What Are You Legally Required to Do to Run a Mobile Business?

What Are You Legally Required to Do to Run a Mobile Business?

If you are planning to start your own mobile business, you may have already gathered the equipment that you need. This could include a truck, signage, food preparation equipment and a portable card reader for taking payments. Before you can start, however, it is important that you make certain to comply with the legal requirements in your area so that your business can operate legally and avoid fines or penalties.

Licenses and Permits

Each state, county and local municipality have permit and licensing requirements to run a business. You should start there by calling to ask what types of licenses and permits are required for your specific business. If you plan to sell and/or prepare food, you will also need to call your local Department of Health to find out about those requirements.

Other types of mobile businesses may also have licenses and permits that are required. For example, you may need to check about parking and zoning laws. Some cities and counties also may require special licenses for mobile businesses in particular.

Sales and Use Permits

Most cities require businesses to register and obtain sales and use permits. These permits require fees to be paid annually. The businesses are then subject to sales and use taxes that are assessed by the cities in which they operate.


If you will be running a mobile food truck, you will also likely be required to have your vehicle inspected by health inspectors. If your mobile business will involve transporting others, an inspection and commercial driver’s license may also be required.

Regulatory Compliance

When permits are issued, it is important to keep in mind that you will need to renew them annually. There may be regulatory requirements that you will have to follow, so check with the local regulatory body in your area to make certain that you understand what they are. For example, food preparers may need to wear latex gloves and have handwashing protocols in place.


When you’re preparing to start a mobile business, you should check with the following to make certain that you have all of the legal requirements in place:

  • Your city’s zoning and business permitting boards
  • Your county’s zoning and business permitting boards
  • Your local department of health
  • Your local regulatory agency for your type of business
  • The Secretary of State’s office in your state

When you make certain that you have all of the licenses and permits that your business needs, you can avoid fines or penalties that you might otherwise incur. After you have secured all of the required legal documents, you can start your mobile business and use your portable card terminal to accept payments as you watch your business grow.