Business Licenses

The City of Dubuque does not currently require a license for most standard businesses, however, business licenses are required for the following:

Secondhand Dealer

Person who purchases or receives used goods or materials for the purpose of resale. Licenses expire on January 31 of each year and have an annual fee of $75.

Pawn Broker

Person who makes loans or advancements upon pawn, pledge, or deposit of personal property or who receives personal property as security for a loan. Licenses expire on January 31 of each year and have an annual fee of $75.

Junk/Salvage Sales

Buying or receiving old or scrap metals, motorized vehicles, or parts thereof, or tires for resale in whole or in part as junk or as used parts. Licenses expire on January 31 of each year and have an annual fee of $75.

Adult Entertainment Establishment

A commercial establishment which, as one of its principal business activities, offers for sale or rental for any form of consideration any one or more of the following: books, magazines, periodicals or other printed matter, or photographs, films, motion pictures, videocassettes, compact discs, digital video discs, slides, or other visual representations.

Solicitor's License (Peddler, Transient Merchant, Door-to-Door Sales)

Offering or exposing goods, wares, merchandise, products or services for sale or taking orders for future delivery. Minimum of 60 days with a fee of $100 and a maximum of 180 days with a fee of $300.

Taxicab Business

Any business that operates a motor vehicle in the transportation of persons and who receives compensation for this service. Licenses expire on March 31 of each year and have an annual fee of $15 per license and $30 per vehicle.

Taxicab Driver Permit

Any person who is employed by a Taxicab Business and operates a motor vehicle in the transportation of persons. Permits expire December 31st of each year and have an annual fee of $10.

Non-Motorized Permits

In-Home Businesses

An in-home business does not require a business license, but it must follow zoning regulations. For questions and more information on zoning requirements for in-home businesses, contact the City of Dubuque Planning Services Department.

Thinking of starting a new business in Dubuque?  We are here to help!

Fill out this form to send some basic information to the City.

Many City departments are involved when a new business opens in Dubuque. 

More Resources for Starting a Business 

Please visit https://tax.iowa.gov/starting-business for guidelines on starting a business.
Small Business Development Center of Northeast Iowa
Schmid Innovation Center
900 Jackson St., Suite 110
Dubuque, IA 52001
563.588.3350

ECIA (East Central Intergovernmental Association)
7600 Commerce Park
Dubuque, IA 52002
563.556.4166

City of Dubuque Economic Development Department
City Hall Annex
1300 Main St.
Dubuque, IA 52001
563.589.4393
Iowa Department of Revenue:
515.281.3114
800.367.3388

Iowa Secretary of State:
800.281.5204