Freelance Writing FAQ: Do Freelance Writers Need a Business License?

New freelance writers have to spend time looking for clients and bidding on projects. Depending on their location, the writer may also need to get a business license. Although some states allow writers to operate without licenses, other states will require the writer to register their business. Since this varies from state to state, the writer should go to their state's web page and look for information about registration requirements.

Working as a Sole Proprietor

As a sole proprietor, the writer is their business. If the company is sued or goes bankrupt, the writer goes bankrupt as well. With this type of business license, the writer is the only person who can be hired by the company. In many places, the writer is automatically considered a sole proprietor and does not have to register. Other areas still require the writer to register, so individuals should look up the specific requirements for their state.

Check Zoning Regulations

Even in relaxed states, the writer may still need to check out the zoning regulations for their municipality. In some cities, the home office must be set up as a commercial building for the writer to work at it. This is generally done in municipalities that have military bases located nearby and is common in larger cities. If the writer does not register their business in these areas, they can end up with an extra fine from their city.

Visit the Small Business Administration

The United States government has set up a website that helps small business owners become registered. On this website, writers can figure out the type of company that they want to register. They may want to work as a sole proprietorship, an S corporation, a limited liability company or a partnership. Out of these options, a sole proprietorship is the most common choice for writers.

Track Everything

Once a writer gets their license, they should keep it in a safe. Any business documents should be stored in the same location so that the writer can easily look things up. They should also write down the date that the license needs to be renewed. By tracking these dates in advance, the writer can make sure that renew things on time and avoid any unwanted fees. Since a writer's income may vary from month to month, they should renew their license as soon as possible. By renewing the license quickly, the writer can save money and reduce their stress levels.