Biggest Little City

Frequently Asked Questions

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Don't see your question here? Call us at 775-334-2090 M-F, 8-5 p.m. Pacific Time, or email

How to apply

Due to the complexity of licensing and the large number of business license categories, we are not able to accept a business license application over the Internet. However, you may download a license application packet at or request a license application packet by contacting the Business License Division at (775) 334-2090

What should I bring?
Business license applicants must first obtain the following items and submit proof with an application for a City of Reno business license: registration with the Secretary of States Office for the Nevada State Business License, proof of registration from the Nevada Department of Taxation, proof of Workers Compensation coverage and a copy of your Fictitious Firm Naming (dba), if applicable.

Where are you located?
Our office is on the 2nd floor of City Hall located at 1 East First Street, on the corner of First and Virginia Streets. Free parking is available in the Cal-Neva parking garage on Center Street.

Can I apply over the Internet?
Not at this time. You can download application packets or contact the Business License office at (775) 334-2090 and we will be happy to send you an appropriate information packet.

Can I apply in person or by mail?
You may apply in person or by mail. Faxed applications are not accepted. All applications must be brought to the business license office or mailed in as payment must accompany your application.

How long will it take?
For businesses with a physical location outside of the City of Reno the licensing process is very short and in most cases issued once a completed application and payment is received. Your license certificate will be mailed to you in about one week or issued over the counter.

For businesses within the City of Reno, an inspection process takes place once the application and payment have been received. This process generally takes less than 3 days for home-based businesses and between 14 and 21 days for commercial locations. Once all inspections have been successfully approved, the license will be issued and mailed.

For businesses requiring background investigations and/or City Council approval, the process generally takes up to 90 days. After necessary inspections and approval by Council and the Reno Police Department, the license will be issued. An interim permit may be issued once all approvals, except from Police, have been received and 30 days have passed since a completed background check was submitted.

General Topics

Update on application status
We update our website every day with a list of businesses that have been recently approved. Once your business appears on that list, your application has been approved and you may begin to operate. If you would like to know any additional information feel free to contact our office at (775) 334-2090 and we will provide you with an update on your application.

How long is a license good for?
This varies by license type. All annual licenses issued by the City of Reno are valid for 12 months from the first day of the month in which business commences. Quarterly and gaming licenses are valid for three months (based on calendar quarters).

File complaint against business
A complaint about a business that is operating in the City of Reno without a license can be file with Reno Direct at (775) 334-4636. Complaints are reviewed and pursued by our Compliance Officers. However, the City cannot become involved in civil matters. We cannot recover money for you or force someone to do work for you. The business license codes require that proper legal procedures be followed when taking any action against a licensee.

What is considered a "Business"?
Business or Doing Business means any business, enterprise, trade, occupation, calling, profession, vocation, or activity engaged in, conducted or carried on by any person, his agent, or employee for the purpose of gain, benefit or advantage, either direct or indirect, with the principal objective of livelihood and/or profit through repetitive means.

What is a business license?
The business license certificate is evidence that you have met the City of Reno requirements to conduct business within the the incorporated area of the City and all license fee have been paid (other permits may be required to operate your business). Reno Municipal Code requires that you obtain a license when you conduct any business activity within the City even if your business is located OUTSIDE the city limits or you have a business license from another city.

Do I need a Business License?

Who needs a business license?
Any person or entity who conducts business within the City or has a physical location in the City must obtain a business license on or before the date the business commences. Conducting business in the City without a license can result in penalties, correction notices, citations or court action.

I'm paid via "1099"; do I need a business license?
Yes. If you are not paid as an employee, you are considered independent or self-employed and are required to have a business license.

Do non-profit organizations need a business license?
No. However, non-profit organizations are able to register with the City of Reno, Business License Division. Proof of non-profit status from the Internal Revenue Service and the Nevada Secretary of State is required. To request registration information please contact our office at (775) 334-2090.

