Business registration, licenses and permits

@dan We are in the process of organizing our business and trying to obtain all necessary licenses, permits and other requirements, however, information on the subject of laser businesses is very scarce. Could you share any information you may have with those of us who are planning on setting up a business around the Glowforge?
More specifically:

  • What special licenses are needed to operate a Class IV laser such as the Pro Model?
  • Is a LSO certification needed?
  • Can this type of business be run from a garage in a residence or is a commercial location needed? What are the requirements?
  • For creation of licensed products, such as Star Wars, Pokemon, etc. what are the requirements?
  • Any other tips you may want to share with us would be greatly appreciated.

Also, if anyone else in the forum has information on the subject, this would be a great place to share. I’ll be going to my City Office this weekend to gather information and will share with anyone if interested.



Where you are located will determine the answers to a lot of your questions.

As for creation of trademarked products, you’re playing with fire, in my opinion, if you decide to do so outside of your own personal use. Making a gift isn’t likely to get you in trouble, but trying to resell will get you burned eventually, without a proper licensing agreement.


I see you’re also in Texas. The Dept of State Health Services outlines state requirements that you inquired about, such as a LSO.$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=25&pt=1&ch=289&rl=301


This is what I was going to say. To make items with trademarked IP (intellectual property) you have to obtain the rights to do so beforehand from the entity that owns the IP.

As JB said, each jurisdiction will be different, though there is likely a good amount of overlap. Any info you get for your jurisdiction will be well received here I’m sure.

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As far as the licensed products go, does anyone have any experience in getting the licenses? I should have mentioned it wasn’t our intention to sell without the proper licenses, we just need information on the process and maybe expected costs depending on use and other factors.
And as for the State requirements, does anyone know how strictly enforced these are? There are a large number of companies on Etsy and other online marketplaces selling laser cut items. If anyone here has any information could you share if you registered your laser, if you got the LSO certification or what precautions you took before starting to sell?

I haven’t licensed products from others but enter into licenses for my images so somewhat familiar with the process.

You can start at (for example). You will need to tell them what you plan to make, where you plan to sell, how many, etc. License fees are negotiable generally as well. Fill out a quote request for an item you expect to make and just get a feel for what you’re looking at. It won’t cost anything but a little time.

As far as the Etsy market, local craft shows, etc. if they aren’t licensed it’s just a matter of getting caught. I know Disney has a reputation of shutting down big and small.

Texas…register with the Comptroller

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Obtaining licensing from Disney is ridiculously expensive. They only deal with high volume vendors…we are talking tens of thousands in sales.

Thats why they are big on coming down on people who violate their property. I had to sign a very strict contract when I do stencils for them…almost like I would have to give them my first born if I violated it…lol. I can not sell them to the public as part of the contract.

I have the policy concerning the lasers I own…if its not stated in writing then I dont tell them I have lasers…lol. I wont lie if they ask, but I searched thoroughly and Oklahoma does NOT have a policy covering them so its just like any other piece of equipment…like a laser printer or computer.

My insurance agent knows about them but that didnt affect my policy. I started my business on my home. No special insurance consideration then either. Good luck


DBA (business name) will be filed at your county clerk. Be prepared for a ton of unsolicited mail in your box after filing!!!

If you’re going to have employees, or structure the company where you’re considered an employee, you’ll need to file for an EIN (employee ID number), which is basically a social security number for your business.

For a resale license and sales tax purposes, you’ll file with the state comptroller, as mentioned above.

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Unfortunately our Friendly Neighborhood Lawyer would be less friendly if they found out that I was trying to give people legal advice on our forums. I’m afraid I can’t offer advice or guidance on those topics.


This depends entirely on your city/neighborhood/hoa/whatever. And it can vary widely from street to the next, so you need to find out exactly what’s required and prohibited for your specific location. Where we currently live, for example, I’m allowed to run any business from my home except I’m not allowed to have clients or customers to my house, have any visible signage (including on vehicles), no outdoor equipment, no increase in traffic/deliveries, no noises, etc. Basically, nothing at all that would give the neighbors any clue that I’m working out of my house, and definitely nothing that would negatively effect those living around me, even in small ways. You also need to talk to your insurance and see if they have feelings about it. If you have people coming in to your home for work reasons, for example, you might need to get separate business insurance because your home owner’s insurance might not want to be responsible for them.


I think this was posted at some point before, but here is a good list of state by state information on regulations:


IP holders like Disney, the BBC, etc… have a department for licensing. It won’t be on their website’s home page, but a search of it or a Google search will probably find you the link, which will lead you to a contact. Figuring out exactly who has the right to license something can be interesting.

The larger your business, from an employee count as well as revenue perspective, the more likely you are to draw attention. A small business can always play dumb (and generally you really are in the dark about that rule) and fix the problem after the fact.

I don’t know about Texas, but in a lot of states the county will have an extension office (or at least employee) for helping new businesses that will know the answer, research the answer or know who to ask for it. From what I’ve heard, where I live, they are very helpful.

Also, don’t forget about the SBA, especially local chapters. They have the answers to many questions, and generally have a good idea where to point you to look for the rest.