Business Licensing

City of Aiken Business Licensing Frequently Asked Questions

Are temporary licenses issued instead of renewable ones?

Yes! If you are only doing a temporary job or sale, then a temporary license would work best for you. A temporary license allows you to avoid having to renew the license because your gross receipts are reported up front and your fee is based on that amount. This works great for contractors who come to Aiken to do one construction project. They can pay their fee and not have to worry about the hassle of renewals or closing out their license account at a later date. We can always help you determine if this type of license would better suit your needs.

Are there any other requirements to get a license?

You need to make sure you have all the proper State licenses (contractor, specialty license, retail license) prior to applying for a City of Aiken Business License. Of course, we can work with you to be applying for these at the same time.

Can other people operate under my license?
Only if they receive a W-2 from you or your company. Anybody you hire to work for you, such as a janitorial firm, pest control, landscaper, etc…would need to have their own City Business License. This would also apply to any company that operates within your location that receives a Form 1099 from you. This can really cause much confusion, but just remember that if the person or company in question is not on your actual payroll with all State and Federal taxes taken out, they probably need their own license. You would also want to make sure anyone you hire or work with is properly licensed and insured to help protect your resources. The City of Aiken Business License Department will be happy to verify any licenses for you or help you with any questions you may have.
How do I apply for a Business License?

You may obtain an application on our website, by mail, fax, or come by our offices at 135 Laurens St. SW, in downtown Aiken.

How much does a license cost?

The base fee on a license ranges from $25-$55 for businesses located inside the City of Aiken city limits. For businesses outside the city, the base fee ranges from $50-$110. There are a few other categories with higher rates, but the majority of the businesses fall into these ranges. It depends on the type of business you are operating.

May I operate two types of businesses under one license?

As long as both types of businesses are located at the same address and operate under the same tax identification number, you may operate the two types of businesses under one license. Please keep in mind that if the two business types are in different rate classes, then the higher rate will apply. You would need to determine if it is to your advantage to keep the business separate or combined. The License Department can assist you with this determination.

What if I refuse to purchase a license?

Unfortunately, there have been cases where an individual refused to purchase a license. In such cases, an Ordinance Summons is issued to appear in Municipal Court and the case is heard before the Municipal Judge. Failure to purchase a license can result in a fine of $500 and/or a 30 day imprisonment in jail. Each day of operation without a license is considered a separate offense.

When do I need a Business License?

If you are operating any type of business inside the city limits of Aiken or performing work or services inside the city limits, then a business license is required prior to operation.

Why do I need a Business License?

Pursuant to the License Ordinance the City of Aiken levies a license fee on all individuals or companies operating inside the city limits.

Will a license always be the base fee?

No. Licenses are renewed every July and are based on the gross receipts for the previous year. Your rate category determines the fee due. For example, a retail store in the city limits would use a rate of $25 for the first $2000 gross and $0.80 per $1000 thereafter. Businesses that close before the renewal period are still responsible for closing out their license account and paying a final fee based on any unreported gross revenue.

I’ve closed my business, is there anything you need from me?

Yes. A final fee form will need to be filled out in order to close out the license associated with your business. You may obtain this form on our website, by mail, fax, or come by our offices at 135 Laurens St. SW, in downtown Aiken.

Do you accept the MASC Standard Business License Application?

Yes. You can access this application by visiting http://www.masc.sc/SiteCollectionDocuments/Finance/standardized_BL-app.pdf