How to get a Business License in California

California is one of the most developed states and home to many entrepreneurs. If you also want to start a small business or large-scale business and are wondering about how to get a business license in California then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will be explaining every detail about getting a license in California when you are about to start a business.

Country, state, and municipal regulations are the main body that would give a license based on your business activity. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) provides central incentives and information about starting a business in California and getting a license from the government body. They also provide interactive maps for researching the place to establish your business in the local area. Although, your requirements for getting a license may vary based upon your business, activities, industries, and location, since there are several different kinds of business one can start. Below are the lists of key points regarding the issue and resources for getting a license in California.

Types of Business License

General Business License

General Business License

If you want to start a business in California, you must obtain a general business license in the city where your business place is located. Some cities of California consider a business license as a business tax certificate, though it varies from city to city. Those businesses which are operating in unincorporated sections must have to obtain their tax certificate or license on the basis of the country. If you have multiple businesses in different cities, you must take a license for each city located at a different place. You cannot operate a business with the same name in different cities with one single license. You can submit your registration application online, in person, or with a portal as well. The cost to register and get a license can be either flat rate or gross sales percentages. These things are totally dependent on the field of your business, city, or country. You have to provide your personal information, your business details, the activity in which you operate, business type and structure, address of the location, federal tax ID number, number of employees working under you, and your estimated annual sales with other additional information. You can visit the official California city websites for further information.

Specific License for Regulated Industries and Professions


Apart from general business licenses, your company may be required to get an additional license due to other rules and regulations. The California Government Online to Desktops (CalGOLD) permits new businesses by providing CalGold Business permit assistance. It is a searchable online database for the regulated industries and professions with relevant information on the websites. In case you are involved with selling or leasing merchandise in California, you must obtain a Seller’s Permit. You can either apply online or by portal to get this permit. If you are going to start a business as a partnership, sole proprietorship, limited liability corporations, and other companies, you must register your business entity and get a verified license.

Fictitious Business Name Statement

Sometimes, people use fictitious business names for their business ventures. For that, the name should be legal and do not carry anything against any caste, religion, or nationality. Your name should not match any other business entity’s name and it should be unique in some ways. You can access the California official website for a fictitious name if you do not want to open a business by your name.

Steps to Get a Business License in California

Steps to get a Business License

Step 1: License Research

  • Research for the licenses and permits at the federal, state, country, and municipal level which your business needs.
  • Provide proper license application forms with all your personal as well professional details and the structure of the business incorporation.

Step 2: Payment

  • Once you are done with filling your application form, you will be asked to complete the first part of the payment. Once the IBC receives your first payment, they will guide you for the further steps.
  • If you need 2-3 installments to complete your license fees, you will be asked to pay each installment after each step.

Step 3: Preparation

  • You need to prepare every document which is necessary and asked by the government body while getting a license.
  • If you are establishing a partnership and other business entity ventures, you will be required to collect documents from each member as per the requirement of the government body.

Step 4: License Filings

  • You have to provide your verified identity certificate and other legal documents.
  • You have to make sure that all the necessary information and documents are attached to your application form.
  • Once you are done with all these necessary activities, make sure to contact the licensing authority to know whether the license is issued or not.
  • If due to some reason your license gets rejected, contact the authority to know the reason behind it and work accordingly.

Step 5: License Compliance

  • The government agency will check all your details and match the records as per their requirement and ask for additional information from you if necessary.
  • After completing this process, you will receive information from the Licensing authority that your license has been approved.
  • Compliance can be a huge burden on your day-to-day activity so it’s better to contact IBC and ensure that everything is going according to the requirements.

Once your business license will be approved, you will be getting your legal license after a certain period of time given by the licensing authority. It is not hard to get a business license in California as it sounds. All you need is to make sure that you are researching well and applying for the license as per your business activity. So, if you are planning to start a business then do good research and apply for it. We hope the above information regarding how to get a business license in California is useful. If you have any doubt regarding certain steps for getting a license, you can ping us or leave a comment, we will be grateful to help you out.

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