Do You Need a Business License to Dropship on Shopify?

Do you need a business license to dropship on Shopify

It’s no news that in the world of e-commerce, Shopify is one of the most popular platforms for entrepreneurs. Whether you’re new to the online selling world or are well-acquainted; it’s impossible to be sleeping on a platform like Shopify.

Shopify has made it easier for entrepreneurs and businesses to set up online stores and instantly start selling products.

But if you’re considering diving into the world of dropshipping on Shopify, you might find a question popping into your mind, “Do you need a license to dropship on Shopify?”

Well, lucky for you, we’re here with a comprehensive guide to break down the key aspects of dropshipping on Shopify and answer the very question that brought you here. But wait there is more! Now you can use to create social media posts for your products.

Isn’t it exciting? Try it now.

What is a business license?

Before we delve into the specifics of Shopify dropshipping, let’s first understand the concept of a business license.

In the United States, obtaining a business license is an essential step for anyone looking to operate a legal business.

This license essentially grants you the legal right to conduct business within a particular jurisdiction.

Business license

To acquire a business license, you need to follow a series of steps outlined by your local government.

These steps can vary from state to state and even city to city, so it’s crucial to research the requirements specific to your location.

In addition, the type of business license you require may also vary according to the products you sell.

For example, say you run a business selling alcoholic beverages. In that case, you will be required to apply for a federal business license. If you’re in Arkansas, you might find the Owning a Business website quite helpful.

It’s best to research some small-business license guides and get acquainted with the requirements. 

About Shopify dropshipping

Now that you have an idea about what kind of licenses you might need for dropshipping, let’s look into how dropshipping works with Shopify

What is dropshipping?

Understanding dropshipping is pretty easy. It is a type of business model where you, as a retailer, don’t need to keep your products in stock. Instead, you partner up with suppliers who handle the inventory and shipping.

So, when a customer places an order, the supplier ships the products directly to the customer’s doorstep. This model eliminates the need for warehousing and inventory costs on your part. The process is also easy to follow and get used to.

dropshipping process

For example, let’s say you want to sell smartphone accessories. With drop shipping, you can list these products in your Shopify store without purchasing them upfront.

When a customer orders a phone case, your supplier will ship it directly to the customer, and you’ll earn a profit without ever touching the product.

Dropshipping on shopify

How to do Shopify dropshipping?

Shopify may be one of the easiest platforms to apply to the dropshipping model. So if you’re new to dropshipping, you’ve made a great choice starting on Shopify.

Compared to other e-commerce platforms like eBay or Amazon, Shopify is much easier to set up as it has a very user-friendly interface. You can also create a customized online store through website designs.

In addition, Shopify offers several built-in marketing tools, such as SEO optimization and social media integrations, to help you drive traffic and sales.

This can be a real lifesaver when you’re just getting started. You can also easily integrate your Shopify store with various dropshipping apps and platforms to streamline your business operations.

Do you need a business license to dropship on Shopify?

The short answer is yes, you generally need a business license to operate a Shopify dropshipping business in the United States. However, there are some nuances and exceptions to consider.

What Is a Shopify Dropshipping Business License?

A Shopify dropshipping business license is essentially the same as a standard business license, but it’s specific to your Shopify-based business.

It legitimizes your business and ensures that you comply with local and state regulations while using the Shopify platform to conduct your business.

Let’s say you live in California and decide to start a dropshipping business on Shopify selling handmade jewelry.

In this case, you would need a California business license, which covers your overall business activities. However, since you’re operating on Shopify, it’s also considered a Shopify dropshipping business.

Is it possible to start Shopify Dropshipping without a business license?

In some cases, it might be possible to start Shopify dropshipping without a business license, but this depends on your location and the scale of your business.

Some states may allow you to operate as a sole proprietorship without a formal business license. This happens especially if your business is small and you’re not manufacturing products or handling sensitive customer data.

Businesses that require dropshipping license

To determine whether you need a business license in your state and for your specific type of business, you can go through SBA’s licenses and permits website.

Shopify itself doesn’t require you to have a business license to create an online store, but it’s your responsibility to ensure compliance with local regulations.

Do you need a Seller’s permit to sell on Shopify?

In addition to a business license, you may also need a seller’s permit, also known as a sales tax permit or resale certificate.

Again, this depends on your location and the type of products you sell. A seller’s permit allows you to collect and remit sales tax on taxable items.

