For a community with fewer than 100,000 people, St. Joseph residents have a strong sense of entrepreneurship as they’ve established more than 3,500 businesses employing nearly 42,000 people. All of these business owners went through the many steps to establish their organization. Here are some tips to help get you started on your business venture.

So exactly who needs a business license? According to section 8-37 of the St. Joseph Code Ordinance, “any person engaged in any business, occupation, pursuit, profession or trade or to keep or maintain any institution, establishment, article, utility, or commodity.”

Getting a business license is really easy – just go to City Hall at 1100 Frederick Ave. You’ll need to take your photo ID, and if you have sales tax, you must bring in a sales tax letter from the state. If you are going to operate a business that sells food, liquor, cigarettes or automobiles, you’ll need to call (816) 271-4751, which is the number of the licensing office, for more information about what you need to do to get your license as more restrictions apply.

If you decide to operate your business at a commercial location, you’ll need a license for that location. Randy Simpson, a code specialist with the City of St. Joseph, will do a walk-through to determine whether or not the location is up to code. Many people operate their businesses out of their homes, but this doesn’t mean they are exempt from applying for a small business license. However, no city code inspection will be necessary.

All business licenses expire on June 30, at which time you’ll go through the same process as before to renew.

There are also temporary business license requirements for shows, transient merchants, exhibitions, hawkers, hucksters and peddlers. Before setting up shop in St. Joseph, the business owner must fill out an application and provide it to the Customer Services Division with a State of Missouri sales tax certificate.

There are also requirements placed on contractors working within the city limits. A business license as well as all the necessary permits must be pulled before work can begin. The Building Regulations Division can also be reached at (816) 271-4751.

Fees for business licenses vary per industry. For instance, an abstracting business license fee is $10. Auto washing business pay a flat fee of $25. Bankers pay a flat fee of $150. Bars and taverns pay $450. When the circus comes to town, they pay $300 for the first day then $200 for each additional day. About 80 cents of every dollar goes to police, fire department and the municipal court.

The City of St. Joseph, MO

The City of St. Joseph is dedicated to providing quality services by working to enhance the quality of life and to create a healthy, progressive community in which to live, work and visit.