Apply For A Business License Cambridge, Massachusetts

Do you want to open a business in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts?

The first item that is critical to verify is if you will be able to obtain any type of financial assistance to aid in beginning your business venture in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Cambridge Economic Development Department offers not only information regarding what kind of loans and grants may be available, they also offer guidance for your specific business. They can be reached at (617) 349-4600.

What are the available Cambridge business licenses and permits?

Currently, the Cambridge business licenses and permits are:

  • Special Farmer Winery License
  • New Alcohol License
  • Alcohol License Renewal
  • Alcohol License Transfer
  • Antique License
  • Common Victualer License
  • Entertainment License
  • Garage Sale Permit
  • Flammable License
  • Innholder License
  • Livery License
  • Jitney License
  • Secondhand License
  • Charity Wine License
  • Stockholder License
  • Auctioneer’s License
  • Vendor or Peddler License
  • Carnival or Festival License
  • Taxicab License

Where will you get an application for your Cambridge business license?

You may receive any of the aforementioned list of business licenses directly at the City of Cambridge’s website at The form cannot be remitted online. You may fax the completed form to (617) 349-4242 or mail it or submit it in person to:

City of Cambridge
831 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139

What about Cambridge zoning?

Every single business owner must, without question, have their property verified by the Cambridge Community Development Department to ensure that the location satisfactorily meets all safety criteria set forth by the Cambridge City Ordinances. Please contact the Community Development Department at (617) 349-4600.

City of Cambridge
Community Development
344 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139

Do you plan to operate a Cambridge business from home?

Fortunately, it is no more complicated to obtain permission to operate your business from home than it is to operate your business in a commercial atmosphere. If your business type or activity is not listed in the current business licenses then chances are, you will not have to receive a business license. However, all business owners, regardless of the prerequisite to obtain a business license, are mandated to have their prospective business location verified with the City of Cambridge. Please contact the Community Development Department at (617) 349-4600.

Will you need additional Cambridge permits?

It is unlikely, but it is still recommended that you contact the City of Cambridge to verify if any of their business requirements have an addendums as they may change their requirements at their discretion.

How long can you expect to wait for your Cambridge business license?

If you have done all the proper work, secured permits and approvals, and have gone through the proper avenues, your business license could be issued as soon as in 5 business days. However, if any paperwork is incomplete or if there are other issues that need to be resolved, you could have to wait until they are solved.

What is the cost for a Cambridge business license?

For most Cambridge business licenses, there is an annual fee. In general, the fees range from $25 to $250. If you would like an estimate so that you may know what fees and costs to expect, you may call the City of Cambridge at (617) 349-6140. Fees may be updated at any time. That is why it is crucial to speak directly with a representative from the City of Cambridge for specific details.

Who should you contact for more information?

For additional information, questions, or concerns, you can visit the City of Cambridge Business License Department at:

City of Cambridge
831 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-3068

They can be reached via telephone at (617) 349-6140. For useful information, go to the City of Cambridge’s website at If you wish to correspond with the City of Cambridge through email, write to Please also take note of the hours of operation as they differ:

Monday: 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday through Thursday:  8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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