DocStoc, an online source of forms and professional documents, this past week launched a website to help identify U.S. federal, state and local licensing and business permit requirements for small businesses.
Called License 123, the new site aims to be a one-stop source to identify all licenses and permits required for a particular small business. The site is designed to help small business owners and startup entrepreneurs save time, money and legal headaches. Instead of searching all around the Web on various governmental websites wading through dense legalese, DocStoc’s vision is for the business owner to be able to go to one place, insert some simple data, and find all relevant license information (see screenshot).
When you visit License 123, you enter your state, city, industry and type of business. If your city is in the site’s database, you will get a list of all required licenses for your city, county and state. For $9.95 you can download the full report including application forms, instructions, licensing authority contact information, and information about filing fees. The site is not a filing service. You apply for licenses on your own. But the idea is that by doing the searching for you, and compiling all information in one place, License123 saves you time and you don’t have to navigate the maze of legalese in most governmental websites — and risk missing licenses, thereby incurring monetary fines or other legal action.
According to Mike Sheridan, Chief Operating Officer of DocStoc, “It’s true that a lot of jurisdictions have this information online. However, to find all the information you would need to operate a food truck in Los Angeles, for instance, you have to go to 6 different websites. Being out of compliance can cost $1,000 or more.”
License 123 today covers just 10 states, with the most complete information for California (in some states only one city is searchable today). Says Sheridan, “Our goal in the next two months is to include the top 500 cities in the United States. They will represent all mainland U.S. states (except for Hawaii).” After that their goal is to expand to the largest 1,000 cities.
As to why all cities and states are not included today, he noted that compiling it is a labor intensive effort and technology only takes you so far today. It typically requires 3 to 5 full days of work for his team to research and compile all the licensing information for a large city like New York or Chicago.
License 123 is a product offering of DocStoc, a 5-year old company with 45 employees and 31 million legal and professional documents online. The DocStoc site gets 21 million visits per month.