Comprehensive Guide to Permits and Licenses Required to Start a Business in Reno, Nevada

Starting a business in Reno, Nevada, involves navigating various regulatory requirements, including obtaining the necessary permits and licenses. This guide provides business persons and emerging entrepreneurs with a detailed overview of the essential permits, licenses, and approvals required by Reno statutory authorities to legally operate a business. Understanding these requirements is crucial to ensure compliance and establish a solid foundation for your business.

1. Business License

All businesses operating in Reno must obtain a business license from the City of Reno Business License Division. This license is required for all businesses, including home-based operations and independent contractors.

  • Where to Apply: City of Reno Business License Division
  • Application Process: Complete the application form and submit the required fee.
  • Website: Reno Business License

2. Nevada State Business Registration

In addition to the city business license, all businesses in Nevada must register with the Nevada Secretary of State.

  • Where to Apply: Nevada Secretary of State
  • Application Process: Complete the registration form and submit the required fee.
  • Website: Nevada Secretary of State

3. Fictitious Firm Name (DBA) Registration

If you are operating your business under a name other than your own, you must register a Fictitious Firm Name, also known as a Doing Business As (DBA) name, with the Washoe County Clerk’s Office.

  • Where to Apply: Washoe County Clerk’s Office
  • Application Process: File the Fictitious Firm Name Registration and pay the required fee.
  • Website: Washoe County Clerk

4. Zoning Permits

Before establishing your business location, ensure that the property is zoned for your type of business activity. Zoning permits ensure that your business complies with local land use regulations.

  • Where to Apply: City of Reno Community Development Department
  • Application Process: Verify zoning compliance and apply for necessary permits if required.
  • Website: Reno Zoning Permits

5. Building Permits

If you plan to construct or modify your business premises, you will need to obtain building permits to ensure the work complies with local building codes and regulations.

  • Where to Apply: City of Reno Building and Safety Division
  • Application Process: Submit plans, obtain approval, and pass inspections.
  • Website: Reno Building Permits

6. Health Permits

Businesses involved in the preparation, handling, or sale of food and beverages must obtain health permits to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations.

  • Where to Apply: Washoe County Health District
  • Application Process: Submit the application, undergo inspections, and obtain approval.
  • Website: Washoe County Health District

7. Sign Permits

Businesses that wish to install signage must obtain a sign permit to ensure the signage complies with local regulations and codes.

  • Where to Apply: City of Reno Building and Safety Division
  • Application Process: Submit sign plans for approval.
  • Website: Reno Sign Permits

8. Liquor License

If your business plans to sell alcoholic beverages, you must obtain a Liquor License from the City of Reno Business License Division.

  • Where to Apply: City of Reno Business License Division
  • Application Process: Submit the application, undergo background checks, and obtain local approvals.
  • Website: Reno Liquor License

9. Fire Department Permits

Certain businesses, especially those with public assembly areas or hazardous materials, must obtain permits from the Reno Fire Department to ensure compliance with fire safety regulations.

  • Where to Apply: Reno Fire Department
  • Application Process: Submit the application and pass inspections.
  • Website: Reno Fire Department

10. State and Federal Permits

Depending on your industry, you may need additional state and federal permits. For example, businesses in agriculture, transportation, and broadcasting may require specific licenses and permits.

  • Where to Apply: Varies by industry and regulatory body.
  • Application Process: Research specific requirements and apply accordingly.
  • Website: Nevada State Permits


Obtaining the necessary permits and licenses is a crucial step in starting a business in Reno, Nevada. By following this comprehensive guide and ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements, you can establish a strong legal foundation for your business. For further assistance, consider consulting with local business advisors or legal experts to navigate the application processes smoothly.

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