I am planning to open a business in Santa Monica, California. What do I need to know?
Before opening a business in Santa Monica, you will need to first apply for a business license through the Business License Office. You can download the application for a business license from the City of Santa Monica website. If you prefer, you can contact them by calling (310) 458-8745 to request that an application be mailed to you or you can visit them in person at 1717 4th Street, Suite 150, in Santa Monica. Any business that is being run from a commercial location will also need to fill out a supplemental questionnaire for zoning approval which is also available for downloading on the City of Santa Monica website. This questionnaire has a series of ‘yes or no’ answers that pertain to your proposed business location. Be aware that you will want to discuss your business location and business activities with the Planning Division prior to signing any lease or purchasing any property as it is possible that certain business activities are not permitted in certain zones. You will not want to be financially responsible for a property that is not able to be used. When you have completed the supplemental questionnaire with information such as how you plan to store materials on your business premises, what the prior use for your business location was, the square footage of your business property, a detailed description of your business activities, etc. You will return the questionnaire with your business license application to 1685 Main Street, room #103, in Santa Monica. It is recommended that you hand in your business license in person to expedite the process. If you prefer to mail it, mail your application to the Business & Revenue Operations Division, P.O. Box 2200, Santa Monica, CA 90407-2200.
What information do I need to complete my Santa Monica business license application?
The Santa Monica business license application requests various information that will be used to determine what your business license fees will be, additional information you may need for opening a business, information on the owner(s) of your business, etc. You will need to provide the name and physical address of your business, the ownership type (LLC, LLP, corporation, partnership, trust, or single owner), and all contact information for your business. You will need to have information for all owners, and in addition, you will need to provide a social security number and driver’s license number for all owners. An emergency contact is needed in case you are unable to be reached in the event of a fire or police emergency. If applicable, you may need to provide a federal employer’s number, a state license number, type and expiration date, a state ID number and/or a resale number. The number of employees that will be working more than 20 hours a week will need to be given, and a signature verifying that all information that you have provided is true and complete to the best of your knowledge. Your signature also denotes that you are in agreement with all federal, local, and state requirements and regulations associated with running a business.
Can I operate a Santa Monica business from home?
Yes, it is acceptable to operate a home occupation in Santa Monica, provided that you fill out a home occupation permit application in addition to your Santa Monica business license application. This is a short application outlining the definition of and regulations pertaining to a home occupation as per the Santa Monica Municipal Code Section 9.04.20.04. You will need to provide the basic information about your business such as the name of your business, all contact information associated with your Santa Monica business, and the name of the person who is applying for the permit. A detailed description of how you will be using your home to operate your business, a vehicle description, including how you plan to transport your goods from your business, etc. will be found on the application. You will need to familiarize yourself on each regulation and condition on this application, and then sign it to denote that you agree to all of the regulations and that you agree to be in compliance with each of them.
Will I need additional Santa Monica permits or licenses?
You may need to apply for additional Santa Monica licenses, permits, or seek approval from other entities whether local, state, or federal. If you plan to handle food, for example, you will likely need a health permit. Alcohol sales or serving may require that you contact the Alcoholic Beverage Control board. Certain businesses may need to gain approval from the Santa Monica Police Department. Some of these businesses include: billiard rooms, traveling vendors, entertainment establishments, firearms sales, transport services, massage related businesses, etc. Contact the Finance Division to discuss the complete list of these businesses and to determine if your Santa Monica business will need additional permits, inspections, licenses, or approvals to operate.
I have other questions or concerns. Who should I contact?
You can visit the Business & Revenue Operations Division at 1717 4th Street, Suite 150. You may also call (310) 458-8745 or send a fax to (310) 451-3283.
Disclaimer: This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.