Member Business Licenses

The town in which we are located wants ALL of my members to have a town business license. I understand the ones who have a private office or actually “do business” in the space. But they want my teacher who writes curriculum for the state’s online school and is a state employee and my social worker who works for a large insurance company and listens to other social workers make phone calls to parents and only comes in once or twice a month to have business licenses and go through zoning.

The licensing woman says because it’s membership-based, people have access to members-only workshops and can receive mail, it’s not like going to work at Starbucks even though we have day passes and are a registered commercial mail receiving agent. (Does everyone using the UPS Store have to have a license?)

She wants me to be responsible for making sure everyone has one before they do anything in the space and is pushing for a list of my members.

We have gotten some advice from the Chamber of Commerce and someone they recommended we speak to. We have also asked to have a meeting at the space with this woman and her boss. I will also be inviting the executive director of the Chamber.

Has anyone else had this problem and what did you do to combat it?

Thank you,


I am sorry you are dealing with that. I would consult an attorney. You are offering a membership and are not responsible for how they operate their own businesses. Whoever is going after the members can go after their businesses not you.
I have had experience with regulatory organizations coming in to check on a business—that wasn’t doing business according to the way it should but it did not affect our space.


Yikes! This falls in the category of people being confused about what coworking is and what it isn’t. Have you heard the term “transderivational search”? This is where if you only know large farm animals and you see a dog for the first time you miscategorize it as a small cow. Harmless misunderstanding until someone tries to milk your dog.

I suspect all you need to do is respond rationally and try to get more people involved, which you are doing. The suggestion of a lawyer is a good one. I doubt the law is so black and white and this will quickly become apparent with a little more extensive review. It’s easy for her to assert that this is your problem but that’s just her trying to take a shortcut. Is she threatening any specific action against you?


Jacob Sayles

Creative Technologist

Kanawha Design Studio

cell: (604) 240-2780

Over reach of the state. It not like there are liquor licenses, or real estate, insurance or accountants. Crazy consult a lawyer as this is very disturbing what ordinance are they trying to satisfy. You should ask them in commercial office building do they require license from every tenant leasing. Ask to speak to a supervisor. Good luck.


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