Sign In

Licensing

​​​​​A State of Maryland business license is required for most businesses, including retailers and wholesalers. A trader's license is required for buying and re-selling. Business activities that require licenses include, but are not limited to: amusements; auctions; chain stores; construction; dry cleaners; farm machinery; garages; hawkers and peddlers; junk dealers; plumbing and gas fitters; restaurants; retail stores; storage warehouses; traders; and vending machines.

Statewide and County Licenses

In an effort to make things a bit easier, DBED has compiled a database of statewide and county level licenses that may be needed to operate your business in Maryland. Browse through the system to get a better understanding of what is required and where you need to go next.

Looking for the status of your license? Not sure if you need a license or want more information? Visit the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation online or contact them via this comprehensive phone and email directory.

Licensing Examples

To give you an idea of what the State of Maryland requires, below are a few common business types with the typical licenses that may be needed and where to get them:​

Online Business​

From​​ a licensing standpoint, an online business is not significantly different than a business that has a physical storefront location. For the purposes of this example, let's assume an online business is a business that sells products or services through a web site and does not warehouse or store any inventory. 

Maryland State agencies regulate the sales of certain goods to the public including, but not limited to, agricultural products, plants, animals, pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers, food, beverages, motor fuels, tobacco, body tissues, precious metal objects, burial goods, boats, hand guns, fireworks, explosives, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, motor vehicles, insurance plans, securities, franchises, health club memberships, pay telephones, condominiums, real estate, and various other goods and products. 

Maryland State agencies regulate certain services that could be offered to the public over the Internet including, but not limited to, importing and exporting, educational services, pawn brokering services, employment agency services, home health agency services, accounting services, legal services, medical advice, insurance consulting, financial planning, stockbroker services, charities and various other services.

Visit our Statewide Licenses page to find the licenses needed for the types of goods or services that you will be selling over the Internet.

If you use scales or meters to sell products to Maryland consumers, you will need to have your weighing and measuring devices certified for accuracy. Visit the Maryland Department of Agriculture or call 410-841-5790 for more information.

Contact the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation  if you have additional questions or need more information.​

Child Care Center​

​A child care center is a facility operated by an individual, agency, or organization that offers chi​​​​ld care services for part or all of the day, or on a 24-hour basis on a regular schedule, at least twice a week. Most child care centers are regulated by the Maryland State Department of Education's Office of Child Care (OCC).

Typical licenses needed for this business type:
  • Child Care Center License - For people that operate day care centers caring for eight or more children in a facility outside of a home or for fewer than 12 children in a home, pending county approval. More information is available from the Maryland Department of Human Resources

  • Family Day Care Home License - For people that provide day care in the home caring for eight or fewer children

  • Residential Child Care Program - For people who want to operate a business as a residential child care program. More information is available from the Governor's Office for Children

  • Food Service Facility License - For businesses that prepare food or drink for sale or service or any operation where food is served to the public with or without charge. Contact your local County Health Department.

Assisted Living Facility

From nursing homes to retirement communities to hospice care, there are a number of ​lice​​nses related to assisted living and care for the elderly and disabled. Typical licenses​ needed for this business type may include:
  • Assisted Living Program License -​ An assisted living facility is a business that provides one or more unrelated individuals with housing, supportive services, supervision, personalized assistance or health-related services. Apply at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene / 410-402-8217.

  • Food Service License - For businesses that prepare food or drink for sale or service or any operation where food is served to the public with or without charge. Contact your local County Health Department​.

  • Continuing Care at Home Certificate - More information is available from the Maryland Department of Aging

  • Continuing Care Retirement Community Certificate - For businesses that furnish or make available shelter and either medical and nursing services or other health related services to an individual 60 years of age or older, not related by blood or marriage to the provider, for life of the individual or for a period in excess of 1 year under one or more written agreements that require a transfer of assets or an entrance fee. More information is available from the  Maryland Department of Aging

  • Comprehensive Care Facility License - For businesses that operate a nursing home or special care unit for people who are unable to be cared for in a home and do not need the intensive care of a hospital. For more information, visit the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene 

  • Day Care for Elderly and Medically Handicapped Adults - For businesses that operate a day care center for elderly and medically disabled adults. More information is available from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

  • Hospice Care License - For business that operate hospice facilities for the terminally ill. More information is available from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene​​

Home Improvement/Services​

Home improvement includes altering, remodeling, repairing or replacing a building or part of a building used as a residence. Typical licenses needed for this business type:

  • Home Improvement Contractor, Sub-Contractor and Salesperson License - For people who work as home improvement contractors, subcontractors and salespersons. More information is available from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

