Dear Dave,

I'm starting a side business of putting up Christmas lights for people. Will I need to get a business license?


Dear Jason,

You might be getting a late start with a business of this type, but if you manage your time and work hard you can still brighten people's lives and make a little extra cash.

Most towns don't require a formal business license for this kind of thing, but you might want to check with your local municipality to be sure. It's just quick seasonal work where you show up for a couple of hours and hang lights for someone, right? But if you started hiring people or doing something year round, you'd probably need a formal business license.

Regardless, make sure you have a separate checking account so you can keep track of the income and expenses associated with your work. Merry Christmas, Jason!


Dave Ramsey is America's trusted voice on money and business. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover,EntreLeadership and Smart Money Smart Kids. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at