Starting a Business in California: What Permits and Licenses You Need

Starting a business in California? Learn what permits & licenses are needed & how to get them with this guide from experts.

Starting a Business in California: What Permits and Licenses You Need

Starting a business in California can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to understanding the permits and licenses you need to legally operate. Fortunately, the state of California makes it easier by providing the CalGold website, a tool that allows you to search by city or county and type of business to see what permits you will need and which regulatory agencies administer them. When starting a business in California, the first step is to choose a name for your business and decide on the structure of your business. Once you have decided on the name and structure of your company, the next step is to write a business plan.

Just like drawing up plans before building a home, a business plan creates the solid foundation on which you'll build and grow your business. You'll also need to pay taxes for your business. There are several agencies responsible for administering taxes at the state and federal levels, such as the Franchise Tax Board, the California Tax Services Center, and the Department of Taxation of California and Rate Management. To get the necessary licenses or permits you'll need when starting a business in California, the CalGold website is your go-to resource.

Once you have all of your permits and licenses in order, you'll want to make sure that you are financially prepared to start your business. Starting a business in California isn't cheap, especially depending on the type of business you want to open. Whether you're looking for a startup loan, equipment financing, or a business line of credit, exploring your financing options can help you determine exactly what's possible when starting a business in California.You may also want to look into small business insurance, hire employees, create a marketing plan to spread the word about your new business, find a location if you're going to need a physical store or office, and more. If you realize that you need some extra money to start your business, there are several financing options you can explore, even as a startup.

SCORE is made up of active, retired entrepreneurs who volunteer their time to support start-ups.If you are a sole proprietor and do business under your own name, you can simply use your name as the name of the business entity. Companies that are structured as LLCs or corporations in California can pay taxes at both the state and federal levels. The California Governor's Office of Economic and Business Development has a handy search tool that can help you find what licenses and permits may be needed for your operation.Most small businesses won't need to obtain federal licenses or permits, but depending on the size or activities your business performs, you may need to obtain a federal license. You usually pay a fee to get a local business license in California, but some cities exempt very small businesses from paying fees.

However, depending on the structure of your company and the number of permits and licenses your company requires, it could cost several hundred dollars or more to get started.The California Business Investment Services unit offers customized site selection services for businesses, real estate executives, and site selection consultants. For help deciding the location of your business, contact the California Business Investment Services unit of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (Go-Biz). You will need to keep business and personal finance separate by opening a business bank and credit accounts. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the company as automated and efficient as possible so that you can focus on growing your business.