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State licensing departments and professional licensing boards not only regulate the people who operate businesses within their jurisdiction, but they also provide valuable information that can be checked before selecting someone with whom to do business. Not only that, they are also an excellent resource when there is a problem. Unfortunately, because people are not taught in school, many people are not aware of how easy it is to check credentials through these agencies before making an important decision, or that they can file complaint when things don't go right. State agencies that issue licenses have websites and forms that make it easy to investigate and report a problem, when there is one.



Take Susan, for example. Susan had wanted to have breast augmentation for years and finally had the money to do it. But when it came time to take that important first step, she didn't check the state license board to determine how many complaints had been filed against her doctor over the years. Only after he botched the surgery and she had contacted a malpractice attorney did she learn that there were numerous complaints about him from previous patients. The lawyer explained that the medical community is well connected, and it is rare that a member is sanctioned, even when checking and finding that a complaint reveals a history patients injured with malpractice.

In another case, a woman in Texas with a serious immune condition went to someone claiming to be a doctor. When the treatment failed and the patient almost died, the family did some investigating and found out that the "doctor" was not a medical doctor, but a doctor of naturopaththy. In the state of Texas, naturopaths did not need to have any kind of license or training in order to call themselves such. Clearly, this naturopath was practicing medicine without a license. If anyone had bothered to check with the medical review board in Texas, they would have discovered this fraud and they would have saved a lot of grief.

In the world of government, any entity, whether an individual, a partnership, or a corporation, has to be licensed by the state in order to do business. But licenses for specialized occupations exist too, at the city, county and state level. There is a plethora of types that are often issued by special agencies that prescreen applicants for proper credentials. Among them are licenses for just about everything one can imagine. Not only are they required of physicians through medical review boards and lawyers through state bar associations, but accountants, day care providers, pesticide applicators, and even embalmers and ice-cream vendors may be required to have a special license. The list is quite extensive and can number in the hundreds for any particular state.

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   For running a preschool, purchase childcare liability insurance for protection. Know your tenants liability before renting.