Do state licensed contractors need a business license?
Any person licensed as a contractor by the State Contractor's Board must obtain a business license if

  • conducting business in the City of Reno, or
  • physically located in the City of Reno, whether or not performing construction work in the City.

I just purchased this business. Can I use the business license from the previous owner?
Business licenses are not transferable; however, when a new owner takes over an existing business, such new owner may continue to operate the existing business under the existing license[s] pending approval of the new owner's application, provided that, the existing business is operating under all required licenses; all required licenses are current; the new owner has submitted a completed application and all appropriate fees for a new license[s] and the outgoing owner agrees to remain accountable and liable for any violations under the existing license[s] for the first 60 days after the new ownership.

Multi-Jurisdictional Licensing

What is a multi-jurisdictional business license?
The multi-jurisdictional license is actually a process to make it easier for a business owner to license business operations in more than one jurisdiction. If you intend to conduct your business, or offer your business services, within Reno, Sparks and/or Washoe County, you will need a separate business license for each jurisdiction.

The multi-jurisdictional business license process enables you to visit your home jurisdiction with all required business license application forms and pay a combined multi-jurisdictional license fee. The home jurisdiction may have additional inspection and/or reviewing fees which will be collected as part of the application process.

Your license application will be reviewed and approved by other agencies, prior to final approval by your home jurisdiction’s business license office. After final approval, the home jurisdiction will notify the other two jurisdictions of your approved license application. Each jurisdiction will mail its business license to you. You will have “one stop” to obtain appropriate business licenses from each jurisdiction so you can start your business or offer your business services.  

Are there any license types or activities which I cannot apply through the multi-jurisdictional process?
Some business activities are not eligible for the multi-jurisdictional license process, specifically if they are privileged activities. The following business activities will still need to apply at each jurisdiction separately:
Second hand merchandise sales
Alcohol (intoxicating liquor) including: Alcohol catering; Alcohol wholesale and/or importing
Escort/Outcall services
Gaming including: Slot Route Operators
Peddlers/solicitors including: Ice Cream Trucks
Towing & Booting
Vehicles for Hire
Residential house cleaning 

How do I determine my home jurisdiction?
Your home jurisdiction is the jurisdiction within which your business office is, or will be, located. Your business office may be a commercial location, or a home-based business. If your business office is located outside of Washoe County, you may visit any of the 3 jurisdictions to start your application process. 

What is considered a jurisdiction?
Pertinent to a multi-jurisdictional business license process, there are three jurisdictions: the City of Reno, the City of Sparks, and unincorporated Washoe County. Your business office will be located in one of the three jurisdictions. If your business operations or services occur within two or more of these three jurisdictions, you may use the multi-jurisdictional license process to obtain your required business licenses.

If your business office is located outside of all three jurisdictions (e.g., within Carson City) and you intend to conduct business operations or services within two or more of these jurisdictions, you may select any one of the jurisdictions as your home jurisdiction. 

Are there any special requirements to complete my business license application?
The only special requirement is to check the appropriate jurisdictions within which you intend to conduct business, or offer your business services, at the top of the application form. You will complete the rest of the application as normal, following instructions on the form.

What is the combined multi-jurisdictional license fee?
You will pay a single, combined fee for your multi-jurisdictional license. The fee may be paid by cash, check or credit card at your home jurisdiction.

Combined fee for all three jurisdictions 

Reno $ 85
Sparks $105
Washoe County $ 75

Combined Fee



Please note: The home jurisdiction may have additional inspection and/or reviewing fees which will be collected as part of the application process. 

If you desire to conduct business, or offer your business services, within only two of the jurisdictions, then your combined multi-jurisdictional license fee will be the sum of the two appropriate jurisdictions from the above table.

I used the multi-jurisdictional license process to obtain my licenses, and now I need to make a change to my information (see the list immediately following for potential changes). How do I proceed?
a. Change the physical location of my business office.
b. Change the name of my business.
c. Change the mailing address for my business.
d. Change the description of the products and/or services offered by my business.
e. Change the people listed as officers and/or owners (entities) in my business.
f. Cancel my business license (going out of business in one or more jurisdictions).

You should contact your home jurisdiction and notify them of the specific changes to your business license. Your home jurisdiction will guide you through the steps and requirements to make the changes you require. Please inform the home jurisdiction if the changes apply to your business licenses within the other jurisdictions. In many cases, you will be asked to complete a supplemental business license application, or you may be asked to place your changes in writing and submit those to your home jurisdiction.

If you are physically moving your business office into another jurisdiction, you will need to contact that jurisdiction and start your business license location approval process. This jurisdiction will become your new home jurisdiction.

Remember to contact the appropriate Nevada State offices and the County Clerk, for a fictitious name certificate, with the new information (i.e., changes to your business license). You should include updated copies of any State forms and the certificate with your new or supplemental business license application. If you are not required to submit an application, please provide the updated copies to your home jurisdiction.

The home jurisdiction will process the changes to your information. This process may include additional application and/or inspection fees. Your license application may be reviewed and approved by other agencies, prior to final approval by your home jurisdiction’s business license office. After final approval to your new information, your home jurisdiction will notify the other 2 jurisdictions, each of whom will update their records and may mail you a new business license. Your home jurisdiction may also mail you a new business license. 

I used the multi-jurisdictional license process last year to obtain my licenses, and now I need to renew all 3 of my licenses. How do I proceed?
Your licenses will be renewed separately with each jurisdiction. You will receive a separate notice that your license requires renewal from each jurisdiction. You should follow the instructions on that notice to renew your license. Typically, your license can be renewed through the mail with a check; however, you can also elect to visit each jurisdiction to renew your license in person.

License Fees

Can I pay my fees online?
No, not at this time. Renewal forms are available online and may either be mailed in or brought into our office in person. Please contact our office at (775) 334-2090 with any additional questions. We are available Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

How much does a business license cost?
There are over 100 license classifications and the license fee is based upon the classification. In order to determine the correct classification(s) for your business and the corresponding fees, please contact the Business License Division at (775) 334-2090 or

What happens if I pay late?
If payment is not received in the Business License office or postmarked on or before the due date, a 50% penalty will be assessed. A delinquent notice will be sent notifying you that your license has expired.

Why is there a fee to do business in Reno?
The fee imposed by the City of Reno is solely for the purpose of obtaining general revenue. Business License fees help pay for city services like roads, fire, police and other community services. These services benefit businesses, business owners and the general public.

Will the City notify me when it is time to renew my license?
Yes. However, it is your responsibility to renew the business license on time even if the courtesy reminder is not received. Penalties are assessed for delinquent payments, regardless or whether or not you receive a renewal notice. If you do not receive a notice two weeks prior to the expiration date, contact the Business License Division at (775) 334-2090. Renewal forms are always available on our website.

Business Locations 

I conduct business in several cities. Can I get just one license to do business in ALL of them?
Unfortunately, no. Each city has its own business license requirements. It is important to know that most Nevada cities have a business license ordinance. However, each city has its own fee structure and requirements. Check with the appropriate City or County for their rules and regulations. If you will be conducting business within Reno and the surrounding areas, you may need as many as four separate licenses, which include the State of Nevada, City of Sparks and Washoe County. The Washoe County license is good only in the unincorporated areas of the county and does not cover any of the incorporated areas located within it.

Any restrictions on where I do business?
Every business must be approved by other departments to ensure that the business activity and site are compatible. It is strongly urged that before signing any lease or rental agreement, that you check with the City's Community Development Department to make sure your business activity is appropriate for the zoning or requires special parking considerations.  Please call the planner of the day at (775) 321-8309 for zoning information.

What if I want to move the business to another location within the City?
Always check with the City's Community Development Department to verify that the new location is zoned properly for the intended use and whether a special use permit or other type of approval is required. You must notify our office whenever you change your address, phone number, business activity or ownership. We will be happy to provide you with the necessary paperwork and fee information related to the requested changes.

Signs, Advertising & Displaying Your License

Can I hang it at a Mail Boxes Etc. or similar location?
No. The City of Reno does not allow a post office box to be listed as your physical location. You must list the actual physical location of your business and operate the business from that location. A post office box may be used for your mailing address only.

Installing signs or posting flyers
Please check with the Community Development Department before using or installing any type of sign, flag or banner, even balloons. Permanent and temporary signs require review and approval prior to issuance of permits and installation. Posting signs, handbills, or flyers on any utility pole, traffic pole, fence, tree, bridge, mailbox or other public structure is prohibited.

Distribution Centers, Manufacturing Facilities, and Warehouses

Why is the way I calculate my business license fee changing?
In June 2017, the City of Reno amended the business license section of the Reno Municipal Code to clarify the definition of gross receipts and to define distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, and warehouses. A new business license fee structure for these types of businesses was created as well, following several months of discussions and collaboration with businesses and leaders in the industry. The goal of the new fee structure is to provide a framework that is equitable among distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, and warehouses; is predictable and simple to calculate; supports economic development; and does not deter business growth.

What is the new license fee structure?
The license fee for distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, and warehouses is the amount from the calculation using the square footage fee schedule below or the calculation using the gross receipts fee schedule below, whichever amount is higher.

How do I determine my business license fee?
To determine your license fee, follow this process:

Step 1
Square Footage Fee Schedule: use the total square feet of your building to determine the per-square-foot rate from the square footage fee schedule below:

  Total Square Feet X Rate Per Square Foot + Base Fee = Total Square Footage Based Fee
 1 to 5,000 square feet                 x             $0.10 per square foot  Minimum License Fee $60
 5,001 to 10,000 square feet        x             $0.09 per square foot  No base
 10,001 to 30,000 square feet      x             $0.08 per square foot  No base
 30,001 to 50,000 square feet      x             $0.07 per square foot  No base
 50,001 to 100,000 square feet    x             $0.06 per square foot + $500 base fee
 100,001 to 200,000 square feet  x             $0.05 per square foot + $1,500 base fee
 200,001 to 500,000 square feet  x             $0.04 per square foot  + $3,500 base fee;
Max fee per parcel $15,000
 500,001+ square foot                   x             $0.03 per square foot  Max fee per parcel $15,000


Step 1 Results: Square Footage Based Fee __________

Step 2
Gross Receipts Fee Schedule: use total amount of sales within the City of Reno only to calculate the gross receipts fee for the 12-month period ending on the license expiration date using the fee schedule below:

If gross receipts are:  Then license fee is:
 $0 through $20,000  $60
 $20,001 through $100,000  $130
 $100,0001 through $5,000,000  $130 plus .00085 times amount over $100,000
 Over $500,000  $4,295 plus .00065 times amount over $5,000,000


Step 2 Results: Gross Receipts Based Fee ______________ 

Step 3
Pay the higher of the fee results from Step 1 and Step 2.

If I have retail space at the same location as my distribution center, manufacturing facility or warehouse, how do I determine my license fee?
If the primary purpose at the location is a distribution center, manufacturing facility or warehouse, you will use the fee structure for distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, and warehouses.

When calculating total square footage, should I include outdoor space at the property, such as a parking lot or storage yard?
No, do not include outdoor space when determining the square footage of your business. Use the total building footprint to determine your square footage when calculating the license fee.

When calculating total square footage, should I include spaces such as offices, bathrooms, mezzanines, etc.?
Yes, use the total building footprint to determine your square footage when calculating the license fee.

