Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Business Licenses & Forms

General Information About License Applications

Be advised that several of these licenses require fingerprint background checks. For these licenses, you must deliver your application to our office NO LATER THAN 2:30PM.

For all other applications, you may use the online application where available or submit your application via mail with a check payable to “The City of Indianapolis” for all applicable fees. Fees for applications delivered to the BNS office may be paid with Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

Inspections, if required, will be initiated upon receipt of your application and fees. Upon completion and approval of inspections required as set forth in the ordinance, a letter of denial or a valid operating license will be mailed to you.

Any questions regarding the instructions or application, please contact the Licensing Division at: (317) 327-4316.

Types of Business Licenses

Adult Entertainment

The Adult Entertainment license is required for a number of different type of establishments defined in the ordinance below. Any establishment that has received a license from the Alcoholic Beverage Commission to serve alcohol on the premises is exempted from the license requirement.

Alarm Company

For further information regarding the Alarm Company License please contact IMPD AT (317) 327-3430.

Amusement Location

Any location with five (5) or more coin operated machines, such as pool tables or arcade-style video games, is defined as an amusement location. A license from the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services is required to legally operate such a location.

Carriage Company and Coach Operator

All horse-drawn carriages are required to be licensed. Operators are required to register with the City.

Commercial Parking Facility

Lots and garages that charge a fee for motor vehicle parking are required to obtain a license from the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services.

Dance Hall License and Permit

A license may be required for a location where people are charged admission to enter and engage in dancing.

Escort License and Escort Company

Fire Prevention Business and Serviceperson

A license must be obtained to legally service fire prevention equipment.


Any business that provides lodging, either regularly or occasionally, for profit must obtain a license.

Kennel/Groomer/Pet Store/Stable

Numerous business which maintain facilities to keep or sell animals and pets may require a license from the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services. Please review the ordinance to see if a certain type of business requires this license.

Massage Business Locations

Businesses that perform massages may require a license.

Nude Model Studio and Nude Model

Any Indianapolis business which provides nude modeling services must be licensed. Additionally, each nude model must obtain a license.

Pawn Broker

Pawn shops are required to obtain license from the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services.

Pedal Cab Company and Operator

Pedal cabs are tricycles that transport passengers primarily in the downtown area. The pedal cab company must obtain a license and operators must obtain ID cards from the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services.

Public Payphone

All Public Pay Phones are required to be licensed and each location must be approved by the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services.

Refuse Hauler

All vehicles that transport other people’s refuse and scrap materials require the Refuse Hauler License.


Locations and buy and/or sell junk or scrap metal are required to be licensed by the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services.


Ticket Broker

Anyone selling tickets on the day of an event for more than 15% over face value within one (1) mile of the event venue is required to obtain a Ticket Broker License from the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services.

Tobacco Specialty Bars

The Department of Business and Neighborhood Services is responsible for issuing licenses for Tobacco Specialty Bars. A Tobacco Specialty Bar is defined as a business that, as of January 1, 2012:

  1. Is licensed to sell alcoholic beverages pursuant to a permit issued by the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission for on-premise consumption and in which the service of food is only incidental to the consumption of such beverages and the sale of cigars or Hookah tobacco;
  2. Is engaged in the business of selling cigars or Hookah tobaccos and where at least twenty percent (20%) or more of its total annual gross income over the preceding calendar year was derived from the on-site sale of cigars or Hookah tobaccos;
  3. That is not physically located within a business otherwise required to be smoke free and
  4. That does not sell cigarettes or allow smoking of cigarettes on the premises.


In July, the City-County Council approved a proposal requiring non-consensual towing companies to obtain a license from the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services. Click on the link to find out more details about this provision.

Transient Merchant

Businesses that are mobile and use private property which belongs to another individual or business may be required to obtain a transient merchant license. Please review the ordinance to find out of a particular business requires a transient merchant license.

Vendor Cart and Mobile Food Information

Don't see the license you need listed? Click here to visit the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency website or you may call them at (317)-232-2980.

For information on your parcel number please visit the Marion County Assessor’s website.