Business Licenses and Permits

When it comes to running a food, merchandise, entertainment, or specific service industry business within the City of Des Moines, there are certain licenses and permits that are required. These are processed and issued through the City Clerk’s Office.

Food and Merchandise
Permits and licenses needed to run a food or merchandise type of business include:

  • Peddler Permit
  • Premise Permit
    • Ability for a property owner or lessee to host a Transient Merchant or Mobile Food Vendor
    • Needs to be submitted at least three days prior to merchant or vendor arrival
    • Premise Permit Application

Entertainment and Service-Specific
Permits needed to run a specific service or entertainment business include:

  • Coin Operated Machine Permit
  • Theater Permit
  • Haunted House Permit
  • Pawn Shop Permit
  • Snow Hauler Permit
  • Salvage Dealer Permit
  • Solid Waste Hauler Permit

Other Business Permits
Other important permits include:

  • Paint Address on Curb Permit

Liquor License
If you’re looking to obtain a liquor license.

Make sure to be prepared for the process, which can take up to 30 days to complete:

  1. Forward all forms and paperwork in a timely manner including:
  2. A criminal and financial background investigation
  3. Several aspects of good moral character are required to determine the eligibility for obtaining and renewing a liquor license
  4. Inspection and approval of the premise where liquor will be served and/or sold
    • Call our office to schedule an appointment with an inspector
  5. Application is presented to the Des Moines City Council who determines the eligibility of the applicant
    • If you are not approved, you will receive a written notice
    • You may have to call the City Clerk’s Office to confirm the approval of your application after 30 days

Additional details on the application process:

For more information or questions you can contact:

Des Moines Police Department
Vice Coordinator
City Clerk's Office
400 Robert D. Ray Drive
Des Moines, IA 50309
515-283-4209 option 4