Business Licenses

Business License Program

Los Banos’ business community plays an essential role in the City’s thriving economy, and we know the success of your business is crucial to our success as a City. Whether you’re an established Los Banos business, looking to start a business, or want to move your business here, find out what we can do to make it easy for you to do business in Los Banos. Your many contributions — in the form of jobs, goods, services, and revenue — are critical to the City’s continued economic prosperity.

We in local government wish to extend to you services and support to help ensure the success of your business. We hope that both new businesses locating here, as well as expanding Los Banos businesses, will benefit from the information found here.

The Business License Program is administered by the Community and Economic Development Department. Click here to go to the Community and Economic Development Department’s webpage.

Business License Ordinance

The primary focus of the City’s Business License regulations is to provide reasonable assurance that businesses operating in the City are doing so in compliance with City, state, federal, or otherwise applicable codes, rules, regulations or laws as well as to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community. The Business License program is not designed to raise revenue, nor is it a substitute for land use regulations. For more information regarding the Business License program and Ordinance No. 1163, please refer to Chapter 1 of Title 11 of the Los Banos Municipal Code.

Determining if a Business License is Required

If you are planning to open a new business, relocate your business, operate a business from your home, or conduct any business operations within the City of Los Banos, you are required to obtain a Business License prior to commencing business operations.

Any person engaging in business within the city limits of Los Banos must obtain a Business License. This includes professions, trades, vocations, the rental or lease of multi-family residential with four or more units, establishments and occupations, or other activity for gain, profit, compensation, or livelihood, including but not limited to providing goods or services, whether or not the business has a fixed place of business in the City. If you are unsure if you need a Business License, contact staff at businesslicenses@losbanos.org.

Getting Started in Los Banos is Easy!

Develop a Business Plan

A business plan is the first step to starting a successful business. Though not a requirement to obtain the Business License, a business plan will help you evaluate your idea, estimate costs, and determine the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal.  If you need help creating a business plan, the UC Merced Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a great resource and can help!  Register for their free services on their website by clicking on the button below.

Location, Location, Location

Before finalizing your business location or signing a lease agreement, contact a Planner with the City of Los Banos Community & Economic Development Department at (209) 827-2432 to determine if your business operations conform to the zoning district of your proposed location. All businesses must be located in areas that allow their types of business activity. Staff will help you determine if your business is a compatible use for a particular location and whether any prior special approvals are necessary. For example, some businesses may require approval of a Conditional Use Permit or Mobile Food Vendor Permit prior to the filing of a Business License application.

Our ZoningCheck portal is a simplified tool that shows where a particular use is allowed. Just enter the type of use and the address, and the tool will tell you whether the use is allowed. Click the “Learn More” button and you can see additional information on the zoning for the property.

Use the ZoningCheck portal by clicking on the button below to check where your business operations are permitted. Once you have a location identified, contact a Planner to verify that the zoning and land use are compatible.

If your business will be operating from a commercial location within city limits, will there be any tenant improvements that require building permits prior to occupancy?   If so, you will need to obtain a Building Permit, clear the inspections, and get a final approval prior to Business License issuance.  In addition, the business must clear the fire inspection prior to Business License issuance.  Note that the first two fire inspections are complimentary; the third fire inspection and each additional inspection will be charged to the business owner.  All fees must be paid prior to Business License issuance.

Business Licenses are non-transferable. If the business is moving to a new location or if the ownership of the business is changing, you must file a new Business License application and cancel the previous Business License.

Determine Your Business Structure

It is important to determine the legal structure of your business for operating and business reporting purposes. Will you operate your business as a sole proprietor, general partnership (2 or more owners), corporation (1 or more stockholders/officers), or limited liability company? You will need to make this determination in order to clarify what formation documents, if any, would be required by the State.  An attorney or Certified Public Accountant can advise what is best for you.

Register a Fictitious Business Name

If you create a name for your business that is different than your own legal name or the legal name of your corporation or limited liability company, then you need to register the business name with the Merced County Clerk’s Office. This step needs to be completed prior to obtaining a Business License from the City of Los Banos.

Tax Reporting

All businesses are required to file tax returns. Contact the State Franchise Tax Board and the Federal Internal Revenue Service to learn more about specific requirements.

If you plan to sell or rent tangible products, you must register with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration for a Seller’s Permit, Resale License or Wholesalers License. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) can assist you in determining if you need a Seller’s Permit.

Apply for a City of Los Banos Business License

If you are planning to open a new business, relocate your business, operate a business from your home, or conduct any business operations within the City of Los Banos, you are required to obtain a Business License prior to commencing business operations.  Click on the “Apply!” tab above to find out how to file a Business License application today!

