (current as of summer 2003).  This list does not include Federal and/or local municipal occupations.  For further information, see http://www.nhes.state.nh.us

  • Accountants, Certified Public
  • Acupuncturist
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor
  • Architect
  • Asbestos Abatement Supervisor
  • Asbestos Abatement Worker
  • Asbestos Disposal Site Worker
  • Asbestos Inspector
  • Asbestos Management Planner
  • Asbestos Project Designer
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Attorney
  • Auctioneer
  • Audiologist
  • Bail Bondsman, Professional
  • Bail Recovery, Agent
  • Barber
  • Body Art Practitioner (Tattooing)
  • Child Care Program Center Director
  • Child Care Lead Teacher
  • Child Care Associate Teacher
  • Chiropractor
  • Cosmetologist
  • Cosmetology, Barbering, Manicurist, or Esthetics Instructor
  • Court Reporter
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dentist
  • Dietitian
  • Dog Trainer, Greyhound
  • Driver Education Instructor
  • Education Administrator
  • Education Paraprofessional
  • Electrician, Apprentice
  • Electrician, High Medium Voltage
  • Electrician, High Medium Voltage Trainee
  • Electrician, Journeyman
  • Electrician, Master
  • Electrologist
  • Embalmer
  • Emergency Care Provider/First Responder
  • Engineer, Professional
  • Esthetician
  • Explosives Workers/Blasters
  • Firefighter
  • Fireworks Display Specialist
  • Forester, Professional
  • Funeral Director
  • Gas Piping Installers
  • Geologist, Professional
  • Guide, Hunting and Fishing
  • Hawker/Peddler
  • Hazardous Waste Coordinator
  • Hearing Aid Dealer
  • Hearth System Installers
  • Heating Equipment Installers
  • Heating Equipment Service Personnel
  • Horse Trainer
  • Incinerator Manager/Operator Level IV
  • Incinerator Advanced Operator Level III
  • Incinerator Operator Level II
  • Incinerator Attendant Level I
  • Insurance Adjuster
  • Insurance Producer
  • Interpreter for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing
  • Investment Adviser
  • Itinerant Vendor
  • Jockey
  • Jockey Agent
  • Land Surveyor
  • Lobbyist
  • Manicurist
  • Marital Mediator, Certified
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Massage Practitioner
  • Mental Health Counselor, Certified
  • Midwife
  • Naturopath
  • Nurse Practitioner (ARNP)
  • Nurse, Licensed Practical (LPN)
  • Nurse, Registered (RN)
  • Nursing Assistant, Licensed (LNA)
  • Nursing Home Administrator
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist Assistant
  • Ophthalmic Dispenser
  • Optometrist
  • Pastoral Psychotherapist
  • Pesticide Applicator
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Physician Assistant
  • Physician/Surgeon
  • Plumber, Journeyman
  • Plumber, Master
  • Podiatrist
  • Private Investigator (Detective)
  • Psychologist
  • Public Adjuster
  • Real Estate Appraiser
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Real Estate Salesperson
  • Respiratory Care Practitioner
  • Securities Salesperson
  • Security Guard
  • Social Worker, Independent Clinical
  • Soil Scientist
  • Solid Waste Manager/Operator Level IV
  • Solid Waste Advanced Operator Level III
  • Solid Waste Operator Level II
  • Solid Waste Attendant Level I
  • Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Teacher
  • Veterinarian
  • Vocational Educator
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator
  • Water Distribution System Operator
  • Water Treatment Equipment Installers
  • Water Treatment Equipment Service Personnel
  • Water Treatment Plant Operator
  • Water Well Contractor/Pump Installer
  • Wetlands Scientist, Certified

For a complete list of license, certification, and/or registration requirements check with your appropriate state office or web site.

Federal Licenses

For a few businesses, Federal licensing is required.  In general, Federal licensing is required if the business is highly regulated by the government. It is best to consult an attorney in these cases.

Examples would be a business that is engaged in investment advice, firearms, paging operations, interstate trucking, and radio and television broadcasting.

About the Author(s)

 Lewis M Roch III

Mr. Roch has expertise in Startups, Mergers & Acquisitions, Diversification & Expansion, Venture Capital, and Initial Public Offerings (IPOs).  His industry experience spans data, voice, and video communications; cellular and wireless technology; energy; agriculture; commerical real estate; residential real estate; retail; venture financing; and not-for-profits. 

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations