I’ve been chasing down the details to get a business license, so that I can legally sell my art.
The state of Missouri has been pretty laid back about the whole thing. Helpful call center folks who tell me to what I need to do, what is required, what is optional, and how much it’s gonna cost me. As an artist/crafter, I don’t need any special license, just a sales tax number. The tax division even said that for a one-time craft show, I don’t even need the sales tax number. Easy peasy if I want to get one. They even have an online registration form.
The city of Kansas City MO… well, that’s another story entirely.
Over that past three weeks, I’ve made over a dozen calls to various departments, trying to tease out the information… one… painful… piece… at… a… time.
The people I’ve talked with range from call center phone jockeys to “specialists” to “supervisors”. The phone jockies are, for the most part, pleasant and attempt to be helpful, but the information they’ve provided ranges from completely erroneous to incomplete to thank you so much — you’ve been very helpful. The higher level supervisors, well… let’s just say they have an attitude. And not a good one.
Here’s the process so far:
1. I need a zoning clearance simply to use my little upstairs room to create paintings for sale. (Got it. Online form, quick turnaround. I assume I have everything I need from this dept. At least that department thinks so.)
2. I need to fill out two different city business license application forms, one of which requires a MO sales tax number, the other of which is so cryptic I don’t know where to begin. (Okay. See above. I guess I need to get a sales tax number after all.)
3. I need to walk into City Hall with the zoning clearance documentation, the two forms, and a check to pay the license fee (So far, they indicate a personal check is fine. We’ll see.) And that means taking a half-day off work and paying exorbitant parking fees downtown. (I’ll probably take the bus. It may take longer, but it will cost less and be less stressful.)
Supposedly, this can be completed in “just a few minutes” depending on “how many people are in line” when I arrive. And that’s assuming they agree that I have indeed jumped through all the necessary hoops and signed the documents in blood by the light of a full moon.
I’m told that if I were to do this by mail, I’d send in form #1, wait six weeks, call them for an ID#, then send in form #2 with the payment, then wait six weeks for them to mail me a license.
Is it possible to have more bureaucracy and inefficiency?
And oh, yeah. At some point, the county is going to want a piece of me. But they don’t give that kind of information out over the phone.