Get approvals before registering.

First, clarify which approvals you need. Get all the necessary permits or licences before you take care of the registrations.


In principle, anyone is permitted to operate a trade.

  • Permit-free trades: In many cases, a trade can be operated without any special permits. The trade office merely confirms registration.
  • Trades requiring special monitoring: these include, for example, credit agencies, detective agencies, marriage and dating agencies, scrap metal and used goods dealers or travel agencies. When registering, proof of reliability must be submitted to the trade office, especially a police clearance certificate.
  • Trades requiring a permit: Special certificates are required for certain trades. Examples: Proof of economic standing (especially information from the record of debtors), proof of training, studies or instruction or further training (e.g. from the IHK).

The following commercial activities are examples of trades requiring a permit:

Skilled Trades

You may only find and run a skilled trade in the so-called “risky” trades if you have completed your masters examination or hire a master. These trades are listed in Annex A of the Crafts Code.

Anyone starting a company in such a trade is entered in the Register of Crafts for their district. There are also “permit-free skilled trades” and “craft-like” trades that can be found in Annex B1 or B2 of the Crafts Code. Find out exactly whether your activity requires a permit, is permit-free, trade-like or is possibly not even a craft, buta trade from the industry, commerce and services sector


A high level of technical expertise and relevant training are required for most freelance occupations. Proof of this must be provided for “regulated freelance professions”. At

  • the professional chamber: for freelancers who are members of a chamber;
  • public institutions: e.g. the public health authority for non-doctor health professionals, such as alternative practitioners;
  • IHK: e.g. for appointed and sworn experts.

Certain freelancers (e.g. journalists or artists) may carry out their profession without a permit.