Business Licenses

Who needs a general business license?

The City of Des Moines requires all businesses to be licensed with the City if they are:

  • Located within City limits and generating $2,000 or more per year within City limits, or
  • Located outside City limits, but conducting business within City limits and generating $2,000 or more per year within City limits.  (Des Moines Municipal Code 5.04.020)

Exempt businesses:

  • No physical location in the city limits of Des Moines
  • No requirement for any other specialized permit or license
  • Annual Des Moines revenue of less than $2,000

All business licenses need to be renewed annually through FileLocal.

How to apply and renew

Please file or renew your City business license on FileLocal.

If you would like assistance navigating the FileLocal system, please call FileLocal directly at: (225) 215-0052 or 1-877-693-4435, or email FileLocal@e-govsystems.com.

If you are unable to file or renew using the FileLocal portal then you can print and mail this application along with your payment.

Tips for registering and renewing a currently active license on FileLocal portal:

  1. You will be required to provide your 16-digit Unified Business Number (UBI) to register on FileLocal.  Click here to find your UBI number.
  2. Once you are registered in FileLocal, you can link your current City business license.  Click here if you do not currently have a DOR UBI.
  3. Once you successfully link your FileLocal registration to your current City license number, a renewal will be pushed out to your through FileLocal if your are renewing a current license. License renewals take 24 hours minimum to be pushed through the system once your account is successfully linked.
  4. You will be able to renew your license through the FileLocal system.

When applying for a new City business license:

  • You will be required to provide your 16-digit UBI (from DOR) to register on FileLocal.  Click here if you do not currently have a DOR UBI.
  • Follow the prompts to apply for a new City license.

After using FileLocal to complete your General Business License application the following businesses also need a regulatory business license.


Print & Mail
1st Time
Applicants
Print & Mail
License
Renewals
 Mobile Vendor Print PDFPrint PDF
 Stationary Vendor Print PDFPrint PDF
 Cabaret Print PDFPrint PDF
 Solicitors Print PDFPrint PDF


Other Licenses

The city administers several other licenses including adult entertainment licenses, panorama licenses, cabaret licenses, mobile and stationary vendors, solicitor licenses, secondhand dealer, pawn broker/shop, card rooms and massage parlor licenses.

Cabaret

  • $750 license application fee
  • Due annually by January 31st

Adult Entertainer Manager License

  • This license is required for any person engaging as a manager for an adult entertainment business.
  • $200 per manager application fee
  • Due annually by January 31st

Adult Entertainer License

  • This license is required for any person engaging as an entertainer.
  • $200 per entertainer application fee
  • Due annually by January 31st

It is important to note that some activities require criminal background investigations, zoning/land use approval, and review by the Fire Marshal when a license is issued or renewed.

Information can be found in the Des Moines Municipal Code.