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Business Licensing Division

Business Process

Welcome to the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP) Business and Professional Licensing Administration Business Licensing Division.

“Business” means any trade, profession, or activity which provides, or holds itself out to provide, goods or services to the general public or to any portion of the general public, for hire or compensation in the District of Columbia.

Business activity in the District requires owners/operators to be licensed according to the business activity conducted (e.g., convenience stores, home improvement contractors, residential rentals, restaurants).

Each licensed activity has its own set of requirements, see categories below, but all licenses have to complete the four requirements outlined in the Steps to Obtain a Basic Business License.

Obtain a Basic Business License


How to Apply for a License


Visit the DC Business Licensing Portal. You can find personalized checklists with all the requirements you need to kick start your new business.

Visit the DC Business Licensing Portal


Want more information?

“Skip the Trip” and use the My DC Business Center to conduct business wherever and whenever you choose. Application requirements may be found below for each category for which an application may be submitted online. If you have more detailed questions about the requirements and/or categories, please contact us at (202) 671-4500.

Visit My DC Business Center


In Person 
You may visit the DLCP Business License Center, 1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20024, where you will be directed to one of our kiosks to apply for a Basic Business License via the DC Business Center. You may pay with a major credit/debit card. No appointments are required.


Business Licensing Categories

Note: For each category, other than the last category (“Regulated Businesses”), the requirements are identical for all licenses in that category.  However, the fee schedule may vary depending on the type of license.

Beauty & Grooming Services

Health Services

Rental Housing

Being or Becoming a Landlord in the District | A Handy Resource

If you are a current or aspiring landlord in the District, we have compiled a new resource to help you with your business: Resources and Information on Rental Housing.


Basic Business License (BBL) Resources

Contact TTY: