Most likely not! Note that you can be a sole proprietorship and sell items like candles over the internet as you like, and while other regulated items may require a license, candles made out of wax from your home won’t.
However, to legitimately open a candle business, you need business documentation; the exact permits and licenses you need will surely vary depending on where you live, therefore it is important to contact your local small business development center or Small Business Administration office for clarification.
Have it in mind that the primary item being sold in a candle business is candles, but you still have to decide what sort of candles to sell. For example, you can choose to sell soy, votive, tea light, hurricane, wickless, gel, pillar, jar, novelty, or scented candles.
You also have to decide if you will make your candles or source them wholesale. And while buying candles wholesale is easier, creating your line of candles will distinguish your business from other candle businesses. You should also consider selling candle accessories, such as plates, warmers, wick trimmers, and holders to add extra revenue to your business.
Do not forget that candles can be sold in a vast range of places, and the location or means you choose will more or less depend on how much capital you have. Note that the cheapest candle-selling venues include flea markets, e-commerce stores, online auction websites, online artisan marketplaces, and craft shows.
Mall kiosks, stores and booths, and brick and mortar stores are some of the most costly places to sell candles. In the United States, some of the businesses in the industry started with a smaller venue, patiently waiting until their candle company are well established before branching out into a traditional store.
Nevertheless, it is a good idea to sell your candles through different venues to ensure that you are generating a steady income.
Also, note that the kind of candles that sell well are determined by industry trends. For instance, pumpkin, pomegranate, cranberry, peppermint, and balsam scents are known to do well in fall and winter, meanwhile, bright floral, fresh fruit and citrus scents are very well-liked in spring and summer months.
You should also consider joining a candle business association or subscribing to a candle industry publication to enable you to stay familiar with prospective scent and color trends.
Although it may seem very common, have it in mind that not everyone understands how to properly use or store a candle. Therefore, to protect your customers and your business from lawsuits arising from mishaps, you are expected to ensure that each candle you sell features the required warning label on it.
If you choose not to stick labels onto the candles themselves, then ensure to give each customer written instructions on candle care and use.
Licenses and Permits Needed to Start a Candle Business
The process of starting a business that makes and sells candles begins with obtaining the required licenses. To legitimately sell candles in the United States, you are expected to obtain certain legal licenses and register your business with certain entities. They include;
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General Business License
Regardless of the type of business you intend to start, most cities and counties in the United States will mandate you to obtain some form of general business license. If you intend to sell your candles from your home, then the general business license you require will include the resellers or tax certificate.
This general business license allows an entrepreneur to legally undertake commercial activities within the boundaries of an existing town, city, or county. Consult a tax collector for more information about business licenses and tax certificates.
Zoning Permit Or Waiver
In the United States, zoning laws note the types of establishments that can exist in your area. Most often, areas zoned residential don’t give room for businesses.
However, if your business doesn’t need a sign, steady traffic, or involve dangerous items, you can likely get a waiver. Nonetheless, you must contact your city or county’s zoning department to find out what you need. Do not try to skip this step.
Check your HOA, deed, or Lease Restrictions
Coupled with your local zoning laws, note that your neighbors may be worried that your home-based candle business may instigate added traffic and noise, parking problems, unwanted signage, and distracting lighting that will affect their ability to enjoy their homes.
In some neighborhoods, the co-operative, or homeowners’ association may have put additional deed covenants in place to restrict or prohibit home-based businesses.
Owing to that, if you are renting property, your lease may include restrictions on home-based businesses to protect the interests of other tenants. Even when these limitations are not in place, ensure to carefully research and find out if you need to apply for permission to run your home-based business from your neighbourhood association or rental agency.
Sales Tax Permit
Making and selling candles is considered selling tangible goods (items you can hold in your hand). Therefore, if your state collects sales tax, then you will also have to obtain a sales tax permit through your state’s tax comptroller or tax office. You can apply and submit the sales tax you collect from customers online.
Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
In the United States, an EIN is simply a social security number for a business. It is free and can be gotten online. Sole proprietorships may not need one, but it’s advisable so you don’t have to use your social security number for business purposes. LLCs and other business structures, especially if you have employees, require an EIN.
Permits For Your Commercial Sign
In this sort of business, a well-placed commercial sign may help direct your customers or market your candle business to the public. Nevertheless, before investing any money on a sign, know what permits and rules apply to commercial signs in your location.
In most places, you will be expected to apply for a permit before posting a commercial sign. This permit may also spell out further limitations, such as the sign’s size, placement, wording, materials, and lighting on your property. Remember to get in touch with your local zoning board or commission for rules and restrictions on signage.
Doing Business As
A Doing Business As (DBA) License gives you the opportunity to operate your online business under a name other than your own. If your business name does not contain your name, then a fictitious business name permit is necessary to notify the state that you are doing business under a name other than your own.
You will be expected to make sure that your business name is not already in use in your state before registering. Note that this statement is also published in the local newspaper letting the community know who owns the business.
VAT For International Sales
If you intend to sell goods to consumers outside the US, you will have to pay value-added tax or VAT. If you don’t want the stress, then consider using a payment provider that collects and pays it for you, such as Amazon or ClickBank.
There may even be more licenses and permits, like Environmental Permits and Health Permits, needed to start and successfully run your candle business in the United States. Owing to that, it is recommended that you first check with your state and local jurisdictions to make sure you have every license and permit required to operate your candle business before you open for business.