1. Evaluate Your Needs and Determine Your Location
The Economic Development Division has information on business incentives, starting a new business, job training and placement assistance, and export development assistance. We are located at 20 Civic Center Plaza Drive, 6th Floor, Santa Ana, California.
The city also assists businesses wishing to locate or expand by identifying possible locations. and offering incentives. Call to find out if your prospective site is located in the Enterprise Zone, an area that offers tax benefits.
The City has established zoning ordinances for both home-based businesses and commercial addresses.
3. Fictitious Business Name (dba)
If you intend to name your firm anything other than your own name, you must file a fictitious business name, also called a dba (Doing Business As).
4. Get a Business License
Any person operating a business in the city must obtain a business license and pay an annual business license tax.
5. Get Important State Permits
The Economic Development Division and Business Tax Office can help you determine what other permits or licenses you may need. Contact the appropriate offices listed below.
For Wholesale and Retail business
To apply for a Seller's Permit
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
Phone: (949) 440-3473
For Restaurants and Food Vendors
A Health Inspection is required.
The Orange County Health Care Agency
Phone: (714) 433-6000
Website: Food Facility Health Permit
For Restaurants Serving Alcohol and Liquor Stores
A Liquor License is required.
California Department of Alcoholic Beverages Control
Phone: (714) 558-4101
For Some Types of Retail and Manufacturing
South Coast AQMD
Phone: (909) 396-2000
If you are filing as a corporation, S Corporation, Partnership, or limited liability company, you must register.
Secretary of State
Phone: (916) 657-5448
Website: Business Entities
6. Get the Right City
For questions about zoning, environmental review, land use and conditional use permits.
Phone: (714) 647-5804
Planning & Building
For questions about plan check, mechanical and electrical permits.
Phone: (714) 647-5804
For questions about obtaining your business license.
Phone: (714) 647-5447
For questions on public right-of-way, sanitation and recycling.
Phone: (714) 647-5690
Fire Prevention Services
For questions about hazardous materials, underground storage tanks and fire investigation.
Phone: (714) 573-6000
Permit Assistance Team
For questions about which permit to obtain.
Phone: (714) 647-5445
7. Get a Federal Employer Identification Number
A partnership, corporation or a sole proprietorship with employees requires a Federal Employer I.D. number. A sole proprietorship without employees can use the owner's social security number.
8. Get a State Identification Number Employment Development Department (EDD)
The same rules generally apply for a State Tax I.D. number as for a Federal Tax I.D. number. Please refer to the item above.
9. Open a Checking Account for your Business Only
Separate business and personal accounting is essential when you file your tax return.
10. Start, Grow, & Succeed Successful Businesses Have a Business Plan
The Small Business Development Center offers workshops and free consulting services to help your business start, grow, and succeed on how to prepare a business plan. For a schedule of low-cost workshops, call (714) 564-5200, or check their website: www.ocsbdc.com.