Licensing Frequently Asked Questions

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

Please call 406-455-8430 to check the zoning on the location at which you wish to start a business. Ask to be connected with the Planner of the Day. While we can usually tell you which uses are permitted at a given location with a phone call, there are cases where a zoning determination will be necessary. The Planner of the Day will explain the zoning determination process if necessary.

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

Yes, you need a business license. The City issues different types of business licenses depending on the type of work you are doing and where you conduct your business. If your business is located within the City limits you must obtain a Safety Inspection Certificate. The only exception to this requirement is for home occupations. The rules for those are explained below. If your business is located outside the City of Great Falls, you must obtain a Non-Resident business license. There are no exceptions to this requirement. The Department of Planning and Community Development also issues City of Great Falls Liquor Licenses.  Please call 406-455-8414 with questions about business and liquor licenses.

3. What are the Home Occupation Requirements? You must obtain a Home Occupation permit to operate a business in your home. Home occupations must meet certain standards that help protect the neighbors and neighborhood. You will be asked to acknowledge and agree to comply with each of those standards. The home occupation standards are listed on the Home Occupation Application form, which is available here. Please call 406-455-8414 with any questions about home occupations..

4. What are Day Care Licensing requirements?

Please verify the zoning of the day care location by calling 406-455-8438. 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. We also suggest that you ask the contractor for references. Please call 406-455-8414 if you have any questions or concerns!