Starting A Business

Thank you for considering the City of Bartlesville as home for your business. We recognize that starting a business is not an easy task, and we understand that the process and paperwork required by the various layers of government can be frustrating and mentally draining.

We strive to make it as easy as possible for you. This website is intended as a summary of information that you will need to know in order to operate a business in Bartlesville. It is not warranted to be all-inclusive. Any errors or omissions herein will not relieve the business owner of his/her responsibility, obligation or liability in fulfilling all legal requirements. All of your answers may not be found here; therefore, if you have questions that are not answered on this website, please contact the City of Bartlesville Business Licensing Office at 918.338.4244.

Key Steps

There are several key steps to launching a business. You will first need to set up your business with the State of Oklahoma before you can get a business license with the City of Bartlesville.

State of Oklahoma

  • If you wish to register your business as an LLC, partnership or corporation, file the appropriate paperwork with the State Secretary of State. For more information, go to this website or call 405.521.3912.
  • If you have one or more employees or are an LLC, partnership or corporation, you must obtain a Federal Employment Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. To obtain a Federal EIN, go to this website or call the IRS at 800.829.4933.
  • File an “Oklahoma Business Registration Application” with the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC). You can download a Business Registration Packet from the OTC website or call the OTC at 800.522.8165.
  • Employers must also register for Unemployment Insurance Taxes with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC). You can download an Employer’s Guide to Unemployment Insurance at the OESC website or contact the OESC at 405.0557.7100 for more information.
City of Bartlesville

You can now start setting up your business at the City levels. The following steps assume you will lease a space and not make any structural changes to the building.

  • First, find a suitable location for your business. For an interactive map of streets and other features of Bartlesville go to GIS City Maps.
  • Submit an “Application for Occupancy and Zoning Clearance” with the City’s Building Services Division.
  • Building Services will then inspect the building to ensure it meets health and safety standards and will determine if your business complies with zoning codes. Once all requirements are met, you will be issued a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).
  • After you receive a CO, submit a “New/Change of Ownership Business License Application” with Building Services. You will then receive a Business License allowing you to operate a business in the City.
  • Before you buy or install a sign for your business, be sure to get a sign permit from Building Services.
  • If you plan to do any construction, you will need additional permits. For information, contact Trey Yankovich, Chief Building Official, at 918.338.4240.
  • You can find all City applications you need on this website.

Additionally, the State of Oklahoma Department of Commerce provides a helpful business start-up guide that identifies the steps you will need to follow to help you move in the right direction. This start-up guide can be found at this website.

Informational websites and tools are also included in this List of Startup Resources. Looking for minority small business grants? Check out this website for funding opportunities.

Local Resources

There are several valuable local resources which can help you through this process.

Business Licensing, Registration, Taxes, Insurance

City of Bartlesville
  • Business License
    • Generally, any person or company that provides services or sells tangible products in the City of Bartlesville is required to have a business license. The City Code requires you to obtain the license prior to opening for business.
    • Both home-based and commercial-based businesses are required to obtain a business license. Additionally, if your base of operations is outside city limits, but you conduct business inside the city limits of Bartlesville, you will likely be required to obtain a business license.
    • There are almost 200 different categories of business licenses. The license category is assigned based upon the type of product or service you offer. While there are many similarities between license categories, the license fee and supplemental requirements are dependent upon both the business activity and location.
    • The City of Bartlesville has additional regulations for the following businesses or industries that will be covered with you during the business licensing process:
      • Manufacture, sale or distribution of low-point beer
      • Sale or service of high-point beer, wine or mixed drinks
      • Operation of an ambulance service
      • Operation of a private bus or chauffeur service
      • Operation of a family amusement center with two or more pool or billiard tables
      • Temporary businesses, including soliciting, peddling and hawking
      • Junk and secondhand dealers
      • Pawnbrokers
      • Photographers
      • Pool and billiard halls and bowling alleys
      • Septic tank cleaning and hauling services
      • Taxicabs
      • Itinerant and transient merchants, including door-to-door sales
      • Tree trimmers, surgeons and sprayers over 12-feet in height
      • Community residential living facility for developmentally or physically disabled persons
      • Coin-operated amusements ad product vending machines
      • Plumbing, mechanical and electrical contractors
      • Sign contractors
      • Sidewalk and driveway contractors
      • Outdoor vending, including vending on streets, sidewalks, city parks, or other public property
      • Sexually oriented businesses
      • Pet shops
      • Restaurants
      • Sales of tobacco products
  • Zoning Approval
    • If you operate your business from a commercial location inside the city limits of Bartlesville, you will need to obtain zoning approval. Zoning approval is necessary to ensure that the use is appropriate for the zoning given to the location.
    • If you operate your business from your home that is located within the city limits of Bartlesville, you will need to obtain a Home Occupation License in addition to the Business License. The City of Bartlesville Zoning Code allows some types of businesses to operate from a residential address, provided the business is conducted lawfully and does not produce a condition which causes a nuisance.
    • If you operate your business in the Downtown Central Business District, you will need to obtain approval of any improvements made to the exterior of your building, including any signage.
  • Building Permit
    • If your business location is currently, or will soon be, under construction, or you are planning to remodel, change the structural part of a building, or the plumbing,mechanical, or electrical systems, a building permit may be required.

Additional licensing or registration requirements by industry

State of Oklahoma

Depending on the type of business you operate, there may be industry specific regulations. The following information will provide examples of some license requirements and the related contact information.

Building and general construction contractors


Restaurants & bars (food and drink service)


Consumer credit services

Transporting, including trucking and passenger carriers

Alarm and locksmith services

  • Includes burglar alarm, fire alarm, fire sprinkler, locksmithing, access control, home security systems, closed circuit television and nurse call
  • Sales, installation and/ monitoring requires a license from the Oklahoma Department of Labor
Other Common Licenses