Doing Business in California: What You Need to Know About Business Licenses

Learn about what you need to know about obtaining a business license in California including requirements and fees.

Doing Business in California: What You Need to Know About Business Licenses

The State of California does not require or issue a statewide commercial operating license. Instead, it regulates certain industries and professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and accountants. However, you may need to obtain a business operating license from your city or county, although requirements vary. A company caught operating without a license could be forced to cease operations.

In some cases, once the necessary licenses are obtained, the company is free to reopen. But in some cases, a company may have to wait for a mandatory probationary period, or worse, a city may refuse to grant a license to the company.Most businesses will need some form of California business license. Most counties and cities in California require businesses to have a local license, and many businesses will need a seller's permit. Depending on the type of business you operate, you may need to obtain local, county, state, or federal business licenses.

If your company carries out activities regulated by the federal government, you will need to apply for the appropriate license or business permit.No matter what type of business you create, it is recommended that you open a separate business account to make it easier to track your income and expenses. Usually, the city will mail you some type of license or certificate with a California business license number within a few weeks.The inclusion of links to other websites does not constitute an approval of those sites by the Secretary of State of California, the State of California, or the federal government. Jacqueline Nguyen is a Florida lawyer who translates complex business and tax laws into easy-to-digest information for entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their businesses.A public health operating license is required for businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, or any other business related to people's health. Whether you can be held personally liable for your company's debts depends on the structure of your company and how it was formed.While there may be some exceptions, as a general rule, you will need a business license to operate in California.

Additionally, certain businesses may also require additional permits or certifications. While these permits are not the same as business licenses, it is important to research if you should get one before starting your business.The California Business Investment Services unit offers customized site selection services for businesses, real estate executives, and site selection consultants. Business titles are the perfect stepping stone to building a career, increasing earning potential, and ultimately growing your business.The cost of a standard commercial operating license can vary by location in the state of California, and some cities even exempt small businesses from paying any fees. You can obtain a business license by applying to the right regulatory and licensing agency for your company.

See How to Form an LLC in California and How to Form a Corporation in California for more information.