  • Historic Preservation Review - For businesses or people that may disturb historical sites or properties such as buildings, archeological sites, objects, historic districts or engineering structures. More information is available from the Maryland Historical Trust

  • Asbestos Contractor License - For businesses or contractors engaged in any activities that disturb friable asbestos. More information is available from the Maryland Department of the Environment

  • Asbestos Training Provider Approval - For instructors who provide training on the handling or disposing of friable asbestos. More information is available from the Maryland Department of the Environment

  • Lead Paint Accreditations - For businesses that handle lead paint including the removal, replacement of components, encapsulation, repainting or inspection thereof. More information is available from the Maryland Department of the Environment

  • Landscape Architect Firm Permit - For businesses that practice landscape architecture and plan, design or prepare drawings or specifications. More information is available from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
    ​​
  • Landscape Architect License - For people who plan, design, prepare drawings, consult or provide any other professional service related to land development. More information is available from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

Home Builder​ ​ 

​If you ar​e a builder, check out the Maryland Department of the Environment's Guide to Environmental Permits and Approvals for some environmental guidelines. Typical licenses needed for this business type:
  • Home Builder Registration - For contractors and all home building busine​sses that build homes in Maryland. More information is available from the Maryland Office of the Attorney General

  • Construction License - If your business is constructing commercial buildings like restaurants, you will need a Construction License issued by the Clerk of the Circuit Court in your county

  • Condominium Registration - For businesses that develop and sell condominium properties. More information is available from the Maryland Secretary of State

  • Professional Engineer License - For people who work as engineers and consult, design, evaluate, inspect construction, investigate, and perform other functions based on mathematical, physical and engineering sciences. More information is available from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

  • Storm Water General Permit for Construction Activity - For businesses engaged in construction that disturbs five acres or more of land in order to control pollution generated by runoff from industrial activities and construction. More information is available from the  Maryland Department of the Environment

  • Water and Sewerage Construction Permit - For businesses that install, extend or modify community water supply or sewerage systems including treatment plants, pumping stations and major water mains and sanitary sewers. More information is available from the Maryland Department of the Environment

  • Well Construction Permit - For businesses that install wells to explore for water, obtain or monitor groundwater, or inject water into any underground formation. Well Construction Permits are obtained from the county health department. More information is available from the Maryland Department of the Environment

  • Mobile Home Park Permit in Carroll/Charles/Dorchester/Prince George's/Somerset /Talbot Counties - For businesses that construct, maintain or operate mobile home parks. More information is available from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
    ​​
  • Real Estate Appraiser and Home Inspector License - For people who appraise real estate for federally-related transactions when the amount of the loan is above the current minimum level of $250,000. More information is available from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

Restaurant

A restaurant is a business establishment where meals or refreshments may be purchased. Typical licenses needed for restaurants and other similar food service facilities such as grocery stores, bars and caterers include:

  • Food Service Facility License - For businesses that prepare food or drink for sale or service or any operation where food is served to the public with or without charge including restaurants, grocery stores, bars, caterers, church kitchens, service organizations and others. More information is available from the  Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

  • Food Processing Plant License - For businesses that prepare, process, package, can, freeze, store, distribute, label or hold food for human consumption. More information is available from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

  • Alcoholic Beverage and Caterer Licenses - For businesses that distill, brew, cater, manufacture or wholesale alcoholic beverages in Maryland. Check out these FAQs or contact the Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury at 410-260-7314 to determine if your restaurant will need an Alcoholic Beverage and Caterer License. Also, remember to contact your county officials if you need to obtain a liquor license.

  • Alcoholic Beverage Permit - For Maryland businesses that import, export, store, transport, or otherwise deal alcohol beverage and non-beverage alcohol. More information is available from the Comptroller of Maryland

  • Frozen Dessert Manufacturer License - For businesses that manufacture frozen dessert or a mix for a frozen dessert such as ice cream, mellorine, sherbet, water ice, frozen yogurt, paravine or pudding. More information is available from the  Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

  • Out-of-State Bottled Water and Soft Drink Registration - For businesses that manufacture bottled water and soft drinks out-of-state and sell products in Maryland. More information is available from the  Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

  • Organic Handler Certification - For businesses that transport or sell organic products for resale, process agricultural commodities into agricultural products, or sell at retail and wish to have their products certified as organic. More information is available from the  Maryland Department of Agriculture

  • Commercial Weighing & Measuring Device Registration - For businesses that weigh and measure products using scales and meters and sell the products to consumers. More information is available from the ​Maryland Department of Agriculture

​​