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Doing Business in different States

Doing Business in different States

Doing Business in different States

Hello to all.  My name is Mike and I'm a new member of the forums.  I run a design & structural engineering firm.  We have projects all over the US, but I don't know if we have to register with every state.  We will visit a company located in a different state and look at the sight that the structure is to be placed on.  We then go back to our home state do all the work, sign & seal the construction documents in the state the job is in.  Our in house Engineer is licensed in the state that we will be sign & sealing the documents in.  But my question to all is do we have to register to do business in that state?

RE: Doing Business in different States

Hello Mike,
It is probably not a great idea to get business-law advice from a bunch of geek engineers.  

I would say that the U.S. Constitution requires the various states to give "full faith and credance" to the laws of the other states so I have answered that question for my business as "if I maintain an office and address in a state I'll get appropriate business licences/permits, if I just go there for work I don't".

But my opinion on this and a buck will get you a cup of coffee in sleezier places.


RE: Doing Business in different States

We do work in almost all 50....

I am registered in about 40 of them and ALMOST every state requires you to be registered in their state if doing anything there.  In addition -a bunch of them now require that the corporation apply for and get a COA - Certificate of Authority to do work in the state - regardless if you have an ofice there.  Enforcement seems spotty.  I simply consider this a "TAX" and at least Tennesses is honest enough to call it just that - at $200 a year.

If your client takes the construction documents in for permits - they will generally get rejected.

One way to expidite the process --- get registered with www.ncees.org.  Once that is done - the "smarter" states will let you register - sometimes even over the net - and get your seal in a matter of a week or two.  Some states have not come out of the stone age... and everything must be typed, etc., etc,.

Good Luck

RE: Doing Business in different States

40?  Can you give me one?  Ill buy you a beer!  Wow.  Do you cover your whole office wall with your license?  :)

RE: Doing Business in different States

That would be illegal in ALL of them

Trying to mount them costs a small fortune -

Because about 1/2 the states use 8 1/2 x 11 while the rest think it is cool to do something stupid like making them hugh or tiny.....  And I have run out of wall space...

Three things I wish they all would do..

1.  Standardize the license size
2.  Standardize the application process
3.  Same licensing period
4.  Same continue ed requirments

OOps - more than three...

BUT - NOoooo - each board has to do it their own way...  

RE: Doing Business in different States

Applying for a Certificate of Authority or Authorization (COA) in another state can require your registration with that state as a foreign corporation.  Then, sometimes, you need to get and keep an agent who lives in that state.  Then, the income tax forms start coming each year, in addition to the fees for your P.E. license, company business license, and company COA.  Your company can be fined or banned for operating without a COA.

RE: Doing Business in different States

What I see architect's do is collaborate with a local architect of record for permitting purposes.

Don Phillips

RE: Doing Business in different States

Some states do offer a temporary license if you only plan on doing one job.  However you are violating laws if you perform engineering services in a state without being licensed.  It does not matter where you do your work, what matters is where the site is located.

As mentioned above, you can register with the NCEES for a nominal yearly fee.  They will keep a record of your work history, education, references, etc.  Then when you want to register in a new state, the state can request your records from NCEES and usually have your license issued within a few weeks.  You must update your work history every year with NCEES but if you see yourself applying for licensure in multiple states all of the time, the hassle and time savings may be worth it.  

RE: Doing Business in different States

We are licensed, meaning our Engineering is licensed to Sign & Seal construction documents in the State and our company insurance covers us in the State.  

The question is, does the Business name & corporate entity need to be registered in the State.  There is not a license issue just a registeration issue.

Here is our issue.  Our company is registered in PA, and our Engineer who is not a company owner is licensed in NC, AZ, MD, PA, & NY.  Can we proform jobs in all 5 states even though we are registered in PA.  Do have have to register the company in all 5 states?

RE: Doing Business in different States

You need to check with the licensing board and perhaps an attorney in each state.

In North Carolina the company also has to be licensed through the NC Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors.  Another application must be submitted to the Secretary of State.

See http://www.ncbels.org/laws.htm

NC General Statutes ยง 89C?24.  Licensure of corporations and business firms that engage in the practice of engineering or land surveying.

NC Administrative Code 21 NCAC 56 .0802

Business application forms are here (scroll down to bottom of page):


RE: Doing Business in different States


In NY, only professional corporations can offer or provide engineering services.  I believe all corporate owners have to be registered engineers in NY.  Check it out.

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