How To Get A California Business License

By Jay White

June 7, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Before you set up your business in California, it is important to ensure that you fulfill all required licensing criteria to operate. Depending on the industry and where you are considering starting your business, you could potentially need more than one license and be required to obtain professional licensing, obtain a sales tax license and register your business name. While the licensing requirements are not complicated, you will need to complete all necessary paperwork, pay the fees and provide the information requests. Once you’ve finished the application process, you will be ready and prepared to open your business in California.

You must work with the California Department of Insurance to register your business name with the state. If the name improperly uses certain words, is viewed as deceptive, uses certain unacceptable words or conflicts with another business name, your request may not be approved. In addition, you must also provide both the name of the business and your real name. You will receive a “doing business as” approval if your business uses a fictitious name.

If you offer services or sell items that are taxable in California, you will also need to obtain a seller’s permit that will allow you to collect sales tax and return the tax to the state as owed. Even if you don’t collect tax from sales, if you gross more than $100,000 each year, you are required to open a tax account, and you will need to complete the required paperwork and pay a fee to the California State Board of Equalization.

If you are a psychologist, dentist, security guard, teacher, insurance agent, real estate agent, barber, beautician, nurse, medical doctor or another professional, you are required to hold a professional license. Consult the state board in your profession to learn more about the licensing requirements that apply to you, which may include passing a written test, paying a fee or providing documentation proving your certification in another state. Contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs if you are unable to find the correct professional board for your industry.

Depending on the county or town in which your business operates, you might need to obtain additional licensing. For instance, you may need a sales tax permit from the city or county and a DBA permit from the county. To learn more about the licensing requirements for your specific area, enter the type of business you are considering opening as well as your location on the CalGold website at

Jay White

I started Dumb Little Man many years ago so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!

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