Licensing Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I find out if my business will be allowed at a particular location?

Licensing and Zoning are tied together – Contact the Planner of the Day to check the zoning on a location prior to opening the business. Please call 406-771-1180 ext. 438 with any questions.

2. Do I need a City of Great Falls License?

Yes, you need a business license.  We have many different types of business licenses depending on the type of work you are doing and where you conduct your business.  If you are a commercial business you will need a Safety Inspection Certificate or a Non-Resident License which is for anyone/company coming into Great Falls and doing business on a temporary basis. 

If you wish to operate a business out of your home, you will need a Home Occupation Certificate. See below.

We also issue City of Great Falls Liquor Licenses.  Please call 406-455-8414 with any questions.

3. What are the Home Occupation Requirements?

The City of Great Falls allows home businesses if they meet the following criteria: 

  • The residence must be inside the City Limits;
  • The applicant must reside in the dwelling;
  • The business area must NOT exceed 30 percent of the dwelling;
  • No exterior storage of materials or equipment; and
  • The applicant needs to obtain adjacent property owners approval.

The following uses do NOT qualify as a home occupation: veterinary services, medical offices, animal boarding or grooming, barber, hair care, restaurant, vehicle repair, or any other similar high traffic generation activity. Please call 406-455-8414 with any questions.


4. What are Day Care Licensing requirements?

Please verify the zoning of the day care location by calling 406-771-1180 ext. 438. Family (3-6 children) and Group (7-12 children) Daycares are allowed in most zoning districts, but Daycare Centers must either obtain a conditional use permit in a residential location or be commercially zoned. The applicant needs to obtain a State of Montana Daycare License. Please call Family Connections at 406-761-6010 prior to applying for a City of Great Falls Business License (Safety Inspection Certificate). The Fire Department and Building Division will inspect each daycare prior to issuing the City license. Please call 406-455-8414 with any questions.


5. Do contractors need to be licensed in Great Falls?

Yes, we license General Contractors and Specialty Contractors – Electrical, Plumbing, Gas Fitting, Street Opening, Drain Laying, Sign Contractors, and House Moving etc. Additionally, all Individuals (electricians, plumbers, gas fitters and sign installers) are required to obtain a City of Great Falls License. Please call 406-455-8414 with any questions.


6. Are contractors required to be insured and bonded?

General Contractors do NOT have to show the City of Great Falls proof of insurance, but are advised they should be insured to cover themselves and property owners. Specialty Contractors have to show proof of Insurance, Bonding and Workers’ Compensation/Exemption prior to being licensed in Great Falls. Please call 406-455-8414 with any questions.


7. How do I know if a contractor is reputable?

Prior to hiring anyone to do work for you, ask for current copies of the contractor’s State of Montana registration, City of Great Falls License, and insurance certificates, and ask the contractor for references. Please call 406-455-8414 if you have any questions or concerns!