Industry sector: Retail and wholesale

Wholesale based: Licences


Licensing requirements will depend very much on what type of business you have in mind. For example, if your business will deal in food you will need to register as a food business with your local environmental health department.

If you run delivery vehicles over 3.5 tonnes you will need an operator's licence.

If you turn over £2 million or more each year and you handle 50 tonnes or more of qualifying packaging materials then you must register as a packaging waste producer with the Environment Agency or the equivalent regional regulator.

If you plan to play background music in your premises you will need a Music Licence from PPL PRS Ltd. There is an annual fee for this which you can pay online on the PPL PRS website.

These are some of the more common licences and registrations that can apply to wholesaling businesses, but there may be specific ones that apply to your particular sector. Make sure that you research this fully before commencing trading.

Some of the types of wholesale business which are likely to be affected by particular licensing or registration requirements include:

  • medicinal products and controlled drugs
  • alcoholic drinks, where all wholesalers must be registered with HMRC under the Alcohol Wholesalers Registration Scheme
  • fireworks and explosives
  • firearms and ammunition
  • pesticides

Trade associations representing your particular type of business may be able to give some guidance. You can find a directory of trade associations on the Trade Association Forum website.