Sixty Percent of Bend Businesses Have a Business License DO YOU HAVE YOURS?


The City of Bend requires that all businesses have a business license.  Does your business have one? The purpose of the program is to inform the City’s efforts to promote the health and expansion of Bend businesses. By tracking basic, accurate information about Bend’s businesses, City services are tailored to Bend’s unique business community assets and needs.

The primary way that the City supports business growth in Bend is through the City’s Business Advocacy Program, which urges all City departments to incorporate private-sector concerns in everything that the department does. The ultimate goal is a city government that is constantly highlighting the strengths of and responding to the needs of its business community.

The business advocate along with the City’s Economic Development Advisory Board (BEDAB) sets the City’s economic development strategy. Working with key community partners like the Bend Chamber and EDCO (Economic Development for Central Oregon), the City supports the expansion of existing businesses and the growth and recruitment of new businesses.

Providing services for the Bend way of life

The best way that the City can provide the right support for Bend businesses is to have the most up-to-date and accurate information. The Bend Business License database is a powerful tool. If your business is not included, you miss a chance for representation.

Emergency services – police, fire and EMS – are critical to a good business climate. The information collected by the Business License program feeds our local emergency services database. Correct information on your business ensures a prompt response.

The City’s goal is to expand the needs of businesses in its decision-making. Having an up-to-date database from which to draw for advisory committee selection and/or outreach ensures the right businesses are invited for the appropriate committee.

The excitement and energy surrounding the announcement of OSU Cascades is shared by the City. The opportunity for Bend businesses – that rely on an educated and innovative workforce – is immeasurable. The City supports all efforts that generate a creative pool of workers for our businesses to hire. Input from Bend businesses is instrumental to identify the best courses and programs hosted at the new college. Further, the needs of the university will inform the City’s land and infrastructure planning for the campus.

How do Bend’s businesses get new clients? One way is to grow and attract new businesses in Bend. To do that successfully, the City needs to know about existing businesses by type of industry and by number of employees. This helps us determine the services that existing businesses need and the amount of employment land the City will need to adequately serve existing and future businesses.

Who Should Obtain a Business License?

All businesses that are defined as “for-profit” businesses under the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code are required to have a business license. Non-profits should register with the City but are not required to pay the fee.

  • Businesses that physically conduct business within the City of Bend, whether or not they have a physical structure in Bend are required to have a business license (including delivery and repair businesses).  Similarly, internet businesses and home-based businesses physically located in Bend are required to have a business license.
  • Real estate agents, under state law, cannot be required to pay separately for a business license to operate. Therefore it is the responsibility of the real estate agencies to obtain a business license.
  • Likewise for professionals such as hairdressers and medical care providers who work in offices but are independent contractors are exempt from registering. Instead, each office or salon will obtain a license.
  • Service businesses operated by those younger than18, e.g. lawn-mowing business, lemonade stand, or newspaper delivery business, are not required to obtain a business license.

If ownership of the business is transferred during the year, the new owner must apply for a new business license and pay a separate license fee. Businesses that change their physical location shall notify the city.

We’ll see your license in your window

All businesses based in buildings whose primary purpose is commercial, and all businesses based in vehicles, must display the license in public view at all times.

For businesses that use multiple vehicles, a photocopy of the license is required to be displayed in public view in each vehicle. Businesses based in buildings that are primarily residential need not publicly display the license but must keep it available for inspection upon request.

It is really important to note that a business license does not regulate business activities. Land use and zoning matters are handled through the City’s Planning Department. Health and hazardous materials concerns are addressed by the City’s Fire Marshal and Fire Department. The City’s code compliance officers handle any complaints that businesses are in violation of City Municipal Codes (non-criminal). All other regulatory matters are administered on the county, state, or federal level.

So go get (or renew) yours!

It is easy to get (or renew) your business license. Visit the City’s webpage and go to the Business Resources page. Click on the link for Business License Application. If you have any questions, just give the City a call 541-388-5505 and someone will assist you.

If you would like more information about the City’s Business Advocacy Program, call or email Carolyn Eagan, the City’s Business Advocate. She can be reached at 541-388-5529 or

Let’s improve the City’s business climate together! Get or renew your license today.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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