Maryland Courts

Business License Information

How to Obtain a Business License

Many types of business licenses may be obtained from the Clerk of the Circuit Court. You may need a license if you sell a product at the wholesale or retail level, operate a restaurant, laundry, storage warehouse, garage, billiard or other gaming tables, pinball machines, music boxes, vending machines, or if you are a peddler or sell door to door, engage in commercial construction as well as other specific types of business operations.

Do You Need a Business License?

Persons Required to Obtain a Traders License

A person or business organization other than a grower, maker or manufacturer may not offer for sale, sell or otherwise dispose of any goods within Maryland, without first obtaining a license from the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

A private individual may conduct a public sale of personal effects on his or her own property without a license, provided that no more than one sale is conducted for a period not to exceed 14 consecutive days in any one calendar year.

An exhibitor who displays and sells goods at a show is not required to obtain any license if the show is promoted by:
(exhibitor's affidavit, if applicable)

  • a church
  • any government agency or unit
  • an amateur radio organization
  • an antique vehicle, machine and equipment organization
  • a volunteer fire department or rescue squad
  • a model train collectors ’ association
  • or other non-profit organization

The traders license fee is based on the wholesale value of your retail inventory. The license year runs from May 1st through the following April 30th.

Persons Required to Obtain a Construction License

Any person or business organization must obtain a construction license from the Clerk of the Circuit Court on an annual basis if it agrees:

  • to do work on or in any building or structure, requiring the use of paint, stone, brick, mortar, wood, cement, structural iron or steel, sheet iron, galvanized iron, metallic piping, tin, lead, electric wiring or other metal, or any building material; or
  • to do any paving or curbing on side walks or streets, public or private property, or
  • to excavate earth, rock or other material for foundations or any other purpose.

The construction license fee is $17.00/year payable by cash, check, credit card or money order to the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

The license year runs from May 1st through the following April 30th.

A contractor or subcontractor who holds a license under the Maryland Home Improvement Law is NOT required to hold a construction license issued by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

For additional information visit the Business License Department of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, 7 West Courtland Street, Bel Air, MD 21014 or call the Business License Department at 410-638-3248.

How to Obtain a Business License

There are three ways to obtain a business license from the Clerk of the Circuit Court
  1. Apply online
  2. Apply by mail
  3. Apply in person
Apply Online

You can apply for a business license through Maryland Business Licenses Online. The site also allows you to search the licensing system of the Maryland Judiciary for issued licenses as well as provide you with the ability to apply, edit and renew your Maryland business licenses online.

Apply by Mail or Fax

Download the Business License Worksheet form. The form is a fillable PDF which allows you to type directly into the document. You must have Adobe Reader version 5.1 or higher to use the fillable function. To download a free copy or upgrade to a newer version, visit the Adobe web site. Adobe Reader does not allow you to save the information you input into a form. Print an extra copy of the completed application form before exiting.

Mail the completed form to Clerk of the Circuit Court, Attn: Business License Department, 20 West Courtland Street, Bel Air, MD 21014, or fax to the Business License Department at 410-836-7615.

If additional information is needed, call our office at 410-638-3248.

Apply in Person

You will be asked by the deputy to complete a worksheet when you apply for a business license at the Clerk of the Circuit Court. If you wish, you may complete the Worksheet (in fillable PDF) in advance and bring a copy with you.

The business license can be obtained between the hours of 8:30 - 3:00, Monday through Friday.

Costs

The following documents may be helpful in determining various costs associated with business licenses:

For more information on business licenses and opening a Maryland business, please visit the following sites:

  • Maryland Business Licenses Online (search the licensing system of the Maryland Judiciary for issued licenses and apply, edit and renew your Maryland business licenses online.
  • Business License Information System (includes startup information and an alphabetized list of all State licenses and permits)
  • Comptroller of Maryland - Business Information and Services (includes business license tips, frequently asked questions, employer withholding information, tax registration)

If you have any questions about obtaining a business license in Harford County, please contact the Business License Department of the Clerk of the Circuit Court at 410-638-3248.