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License Requirements
July 29, 2021

City/County/State Licensing Requirements

In addition to the Business License, (See separate handout), there are licensing requirements and supplementary regulations, new businesses need to be aware of. The Greater Knoxville SCORE Chapter tried to determine what all the requirements are, but believe it would take a large book to contain all the details. This handout is a condensation/abbreviation of the requirements.

Home Occupations

Both the City of Knoxville and Knox County have requirements for home businesses. They are very similar. According to the Knox County Zoning Ordinance, Knox County Department of Code Administration shall approve all home occupations prior to initiation of such activity. 

Home businesses need to comply with the following:

  • No Person other than family members residing on the premises shall be engaged in such occupation.
  • Not more than 25% of the floor area of the dwelling shall be used in conductingthe home occupation.
  • There shall be no change in the outside appearance of the building.
  • No home occupation shall be conducted in any accessory building.
  • There shall be no sales other than sales of services or sales of products producedon the premises.
  • No traffic shall be generated in greater volumes than would be expected in aresidential neighborhood.
  • No equipment or process shall be used that increases noise, vibration, glare,fumes, odors or electrical interference detectable to the normal senses off the lot.
  • No equipment or process shall be used which creates visual or audible interference in any radio or television receivers off the premises or causes electrical fluctuations in the line voltage.

Permitted Home Occupations:

  • Artist, sculptor, author, craftsperson
  • Barber shop and beauty shop, limited to one barber’s or beautician’s station.
  • Dressmaker, milliner, seamstress, tailor, interior decorator
  • Office of a lawyer, engineer, architect, accountant, broker or manufacturer’srepresentative
  • Teaching, including tutoring, musical instruction or dancing, but limited to one pupil at any given time.
  • Computer programming and word processing
  • Telephone answering service
  • Cooking and preserving
  • Any other similar use.

The City of Knoxville prohibits tea rooms, tourist homes, real estate offices, convalescent homes, mortuary establishments, animal hospitals, repair shops and catering services.

NOTE: Child Care in a residential home has an additional list of requirements. There is a special SCORE handout on establishing a child day care facility. 

For complete details on Knox County requirements, see KnoxCounty.pdf

For the City of Knoxville requirements go to

Obtaining a City of Knoxville sub-contractor’s license

There are 3 ways to obtain a license as a Gas, Electrical, Mechanical, or Plumbing

  • Take and pass the Prometric exam
  • Reciprocate your current license based on the Prometric exam if you are licensedwith a city that has a reciprocal agreement with the City of Knoxville.
  • Reciprocate your current license based on a State of Tennessee license.

For details on these processes, visit the City of Knoxville’s web site:

Should you have any questions or wish to request a license application, please call the Board office at 865-215-4244, or the Inspection Bureau’s main number at 865-215- 2999. The State Contractor’s Licensing number is 800-544-7692 or 615-741-8307. The number for Prometric is 800-280-3926.

Contractor License Fees

All licenses expire December 31st of each calendar year regardless of when they were purchased during the year.

If you obtained your license through the state reciprocal process, a copy of your current state license must be submitted to the Inspections Bureau upon renewal of your city of Knoxville license.

Before you will be allowed to purchase permits to install systems or service equipment, you must obtain a City of Knoxville Contractor’s License and present a Contractor’s Surety Bond with an original Power of Attorney attached. Contact the City’s Board Office at 865-215-4244 for further information. 

The following licenses are available:

Electrical License – Master Electrician, Residential Electrician, Electrical Maintenance, Electrical Appliance Dealer’s Ltd. and Special Limited State License. The Master Electrician and the Special Limited State License have a fee of $300. All other have a fee of $150. The Bond required is $10,000 for all except the Electrical Maintenance which has no bond requirements and the Electrical Appliance Dealer’s
Ltd. which is $5000.

Gas License – Commercial, Residential and Special Limited State License. The fee is $150 and the bond requirement is $10,000 for all three type licenses. 

Mechanical License – Commercial, A/C Residential, Refrigeration, Sheet Metal and Special Limited State License. The fee is $150 and the bond requirement is $10,000 for all 5 type licenses.

Plumbing License – Master, Journeyman and Special Limited State License. The fee s $300 and the bonding requirement $10,000 except for the Journeyman license where the fee is $25 and there is no bond requirement. 

STATE of Tennessee Regulations

Certain types of professions are regulated at the state and federal level. The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance licenses and regulates certain non-medical professions in order to insure a standard level of skills and business practices for the safety of the general public. The following is a list of the professions which are egulated and the telephone number to call to obtain a copy of the license application for each of the regulated professions. This is NOT a comprehensive list. The Department of Health licenses the medical professions and facilities (615-532-3202); Commerce and Insurance licenses securities dealers, their agents (stockbrokers) and nvestment advisers (Contact: Broker-Dealer Section, Securities Division Department of Commerce and Insurance 615-741-2947) 

Board Phone Numbers            

Accounting 615-741-2550     
Alarm Contractors 615-741-9771     
Architects & Engineers 615-741-3221     
Auctioneers 615-741-3236     
Barber 615-741-2294     
Boxing, Racing 615-741-2384     
Burial and Cemetery 615-741-5062     
Collection Services 615-741-1741     
Contractors Board 615-741-8307     
Cosmetology Board 615-741-2515     
Employee Leasing Board 615-741-3449     
Funeral Board 615-741-2378     
Geology Registration 615-741-3661     
Home Improvement 615-741-5630     
Land Surveyors 615-741-3611     
Motor Vehicle Dealers 615-741-2711     
Private Investigators 615-741-4827     
Polygraph Board 615-741-0697     
Private Security Guards 615-741-6382     
Real Estate Commissions 615-741-2273     
Real Estate Appraisers 615-741-1381     

Health Related Boards Phone Numbers

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors 615-532-5097
Chiropractic Examiners 615-532-3202
Dentistry 615-532-3202
Dietitians/Nutritionists 615-532-5161
Dispensing Opticians 615-532-5161
Electrology 615-532-5161
Communication Disorders 615-532-5083
Massage Licensure 615-532-5083
Medical Laboratory 615-532-5128
Medical Examiners 615-532-3202
Nursing 615-532-3202
Nursing Home Administrators 615-532-5161
Occupational and Physical Therapy 615-532-3202
Optometry 615-532-3202
Osteopathic Examiners 615-532-3202
Podiatry 615-532-5088
Pharmacy Board 615-741-2718
Professional Counselors, Marital  & Family Therapists, and Clinical Pastoral Therapists 615-532-5133
Psychology 615-532-3202
Social Workers 615-532-3202
Veterinary Medical Examiners 615-532-5080
Physician Assistants 615-532-3202
Respiratory Care 615-532-3202
Athletic Trainers 615-532-4384
X-Ray Operators 615-532-4384
Hearing Instruments Specialists 615-532-5088


At the federal level, a number of agencies regulate interstate commercial activities, export licensing, labor and management issues and copyright issues. For export assistance contact: U. S. Department of Commerce, 601 W. Summit Hill Dr. Suite 300, Knoxville, TN 37902 Telephone: (865) 545-4637 E- mail:

Web site: Consult your local library or the Lawson McGhee Library Business Resource Center (865) 215-8722 to locate federal digests or resource books pertaining to your particular activity. 

Updated by Richard Jenkins, April 26, 2013
412 N Cedar Bluff Rd Ste 450,
Knoxville, TN 37923
(865) 692-0716

Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association,

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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