Starting a Business in California
Information provided by The State of California Website Business Portal
STEP #1: LOCAL BUSINESS PERMITS AND LICENSES
Local Business Permits/Licenses may be obtained from your city/county government office. If your business is located in an area that is incorporated, you will go to your city, if it is in an unincorporated area, you will go to the county.
If the business is a home-based business, ask if a "home-occupancy permit" is required.
Browse this website foraddresses and phone numbers of city and county offices that issue business permits. California State licensing info can be viewed here.
You can now manage your way through the various local, state, and federal reporting, licensing or regulating entities that impact your business.
STEP #2: FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAMES
If you plan on doing business in a name other than your own, you will need to file a "fictitious business name" with the county Clerk-Recorder Office in the County in which your business is located. This public notice will be published in a newspaper of general circulation.
STEP #3: SPECIAL "STATE" BUSINESS LICENSES AND PERMITS
Special State business licenses may be required. Browse the California Business Licensing information.
STEP #4: REGISTRATION WITH THE SECRETARY OF THE STATE
If you are organizing as a California corporation, nonprofit, association, LLC, or general partnership, you are required to register with the California Secretary of State business office.
Out-of-state corporations, LLC's, nonprofits, and general partnerships establishing a presence in California are required to register with the California Secretary of State office. Out of state corporations are "foreign corporations."
STEP #5: A SELLER'S PERMIT/RESALE PERMIT
A seller's permit or resale permit is required if you intend to sell any item of tangible personal property. Contact the Board of Equalization for the "field office" nearest you at 916-
322-2010, or browse the Board of Equalization website.
STEP #6: STATE TAX INFORMATION
California State tax information may be obtained from the California Franchise Tax Board at 1-800-852-5711 or browse the California Franchise Tax Board website.
STEP #7: STATE EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER
If you have employees you are required to register (with the nearest office or on-line) with the California Employment Development Department and receive a State Employer Identification Number as well as information on state labor and wage laws. Go to the California Employment Development Department to locate an office or register to receive a State Employer Identification Number.
A Federal Employer ID Number (EIN) may be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-1040 or browse their website.
STEP #8: WAGE/HOUR LAWS
Businesses with employees must comply with laws establishing minimum standards for wages, hours and working conditions. Browse the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement website to get current information,
STEP #9: WORKERS COMPENSATION INFORMATION
Workers' Compensation Information: Businesses with employees must maintain Workers' Compensation Insurance coverage on either a self-insured basis, or provided through a commercial carrier, or the State Workers' Compensation Insurance Fund. Browse the Department of Industrial Relations Division of Workmans' Compensation website for current information.
STEP #10: PROOF OF RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT
Proof of Residency Requirement: Employees hired after November 6, 1986 must provide proof of eligibility to work in the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website has current information.
STATE AND FEDERAL PROGRAMS AVAILABLE TO THE CALIFORNIA BUSINESS PERSON:
Small Business Development Center
Program provides one-on-one business counseling, training, workshops, and other resources for people growing and expanding their small business. SBDCs provide assistance with business feasibility and planning, cash flow management, tax preparations, strategic planning, procurement assistance, qualifying for a loan, and much more.
The Cuesta College Small Business Development Center website has more information on current offerings.
State Loan Guarantee Program
This program enables a small business to obtain a term loan or line of credit when it cannot otherwise qualify for a loan. For more specific information about the program and the location of the office nearest you call 800-303-6600.
For more information ask to speak with a Small Business Assistance & Advocacy Program Associate: 800-303-6600.
U.S. Small Business Administration (Federal SBA)
The SBA provides many services and links to government agencies via the Internet, phone lines, and office sites. For the nearest SBA office call 1-800-827-5722 or visit www.sba.gov