There are some steps you can take when you are first starting out to make things easier.

Your business will probably have to have a State Seller’s Permit number so you can pay your sales tax to the State: WI Department of Revenue sales tax permits

If you are starting an LLC, the State has a webpage to register your business as a limited liability company (LLC), corporation or partnership: WI Department of Financial Institutions

If you need help in first starting your business, or expanding it, the Madison area has many organizations that can help: Resources for new business owners

If you are looking at opening a home business, please make sure Zoning allows it. Also, it’s always a good idea to make sure your store property is zoned for the type of business you are opening: City of Madison Zoning Department

The City of Madison and Dane County Public Health work together to license businesses. Typically our licenses are for things that we need to inspect – like kitchens, swimming pools, hotel rooms, etc. There is no generic business license in Madison and also no retail business license required by the City.

Dane County Health will be your go-to for getting licenses for the following types of businesses: 

  • Restaurants, grocery stores, food carts and other food based businesses
  • Hotels, motels, Air B&Bs, etc
  • Tattoo parlors and body piercing salons
  • Water licenses for swimming pools, non-storm water discharge, private well locations

Public Health Madison Dane County (PHMDC) licensing resources and forms

Food carts and other mobile businesses will need to work through Street Vending (Part of the Office of Business Resources) to get the permissions to sell their goods: Street Vending information

Madison Public Library offers business services to library patrons and they have web pages filled with links to do more research on opening a business here: