Welcome back to our series on how to start a small business in O’Fallon.
This week, we're offering tips and resources on how to register your business name and obtain local licenses and permits. Next week, we’ll discuss how to deal with your business taxes.
Now that you’ve determined the legal structure of your small business, you’re ready to register your business name.
Registering Your ‘DBA’ Name
First, you’ll decide what to call your business—if you’ll be using a name other than your own, you’ll need to register it with the Secretary of State as a “fictitious name.”
That’s because, according to the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), Missouri law requires “any person or business entity which transacts business in the state under a name other than their own ‘true name’ to register that business name with the Missouri Secretary of State as a Fictitious Name Registration.”
If your business is already incorporated but you want to do business under a different name, you’ll need a “Doing Business As” (DBA) name as well.
“The Secretary of State’s website makes it fairly easy both check availability of business entity names and to register them,” Coleman said.
Shoaf agreed, pointing out that “in the State of Missouri it is one of the simplest processes to complete.”
The Registration of Fictitious Name forms can be completed and submitted online at Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s website.
“One word of caution, consult your tax professional and an attorney before filing,” Shoaf added. “This may save you some duplication of work and money in the long run.”
Registering Your Business with the City of O’Fallon
In order to do business in the City of O’Fallon, you’ll need to complete and receive approval on the city’s Business License Application. The form asks for basic information about the business and the owner, plus asks questions about any employees you’ll have, the location of the business and more.
Special Conditions for Home-Based Business Owners
If you’ll be running your business from your home in O’Fallon, you need to know that there are a number of restrictions and limitations to consider.
For example, the city permits home-based businesses “as an accessory use to a residential use in any zoning district subject to the requirements of this Section, with the exception of (certain) uses which are prohibited.”
Prohibited home businesses in O’Fallon include:
- Appliance repair
- Auto, truck, trailer or motor vehicle repair, service or painting
- Restaurants or bars
- Equipment rental
- Furniture stripping, etc.
- Mortuaries and embalming
- Daycares, preschools, etc. that have more than four kids at any one time (excluding the owner’s relatives.)
- Private clubs, including fraternity and sorority houses.
- Retail or wholesale shopping establishments where the customer comes to the home to make purchases.
- Stables or kennels.
- Storage of contractor equipment or storage of construction material.
- Animal-related services, such as animal hospitals, pet grooming and pet adoption services.
- Any other use listed as a conditional use in a commercial or industrial zoning district.
Additionally, there are a number of requirements to follow if your business doesn’t fall under this list. Check out the Supplemental Information regarding Home Based Businesses in the City of O’Fallon checklist for more information.
Home-based business owners will also need to complete and receive approval on the Application for Home Based Business Permit.
Other O’Fallon Registrations You Might Need to Consider
Shoaf said that depending on the type of business you’re doing, you may need additional licenses and registrations.
“O’Fallon may require special licensure based on your profession while others require none at all,” he said. “Examples would be a plumber usually has city and county licenses while in-home care (other than health care) does not require any license at all.
- If you’ll be selling any alcoholic beverages, you’ll need to apply for and obtain approval on a City of O’Fallon Liquor License Application. Once you’ve received that, you’ll have to apply for a State of Missouri and a St. Charles County liquor license. See the application for specifics and details.
- If you’ll have live entertainment at your business, you’ll need to complete and receive approval on a Live Entertainment Business License Application before the shows start.
- For special events that feature live entertainment, there’s a different form to complete and receive approval on before the events: the Live Entertainment Special Event Permit Application.
- If your business will require you to go door-to-door or sell items on the street or in businesses, you’ll need to complete and receive approval on the Peddler’s/Solicitor’s/Canvasser’s License Application.
In Case You Missed It
In case you’ve missed previous editions of our small business series, we have shared ideas for choosing a business concept, including the development of unique business ideas and tips and suggestions for franchise opportunities.
We’ve also discussed how to write business plans, given tips and ideas on ways to find free and low-cost business training opportunities and offered expert advice on ownership options and legal structures for small businesses. Last week, we offered information and resources on how to find a business location in O'Fallon.
About the Experts
St. Charles County entrepreneur and business consultant Richard Shoaf owns several locally-based businesses, including Compass Consultants and STCI.
Chris Coleman owns St. Louis-based FranNet, a company that helps would-be business owners choose and develop franchise businesses. FranNet's clients include several O’Fallon area business owners, Coleman said.
Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Subscribe to our daily newsletter so you won’t miss a single part of this ongoing series! Next week, we’ll offer tips and resources for handling your taxes as a small business owner.
Do you own your own business in O’Fallon? We want to share your story with the community! Contact Patch reporter Angela Atkinson at email@example.com to arrange for an interview.