Apply For A Business License South San Francisco, California

Looking to open a business in South San Francisco, California?

If you plan to open a business in South San Francisco you will need to apply for and be issued a business license from the Finance Department. You can request an application in person by visiting the Finance Department office at 400 Grand Avenue, or by printing the application from the City of South San Francisco website. You can reach the Finance Department by phone at (650) 877-8505. 

What is the process for receiving your business license?

You will need to choose the type of business license application that you will fill out. There are three types of businesses and each type has its own application process. 

  1. If you are going to operate your business in a commercial location in the city, you will need to fill out four separate forms: a business license/site clearance application, a business license/site clearance review, a business license/site clearance agreement and a police merchant letter. Each of these forms can be found online at the City of South San Francisco website. The business license application is a basic form requesting information about your business, such as the ownership type of your business (singly owned, under a corporation, or involved in a partnership) name, address, social security number, and contact numbers of all owners. Your business name, the physical address, mailing address, and all phone numbers associated with your business will need to be provided. There is a section of ‘yes or no’ answers pertaining to your business property, if you have plans to remodel, if you are sharing your business property with any other businesses, prior use of your business property, etc. You may need to provide tax ID numbers, state seller’s number, and contractor information as well. Signing the application verifies that you have provided all true and accurate information to the best of your knowledge. The other forms that you need to be submitted with your business license application each request specific information about your business, and will need to be reviewed and understood. 
  2. If you plan to operate your business from home, you will need to apply for your business license and, in addition, you will need to submit an application for a home occupation. This form has several questions pertaining to the use of your home as a base for your business, and as well outlines the definition of a home occupation. You will need to be familiar with the restrictions and conditions that are associated with operating a home occupation and you will need to sign your application denoting that you have read and understand each item of Section 20.11.020. When you have completed your home business application, you will return it to the Planning Division for approval. 
  3. If your business is based outside of the city of South San Francisco, but you enter the city as part of your business, fill out the business license application alone and return it to the Finance Department.

All forms will be reviewed by the Planning Division and you will then be responsible for contacting each of the following agencies two weeks after submittal: Fire Prevention, Water Quality Control, Building Division, and Police Department Crime Prevention Unit. Please be aware that you may need to contact other entities in addition to these for additional permits or licenses, such as the Alcoholic Beverage Control board, the IRS, the Health Department, etc. 

What are the costs that you are expected to pay?

Depending on the classification that your business falls under, you can expect to pay a fee. Classifications include temporary events, transportation services, acupuncturists, massage therapist, pawn shop, professionals, etc. There is an annual registration fee and database fee that are added to your business license fees. For a complete list of fees and classifications, you can visit the City of South San Francisco website.

Who should you contact for more information?

Contact the Finance Department at 400 Grand Ave in South San Francisco, CA 94083.

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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.


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