How to Start a Business in Oregon


Oregon is one of the most business-friendly states in the country, and it’s also one of the most popular places for entrepreneurs to start a business. In just a few steps, you can register your new company with the state and get on your way to making money.

Legal Structure of your Business

  • Sole proprietorship:

With a sole proprietorship, you are the business and the business is you. You’re liable for any debts and claims made against your business. Your personal assets, including your home and car, can be seized if you don’t pay your debts. If someone gets hurt on the job site of a sole proprietorship or if there’s property damage caused by the owner of a sole proprietorship, he or she may sue personally (i.e., “sue” himself or herself).

  • Partnership:

A partnership is an agreement between two people who agree to share some financial risks while also sharing control over running their business together as equals. This means they share duties such as management/decision making authority over hiring/firing decisions all while being equally responsible financially for anything that goes wrong within their company.

  • Corporation:

When looking at setting up an Oregon-based corporation for yourself, it’s important not only to consider how much startup capital will go into setting up a shop but also how much money will need at hand throughout its lifespan in order for things like taxes and other fees due annually.

  • S Corporation:

As with many other states across America today, Oregon does allow businesses operating within its borders with more than one shareholder.

Choose a Business Name

As you’re creating your business plan, it’s important to choose a name that is easy for customers and other stakeholders to remember. If someone can’t recall how to spell or pronounce your business’s name easily, they may have trouble finding your company on search engines and directories. You also want to make sure that the name isn’t one that has been trademarked by another company.

Register your Business

If you want to start a business in Oregon, you’ll need to register it with the state. This includes obtaining a general business license and specific permits and tax ID numbers. The good news is that the process of registering your business isn’t hard — it just takes a little bit of paperwork and patience.

First things first: what is a general business license? A general business license allows you (or “you” if you’re not currently incorporating) to operate under your own brand name while selling products or providing services within Oregon. When applying for this license, there are three required documents: an application form, proof of good character (like an affidavit), and proof of legal residence (like an official document).

Apply for licenses and permits.

In order to operate a business in Oregon, you may need to apply for licenses and permits. Business licenses and permits are administered by your city or county government. While some businesses are exempt from needing a license or permit, most businesses require one.

Some businesses require state-level licensing as well. For example, liquor stores and taxi companies must be licensed by the state of Oregon before they can begin operations.


Keep these things in mind when starting your business:

  • Register your business.
  • Consider the legal structure of your company—both federal and state law can have an impact on this decision.
  • Choose a name for your company that’s legally available and doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s trademarks or copyrights.
  • Get local licenses and permits from the city, county, and state governments.


Starting a business in Oregon can be exciting and terrifying all at once. The more you know about what’s required of you, the better prepared you’ll be to meet those requirements. Use this guide as a starting point for your research—there are many other resources available online that can help answer specific questions about starting a business in Oregon.

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