If you’re dropshipping clothing items from your Shopify store and your state has a sales tax, you will likely need a seller’s permit.

On the other hand, if you’re selling digital products or services that aren’t subject to sales tax, you might not need a seller’s permit.

What is a business license?

In essence, a business license is an official document issued by your local government or relevant authorities that permits you to conduct business within a specific jurisdiction.

This legal document helps regulate businesses, ensuring they comply with zoning laws, safety standards, and tax obligations.

Types of business licenses

Business licenses come in various forms, depending on your business type and location. Here are some common types:

  1. General Business License: This is typically required for most businesses and covers a wide range of activities.
  1. Professional License: Certain professions, like doctors, lawyers, and real estate agents, require specialized licenses to practice legally.
  1. Federal License: Required for tax reporting purposes and is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States. You can check SBA’s list to see if your type of business requires this license.
  1. Sales Tax Permit: State-level licenses that enable businesses to collect and remit sales tax on taxable transactions within a specific state
  1. Retail License: If your business involves selling physical products directly to consumers, you may need a retail license.
  1. Home Occupation Permit: For businesses operated from home, a home occupation permit may be required in addition to a general business license.
  1. Health Department Permit: Businesses in the food service or healthcare industry often need health department permits.
business license for shopify dropshipping

Do you need a business license?

In most instances, yes, you need some or the other type of business license listed above. It will allow you to legally operate a business in the United States.

Acquiring a business license isn’t just about compliance with the law; it’s a critical step in establishing your business’s legitimacy.

It safeguards consumers, ensures adherence to tax regulations, and provides access to valuable resources and benefits as a recognized business entity.

How much business license cost?

The cost of obtaining a business license can vary significantly based on your location, the nature of your business, and local regulations.

Some states may charge nominal fees, while others might require a more substantial investment.

The range you might generally see is anywhere from $50 to hundreds of dollars. In addition, license renewals also cost some amount of fee.

For example, in Alaska, a one or two-year business license costs about $50. On the other hand, depending on the type of business, a three-year business license in New Jersey might cost somewhere around $200.

It’s crucial to research the specific costs your issuing agency associates with obtaining a business license in your jurisdiction.

How to get a business license?

Step #1: Decide the Name and Structure of Your Business:

Choose an appropriate business name and determine its legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation).

Step #2: Apply for an Employer Tax Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN, also known as a federal tax ID, is essential for tax reporting purposes. You can obtain one from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Step #3: Identify the Necessary License(s)

Research and determine which licenses are required for your specific business type and location.

Step #4: Apply for the Business License

Submit your license application to the relevant local or state authorities, along with any required fees and supporting documentation.

How long does it take to get a business license?

The timeline for obtaining a business license can vary depending on your location and the specific licenses you need.

In some cases, you may receive your license within a few weeks, while in others, it could take several months.

Generally, federal licenses take several weeks as they go through different processes. It’s advisable to start the application process well in advance to ensure timely approval.

A small thing you can do to speed up the process, however, is to apply online. It will take you as well as the registration office less time to review the application.


We’re sure you came here with the doubt of whether you need a license to dropship on Shopify. And our short answer is, yes.

You will end up requiring one or the other type of business license we talked about. 

As we mentioned in the blog, be sure to do some research using SBA’s website to see whether your business first requires a federal license. If you do, it’s best to get started on the process right away!

In the world of e-commerce and dropshipping on Shopify, obtaining a business license and potentially a seller’s permit is a necessary step to ensure the legality of your business operations.

Compliance with local and state regulations not only keeps you on the right side of the law but also establishes trust with your customers.

So, whether you’re planning to dropship handmade candles or the latest tech gadgets, ensure you have the required licenses in place, and you’ll be well on your way to e-commerce success.

Related articles

How To Create Shopify Product Videos

Best Shopify Tools For Marketing

Implement ‘Add to cart’ in Pinterest for Shopify

How To Connect Instagram To Shopify Store

ChatGPT for Shopify and E-commerce Marketing

Best Instagram Tools to Boost Shopify Sales

Spread the love
Akshay Kulkarni

A tech enthusiast with a background in marketing and operations. Specializing in growth marketing, an expert in e-commerce and social media marketing. When not scaling businesses, he enjoys staying fit and sipping on a strong cup of coffee.