9 Types of Businesses That Require a Lot of Licenses

By Rochelle Bailis

3 min read

Some businesses do not require very many licenses. In fact, there are many businesses that don’t require any type of license at all. However, certain businesses require strict supervision from certain governmental organizations. The majority of these businesses have strict licensing requirements, as well.

At least 9 types of businesses require numerous licenses and permits. These businesses are involved with:

Transportation and Logistics

Transportation related companies have numerous permit requirements. Although, permitting is usually not a federal requirement, vehicles that transport materials and items across sate lines, are subject to multiple state regulations. There is a huge potential for violations to occur in these types of situations. Many transportation and logistics companies transport hazardous and controlled materials. Licensing requirements are an extra barrier of safety for the general public.

Radio and Television Broadcasting

Radio and television broadcasting businesses are required to acquire a license from an organization called the Federal Communications Commission. Businesses that use wire, satellite, and cable are also required to seek licensing. Since these businesses may be responsible for informing the public in cases of national emergency, licensing prevents abuse of communications by these organizations. Licensing also ensures that these providers are aware of any responsibilities they have to the general public.

Nuclear Energy

Dealing with nuclear energy improperly can have disastrous results. It is vital that businesses involved with nuclear energy be strictly monitored. This is exactly the reason that the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission maintains responsibility for the licensing of fuel cycle facilities and commercial nuclear reactors. This agency is also responsible for monitoring the distribution of nuclear materials and disposing nuclear waste.

Mining and Drilling

Businesses that are involved in drilling for mineral resources are required to obtain drilling permits. The Minerals Managements Service (MMS) is in charge of mining and drilling. The MMS is a division of the US Department of the Interior and is in charge of managing the nation’s mineral resources.

Fish and Wildlife

Businesses and organizations engaged in wildlife related activities must seek permits from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives

The Gun Control Act dictates that businesses involved in the manufacturing, importing, and selling of firearms and ammunition must obtain the proper licenses required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Due to the nature of these types of businesses, maintaining records and ensuring proper distribution is paramount to public safety.


Aviation businesses are required to obtain licenses and permits from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).Managing and maintaining aircraft requires proper record keeping and registering flight plans. Aircraft mechanics must be licensed and certified; mid-air mechanical failures can endanger aircraft passengers and the general public.

Alcoholic Beverages

Businesses involved in the importation, manufacturing, wholesaling, of alcoholic beverages must register with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Retail organizations are required to register as well. The purpose of registration is to ensure that business transactions are properly recorded, taxes are paid, and sales occur to the appropriate individuals. Since it is illegal for minors to obtain alcoholic beverages, licensing requirements add an extra level of protection to ensure that minors do not illegally purchase and consume these beverages.

The restrictions placed on certain types of businesses are enacted to provide protection for society, as a whole. If these types of businesses are not carefully monitored, unethical individuals and criminals could endanger members of society with their faulty business practices. These methods are not always perfect, but they do add an additional measure of protection for the public in general.

Businesses that operate in these industries without proper licenses and permits can be subject to large fines and imprisonment. In some cases, the penalties imposed involve long sentences in prison for business owners who violate federal and state laws by engaging in illegal and unethical business practices. Violating these types of laws is a serious offense and can involve receiving felony charges. Business owners who wish to engage in transactions in these industries, should contact state and federal organizations to determine what types of licenses and permits might be needed for legal business operation.


Obtaining Business Licenses & Permits | SBA.gov. (n.d.). The U.S. Small Business Administration | SBA.gov. Retrieved May 27, 2012, from http://www.sba.gov/content/obtaining-business-licenses-permits

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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