What licenses does a dry cleaning business need?
ComplianceAugust 30, 2022

Do you need a dry cleaning or laundromat license for your business?

Laundromat and dry cleaning businesses are always in demand. But just like other businesses, if you operate a laundromat or dry cleaner, you must keep up with business license, permit, and registration requirements for public safety, tax, and other reasons.

To complicate matters, the licenses and permits you need from the state, county, or city will depend on your business activities and business location. If you have multiple locations, you will need to fulfill your license and permit requirements for each location.

Read on to learn what licenses are needed for your laundromat or dry-cleaning business.

General business license

Most businesses need a basic business license to operate in a county, city, or state. This license is known as a general business license, business privilege license, business tax registration, or tax certificate.

The licensing authority for a general business license is typically your local government, although some states (Alaska and Washington) issue a state-wide business license.

Keep in mind that you may need to obtain multiple business licenses. For example, a business in Orlando, Florida is required to have two business tax registrations — one from the city and one from the county.


Local government zoning laws regulate the use of real estate or land in certain areas. For instance, your local government may prohibit certain business activities in designated areas or buildings. They can also dictate the required building size in relation to the zoning lot, the distance between buildings and lot boundaries, and required parking and other requirements.

Check your local zoning regulations to see if they permit the operation of a laundromat or dry-cleaning business in your chosen location.

Fire safety permit

Fire safety codes help protect the community by ensuring that the building where you locate your laundromat is safe for the purposes it is used for. If you store certain equipment or materials or conduct certain activities, you may need to obtain a fire safety permit.

Your local fire department may also require different licenses and permits that pertain to installing and maintaining sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, and other requirements for fire prevention and protection.

Check with your local city or town’s fire marshal division for more information about what they require of a laundry business.

Building permit

If you plan on remodeling or building a commercial space, you'll need to get a building permit.

Certificate of occupancy

Issued by a local government agency or building department, a certificate of occupancy outlines what the building structure is used for and ensures it is compliant with building codes.

Sign permit

Business sign permits help protect the public from poorly installed signs, they also regulate visual eyesores. Even if your state, county, or town doesn’t require a sign permit, zoning laws may still regulate the use of signs.

Air pollution control permit/registration

Depending on the types of materials used in the dry cleaning process (such as the solvent perchloroethylene or perc), your business may need to obtain a permit or register with your state's Department of Environmental Protection.

Industrial waste discharge permit

To protect the health and safety of the public, your city may require you to obtain an industrial waste permit. The permit also ensures that wastewater collection systems and treatment plants are not impacted by industrial waste.

Other possible requirements and fees for your dry-cleaning or laundromat business

In addition to the licenses, permits, and zoning laws mentioned above, your laundromat business may need the following:

  • Certification: Owners, managers, and/or operators of perc dry-cleaning machines may be required to take an approved training program and pass an examination.
  • Federal tax ID (EIN) number. Issued by the IRS, the EIN is also called a tax identification number or employer identification number, and is required for almost all types of businesses.
  • State tax ID number. Issued by your state’s department of revenue or taxation, the state tax ID number is also called a tax registration number.
  • DBA/fictitious business name registration. The doing business as (DBA) or fictitious business name registration happens with the appropriate state or local jurisdiction.
  • Workers’ Comp Insurance. In most states, workers' compensation coverage is mandatory if you have at least one employee.
  • Surety bond: A dry cleaners surety bond is sometimes required by certain cities or towns to operate a dry cleaning business within a particular location.
  • Commercial general liability insurance: Commercial general liability (CGL) provides business coverage for bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage caused by the business’s operations, products, or injuries that occur on the business’s premises.
  • Vehicle insurance: For pick-up and delivery services
  • Public improvement fees
  • Impact fees
  • Sewer connection fees
  • Sewer and wastewater fees

CT can help

Outsourcing business registration and license research, applications, management, and renewals can help you take the pressure off internal resources. By working with a full-service management provider who specializes in the efficient processing of general business licenses, you can free up your time to focus on starting and growing your laundromat business while ensuring you keep up with changing compliance requirements.

For more information on CT Corporation services and how we can streamline your business licensing, please contact us or call us at (844) 701-2064

The CT Corporation staff is comprised of experts, offering global, regional, and local expertise on registered agent, incorporation, and legal entity compliance.

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