My business occupies a suite of a larger building, but not the entire building. How do I calculate the fee?
Calculate the total square footage of the space you lease within the building and multiply that by the appropriate rate per the fee schedule. When submitting your renewal form, provide a copy of the section of your lease that shows the total square footage that you are leasing. Common areas will be assessed to the building owner or common area maintenance association.

I own three warehouse and/or manufacturing buildings under the same business. How do I calculate the fee?
If a business requests to be considered as a branch location and meets the definition of a branch location under Reno Municipal Code 4.04.040, calculate the total square footage of all the buildings held by the business and multiply that by the appropriate rate per the fee schedule. There is no cap if multiple buildings are being calculated together. Pay the higher of this fee or the cumulative gross receipts within the City of Reno fee under the designated primary business location. Secondary business locations must be registered with the City and pay the minimum annual license fee.

When does this new fee schedule go into effect?
The new license fee is effective July 1, 2017.

Other Licenses/Permits

Do I need a State of Nevada Business License?
Every business operating in the State of Nevada is required to register with the Nevada Secretary of State's Office to obtain a Nevada State Business License. To apply or for questions regarding the Nevada State Business License, contact the Secretary of State, 101 N. Carson Street, Suite 3, Reno, Nevada 89701, (775) 684-5708; or visit their website at It is required that the form be filed prior to obtaining a City of Reno business license.

Do I need a D.B.A. (Doing Business As) or Fictitious Business Name?
If your business name is anything other than your legal given name or exact corporate name, you will need to file a Fictitious Firm Name form with the Washoe County Clerk's office. It is required that the form be filed prior to obtaining a business license.

Do I need a sales tax permit?
Every business operating in the State of Nevada requires a Sales Tax or Use Tax Permit, or exemption, issued by the State of Nevada Department of Taxation. To apply or for questions regarding sales or use tax, contact the Nevada Department of Taxation call center at 866-962-3707.

What about selling food?
If you will be selling or preparing food, you will need to apply for a health permit from the Washoe County District Health Department, 1001 East 9th Street, Reno, Nevada 89512, (775) 328-2693. Necessary permits must be obtained from the Health District prior to the issuance of City of Reno business licenses.

How do I obtain a contractor's license?
Contractors must first obtain a license from the Nevada State Contractor's Board, 9670 Gateway Drive #100, Reno, Nevada, 89521, (775) 688-1141. Once the license has been obtained from the State of Nevada, an application may be submitted to the City of Reno.

How do I get a childcare license?
Childcare licensing is administered by the State of Nevada Bureau of Services for Childcare. They may be reached at (775) 684-4400. They license locations caring for five or more children. Lists of such facilities may be obtained from their office. After obtaining the necessary permits from their office, you will need to come into our office to get your City of Reno business license.

Special events, activities or other public events
Apply for a special activity or event permit through our office. A special activity is an indoor/outdoor activity or unlicensed business activity on private property. Examples include a trade show, craft show or fair, off-site public sale or various charitable activities. A special event involves street/sidewalk occupancy or City of Reno parks. Examples include any organized activity conducted by a person for a common or collective use, purpose or benefit, parades or formations, concerts, circuses, fairs, festivals, community event or mass participation sport (such as marathons, running events and bicycle races and tours). Additional information is available at

Temporary permits
Applicants that wish to conduct a business on a temporary basis must apply for a Temporary Permit.  Please contact the Business License office at (775) 334-2090.

Do I need a license to play music for tips?
First amendment artisans are not required to obtain a business license.  You may qualify as a first amendment artisan if you engage in expressive communication by displaying and eliciting or accepting contributions for, selling, offering for sale, exposing for sale, or soliciting offers to purchase any handcrafted art or craft item on any public sidewalk and gross under $60.00 per year.

Do I need a license to sell in a park or on the sidewalk?
Vending is not permitted in parks within the City of Reno. You may apply for a Sidewalk Vendor License if you wish to sell from the public right-of-way. As this is a specialized application process, please contact our office to receive forms and additional information.


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