Are Business Listings the Same As Local Citations? Recently, I was asked by a reader about the difference between business listings and local citations. She’d recently lost her job and was confused about how the process worked. The confusion turned out to be a common problem among hiring managers and job seekers. They often think that local citations are the same thing, but they’re not. In fact, they’re not!
While both local citations and business listings are legal requirements when you hire someone, they serve different purposes. A local citation is a document that your local government issues while approving a business’s license to operate. The local citations specify which business or businesses have not met required qualifications. They are sent out in hopes of discouraging unprofessional businesses from opening up shop in your community.
But business listings are something completely different. You won’t receive a copy of a local citation until a prospective business contacts you to submit their information. Once the business submits the information, then the local citations are issued. So who holds the records? Aren’t they just the same as the business licenses themselves? This is where the confusion comes in.
When you use a local business listing, you don’t hold the records of the business. Neither do you hold information on anything associated with that business. Instead, your local government holds information about businesses in your community that are registered or have been licensed to do business in your area. This information is used to promote growth and economic development. As you can imagine, using this type of listing is a lot like giving out flyers for a new business – people scan them, take them home, and then either contact you or throw them in the trash.
Unfortunately, not all business listings and local citations are the same. Even if your local government gives out business licenses and local citations – which are often similar – they may be completely different from each other. The fact is that the information held by each type of business license or citation is unique to that particular location. For example, when a property is inspected it would hold information such as the condition of the structure (is it structurally sound), the plumbing and electrical systems, and any other pertinent data that could help the inspector to determine whether or not a business is a good investment.
However, when you list a business on your website, you are not receiving a copy of the local government’s documentation on the business. Instead, you are receiving a copy of your own business licenses. Now, you may wonder how a website can provide you with the necessary information you need to make a wise business decision. This is where it gets complicated. Each state has its own form of business filing, and it is very possible that a website obtained from the city, town, or county that you are in will not be able to provide you with the information you need because that particular state’s version of business forms is different from the other states’.
Of course, that does not mean that they are not comparable. The fact is that every business filing is different. You will want to find a site that provides you with business filing forms from several states. By doing this, you will be able to compare the forms to ensure that you are comparing the same items. When you have compared the business licenses from the local government you are dealing with, then you can compare them to what you have obtained online in order to make sure that you are not missing anything important.
The bottom line is that yes, you can receive copies of local citations on these types of business forms. That does not mean that our business listings the same as local citations. The fact is that you may be able to receive your citation online, but you will have to fill out the form and send it in to the county clerk, who will then send you a copy of the complaint. That way, you will be able to receive the information you need, but you will still have to send in the proper forms and send it to the appropriate county office.