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Minneapolis Business Licenses: What You Need to Know

If you are considering starting a new business in Minneapolis, opening a branch operation, or relocating a business to the City of Lakes, there are a few important things to know beforehand.

First, you’ll need to determine if you are required to apply for a Minneapolis business license. Only certain types of businesses need a business license to operate in the City.

For example, residential carpenters must obtain a Minneapolis business license — but roofers and electricians do not. The latter two do require a State of Minnesota license. A CPA does not need a Minneapolis business license but needs to meet extensive qualifications and apply with the Minnesota Board of Accountancy.

If you are planning to get into the food business or a food-related business, the City provides an extensive breakdown of the rules and regulations for this industry.

As you may know, Minneapolis is divided into 12 wards. Each ward has two designated license inspectors — one for “liquor” and one for “general.” You can contact the inspector for your ward if you need help or have any questions.

Are you moving to or within Minneapolis?

How Much Does a Minneapolis business license cost?

Minneapolis has almost 600 different license types and a correspondingly wide range of fees. The 2022 fees for each license type can be found on this pricing spreadsheet.

In addition to the license fee, there is a new license processing fee. The processing fee for 2020/21 was $135.

The pricing spreadsheet is divided into five sections:

  • Alcohol Business Licenses
  • General Business Licenses
  • Taxi Business Licenses
  • Other Fees Related to Business Licenses
  • Animal Control

License Fee Examples

On the high end, a Transportation Network Company (i.e. a rideshare company) can expect to pay $36,415 annually to operate in Minneapolis in 2022. 

A food distributor with over 15,001 square feet of facility space will need to pay a fee of $865. A precious metal dealer has to come up with $480.

The annual license fee for a plumber is $280. Contractors that specialize in other areas can find the rates for various trades on this spreadsheet.

How to get started with a Minneapolis, MN business license

You’ll need to download an application form that is specific to your type of business. For example, trade license application forms can be found here.

Minneapolis Business Licenses & Consumer Services provides three ways to submit an application — by email, US mail, or drop it off at Business Licenses & Consumer Services office in the Minneapolis Public Service Building. From there, a license inspector will review the application and get in contact with the applicant.

Email address: businesslicenses [at] minneapolismn [dot] gov

Office address:

Business Licenses & Consumer Services
Public Service Building 
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 220
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone: 612-673-2080
Fax: 612-673-3399

For hearing-impaired individuals, the TTY number to use is 612-673-3000.

The business services page on the City of Minneapolis website has links to a number of helpful resources related to licenses and permits.

What information needs to be provided for my Minneapolis, Minnesota business license application?

There is a general information section that is common to all applications.

You will be required to fill in your Social Security Number or ITIN. You’ll need to supply your Minnesota Sales Tax ID Number if any of your transactions are subject to sales tax. 

The legal name of your business along with your physical address, email address, and phone number are other standard fields.

Type of Ownership (Corporation, LLC, Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Nonprofit) If incorporated, the date and state of incorporation.

For many types of businesses, you’ll need to attach a copy of your Certificate of Liability Insurance from your insurance agent.

For businesses that have employees who are covered by worker’s compensation law, the name of the insurer, the policy number, and dates of coverage must be submitted on the application.

For the trades, a State of Minnesota bond is required from the contractor.

Note: if you are moving to a new office space or facility — before you sign a lease, be sure to ask if the lease is contingent on first getting your business license.

What licenses and permits are needed for construction and remodeling in Minneapolis?

Pre-approved, licensed contractors doing simple work on one and two-family residential properties, can purchase permits online, via a portal.

For a contractor or homeowner who is planning to add an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to their property, there is an application packet for filing an administrative application for zoning approval of a building permit. An owner occupancy covenant must be filed with Hennepin county.

For commercial construction projects that require details such as site plans, building elevations, construction details, there is a more extensive permitting process that uses constructionspecific software.

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Mark Sommerfeld