No, I'm not asking if you're old enough to drink, smoke, or engage in other naughty activities, I'm referring to business licenses. A Crafthaus member and eMERGE reader submitted a request for information regarding business licenses and if artists need them. 99.9% of the time the answer is YES. If you are selling goods or services you are in business and therefore need a business license. If you do not have a business license you may be operating illegally
Artists are NOT EXEMPT from this. At the very least, business licenses are typically required at the city/county level. They are very affordable usually ranging around $50 and can be obtained at your local city hall or county courthouse. Only certain types of businesses, like hair salons, contractors, doctors, and other business regulated by state law need state licenses.
In addition to adding legitimacy to your art/craft based business a license offers other perks as well, especially when it comes to purchasing supplies. Many precious metal suppliers, gemstone dealers, and other companies will only sell to businesses, not individuals, so if you have a license you can purchase materials at wholesale rather than retail. This means you'll pay less to make your work thereby reducing your expenses and INCREASING your profits. YAY!
If you need help determining if you need a license, your city's economic development department or income tax division should be able to assist you. Other great sources for info about business licenses are
Thanks for reading and keep those special topic suggestions coming! Post topic ideas in the general comment section or send me an email via Crafthaus.