Businesses licenses establish a legal connection between businesses and their owners, and regulate certain types of commerce. The City of Minneapolis does not require all businesses to obtain a City business license, only those whose activities have potential impacts on public health and safety.
Minneapolis licenses businesses whose work affects public health and safety, such as restaurants, entertainment and hospitality establishments, businesses that serve alcohol, and motor vehicle repair businesses. Check the lists below to see whether your business requires a business license.
These are the basic steps in the license application process:
Answer some questions about your business ahead of time. To complete the application, you will need to know some details about what your business will look like:
Start early – Prepare and submit your application well in advance of the date you wish to start your business. It may take extra time to schedule inspections and secure approvals from multiple divisions such as Zoning, Health, and Fire.
Follow the checklist – The entire set of requirements is listed on the first page of every license application packet.
Know the requirements – Before you sign a lease, consider making it contingent on obtaining the business license you are seeking. Staff from Zoning can determine the type of business permitted at a particular location. Additional permits for building, plumbing or mechanical may be required. More information can be obtained from the Minneapolis Development Services Customer Service Center.
Submit a completed application – Staff cannot process an application with missing information.
The Sewer Availability Charge is a onetime fee imposed by Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) for new connections or increased volume discharged to the metropolitan wastewater system. Before you receive your business license, you will need to request a SAC determination letter to calculate the cost you will need pay for wastewater generated by your business. This fee can be high, so get an estimate early to plan for the cost.
If your business involves serving or selling food, you will need to go through a Food Plan Review process as part of your business license application. This review is conducted by the Minneapolis Health Department to make sure that food served in Minneapolis is safe for residents to eat.
The best place to start for your Food Plan Review is with your Development Coordinator at Minneapolis Development Services Customer Service Center. They can answer any questions you might have and provide you the correct Plan Review Application and guidelines.
To begin the Food Plan Review process, you must submit a completed Plan Review Application and Plan Review Fee. Review the guidelines and application form below for more information about the requirements to submit a food plan for review.
Check out the definitions of each business license type, visit the Business Licensing Information Program page to find a library of helpful brochures on business licensing topics, or connect with Business licensing staff.
Monday - Thursday: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Friday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM