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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for a business license?

All general business license applications must be submitted online or at one of our Business License kiosks at City Hall. We will no longer accept applications by mail or applications filled out by hand. No payment is required with the submission of the application. Payment will be collected prior to issuance of the license.

Applications for Special business licenses must be submitted in person at City Hall. Special business licenses are approved by the police department and fingerprinting is required.

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How do I know if I need a special license?

There are certain types of enterprises that require special investigation, review and regulation in order to ensure that the public health, safety and welfare are adequately protected. Below is a list of the businesses that are required to get a Special License.

  • Antique Dealers-in firearms, jewelry, art objects, furniture or other valuables
  • Automobile Dismantlers-and marketers of used parts for automobiles
  • Mobile Automobile Repairs
  • Circuses and Carnivals
  • Sales of Concealable Firearms including gunpowder
  • Home Repair Services without a State of California License
  • Purchase or Sale of Metals including precious and scrap metals
  • Auto Towing
  • Repossession or Storage of Automobiles or any other thing of value
  • The Operator of Each Booth-flea market, farmer's market or auction
  • Private Security Companies
  • Tree Trimmers
  • Motorcycle Sales-including new and used parts
  • Wrecking Yards-including automobile dismantling
  • Dating and Introduction Services
  • Swimming Pool Cleaning Services
  • Janitorial, Maid or Carpet Cleaning Services
  • Pool Halls-one table or more is a pool hall
  • Itinerant Food Vendors-mobile food vendors
  • Movie and Television Productions-Film Permit
  • Dance Clubs, Halls and Public Dances
  • Taxicabs
  • Medical Cannabis
  • Cardrooms, Bingo Games, Bingo Parlors, Bingo Suppliers
  • Pawnbrokers, Secondhand Dealers and Junk Dealers
  • Junk Tire Storage
  • Tobacco Retailers
  • Adult Related Establishments-Bathhouse, Massage, Escort Services

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Where do I go for fingerprinting?

You will come to the cashier's office at City Hall to pay the $44 fee for the livescan (fingerprinting) first. The cashiers will provide the necessary forms and send you across the street to the Police Department for processing. 4:00 p.m. cut-off time.

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I have already been fingerprinted for another approval process. Do I have to be fingerprinted again?

The background check is completely confidential and the Department of Justice does not release information from prior background checks. You will need to be fingerprinted again for the business license process.

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I'm not sure if my business is considered a home-based business. I sometimes work at home.

Are you using your home address as your business address and do you conduct your business from home? Examples would be: a landscaping business; a consulting business; a sales job where you travel to your customers' locations; a mobile notary. Although the physical work is being done at other locations, your home is used for paperwork, scheduling, etc. That would be considered a home-based business. If you have a work location outside of your home but you occasionally work at home, you would not have a home-based business.

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Can I submit my application through the mail or apply in person at City Hall?

Effective October 1, 2010, applications filled out by hand or submitted through the mail are no longer accepted. We have provided kiosks at City Hall that you may use to electronically submit your application for a general business license, or you may access the application online by clicking here.

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I have difficulty using a computer. How can I submit my application?

We have kiosks at City Hall that can be used to submit your application. Assistance with the process will be provided.

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I am having problems submitting the application from home. What do I do?

You may call our Business License department at 916-478-2211 if you have questions. However, it may be impossible to troubleshoot your specific problem since it may be unique to your computer. If the problem cannot be easily resolved, you may come to City Hall and use one of our Business License kiosks to submit your application.

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My business category is not listed on the NAICS lists.

The categories are generic. Choose the description that most closely describes your business.

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Why did you change the process?

Processing the applications electronically eliminates time spent processing mail and retyping the application. This expedites the process and allows our departments to access them and approve them in a more timely manner.

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What is the cost of a business license?

The General business license is $12 for a 2-year license. The Special license is $125 for a 1-year license plus $44 for the fingerprinting and background check. The $44.00 is a one-time charge as long as you do not let your license expire. If your special license expires, you will have to reapply for a new license, including another background check. $4.00 State Imposed Fee.

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How and when do I pay for the license?

You will pay for your General license when you apply online. You will then be able to print your temporary license from your computer. Your official business license will be mailed to you in approximately two weeks. If you require a special business license, you will pay your licensing fees when you apply at City Hall.

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What happens after I submit the application?

You can immediately print your General business temporary license.

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How long does the process take?

General business licenses can be filled out online and take about 15 minutes. Special business licenses require a review process and can take differing amounts of time depending on the application.

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How do I renew my license? Has that process also changed?

You will receive a renewal notice 60 days prior to the expiration date of your license. There are instructions on the renewal on how to update your information and pay for your renewal.

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