State by State Guide
Forbes Magazine’s Best States for Business list puts North Dakota as the #2 state for business. North Dakota has the most “robust economy” in the country over the past five years with a strong economic outlook.
Here are steps and resources to help you start a business in North Dakota:
Start a Business in North Dakota
- Check out the official portal for North Dakota state government in their New Business Startup section.
- Read the Checklist for Starting a Business in North Dakota (PDF) prepared by the North Dakota Small Business Development Center
- Go to the North Dakota New Business Registration website, which is run by North Dakota Department of Business Assistance, and use their Online Business Registration system. The Business One Stop business will assist you in registering your business with several North Dakota state and local agencies at the same time.
- To register a sole proprietorship, simply register your trade name and obtain a business license in your locality. Go to the Circuit Court’s Clerk Office in your county or city.
Business Licenses and Permits
- Check if your business requires a license to operate. Look at the North Dakota government website’s Alphabetical List of Business Licenses
- For contractor licensing, read the requirements on how to become a licensed contractor, statutes pertaining to contractors, contractor forms and fees at the Contractor Licensing page of the Secretary of State website
- Businesses in North Dakota — whether corporations, partnerships, and even sole proprietorships — need to register the business name with the Secretary of State. To check for the availability of your business name, use the Secretary of State’s Business Record Search.
- Partnerships must file a Partnership Business Name Certificate with the Secretary of State. Sole proprietorships, corporations and LLCs must file the Trade Name Certificate with the Secretary of State.
- The registrant will be responsible for checking the federal trademark registry to determine infringement of a business name, not the Secretary of State’s office.
- Check with the IRS if you need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). You will need an EIN if you have employees, if you will register your business as a corporation or partnership, you have a Keogh plan, and you will withhold taxes on income to a non-resident alien, among other requirements.
- For information on business taxes in North Dakota, contact the Tax Commissioner’s Office www.nd.gov/tax. You can check out the sales tax requirements in North Dakota
- Read the rules on Sales and Use Tax. You can search for sales and use tax rate using their online locator resource
Other Things You Need to Know About Starting a Business in North Dakota
- Familiarize yourself with the labor laws in North Dakota
- If you want to do business with the government in North Dakota, you need to register with the State Procurement Office
Where to Get Help
There are a number of ways to get more information and help in starting a business in North Dakota.
- Call North Dakota’s Business Information Hotline at 866-248-8814 (1-866-4DAKOTA)
- For a compilation of reports, permits, notices and forms required by the State of North Dakota, check out this page from North Dakota State University
Mentorship, Counselling and Assistance
If you are looking for advice, mentorship and guidance, there are a number of organizations that can help you in starting your business in North Dakota:
- Contact the SBA North Dakota’s District Office
- Go to the North Dakota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for counseling, training and participation in their programs.