Other Los Banos Permits & Licenses

Your business may require additional permits or coordination with another agency or department to verify education, insurance, and/or livescan criminal history information prior to issuance of a Business License. Some of these approvals may be required prior to obtaining a Business License: Solicitation Permit, Mobile Food Vendor Permit, Sidewalk Vendor Permit, Cottage Food Operator Permit, Massage Establishment Permit, Massage Therapist Registration, Taxicab Business Permit, and Taxicab Driver Permit.  You will need to determine if any permits, licenses, registrations or information are required prior to submitting an application for a Business License.

A Sign Review from the Community Development Department will be required if your business will be installing any signage that is visible from outside the building.  Some signage will also require a Building Permit from the Building Department.

Other Agency Permits & Licenses

Depending on the type of business, you may be required to obtain permits or licenses from other county, state or federal agencies. Many professional occupations, such as accountants, cosmetologists, optometrists, realtors, contractors, and businesses such as automotive repair, liquor sales, pest control, real estate appraisers, to name a few, require additional State licensing.

Contact these individual agencies directly, if applicable.

  • Restaurants, Food Vendors, Beauty Salons, Tattoo Parlors, Medical/Dental/Veterinary Offices: A Health Permit and inspection is required for restaurants and food vendors, motels/hotels/inns with a pool and/or jetted tubs, tattoo parlors, beauty salons that offer semi-permanent makeup, and medical/detal/veterinary officers who handle hazardous waste. Contact the Merced County Department of Environmental Health for information regarding a Health Permit.
  • Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) License: No person may directly or indirectly, on any pretense, sell, barter, charge for possession or otherwise dispose of alcoholic beverages as part of a commercial transaction without having obtained the proper license or permit. To learn more about these requirements and apply for a permit, contact the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
  • California Department of Consumer Affairs License: Many professional businesses, such as accountants, engineers, doctors and dentists, require a State license from the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Businesses such as barbers, cosmetologists, security services and auto repairs are also required to obtain a State license. Contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs to find out more information about the regulating agencies and to apply for a license.
  • State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB): Businesses operating under specific Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes (generally those between 0211 and 5171) must obtain coverage under the SWRCB Industrial General Permit. For more information and specific requirements, visit their website.

When Should an Application be Submitted?

A Business License application must be filed and issued prior to commencement of business operations.

Where is My Business License Valid?

Your Business License is valid only within the city limits of Los Banos – while doing business from your commercial / professional location, your residence, or when you are providing services to a resident or business within the city limits.

A Business License does not authorize you to operate a business that is otherwise prohibited by federal or state law or local ordinance.

When Do I Renew My Business License?

Annual Business Licenses are valid for 12 months from the date of issuance, expire on the last day of the month, and are renewed annually. The City mails courtesy renewal invoice notices during the first week of the month in which the Business License expires.  Renewal charges are due by the expiration date.

Any business that requires licenses, permits, or registrations from any federal, state, or regional agencies must submit a copy of such license, permit, and/or registration with their renewal payment (i.e. Contractor’s License, Cosmetology License, Health Permit, Fictitious Business Name Statement, etc.)  Failure to do so will delay processing of the renewed Business License and may result in revocation of the Business License.

Upon verification of any other required licenses and/or permits and processing of the renewal, the Business License will be issued and mailed to the address on file.

Penalty Charges & Cancellation

Business License renewal payments received after the expiration date are subject to a penalty fee of 50% of the applicable Business License fee(s).  The Business License is subject to cancellation after 30 days of delinquency.

If you want to cancel the Business License, either sign and return the bottom of the renewal invoice to the address on the invoice or complete the Business License Cancellation form at the button below and return it to the address on the form.  Once the Business License is cancelled, the City will no longer invoice you for renewal.

Gaining or Expanding Your Workforce

If you hire employees, be sure to register with the California Employment Development Department. They will provide you with the necessary forms and answer any questions regarding your responsibilities. As an employer, the State requires you to do the following:

  • Withhold State income tax,
  • Withhold State disability insurance,
  • Pay unemployment tax, and
  • Pay for any employment training costs.

You must also register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in order to receive an Employer Identification Number. The IRS offers many services to new business owners and will provide a package of helpful information explaining the types of forms used and due dates for these forms.

As an employer, you are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. You may obtain this insurance through your own insurance agent or the State Compensation Insurance Fund of California (SCIF).

Will Your Business Have Signage?

If your business will have any external signage, either permanent or temporary, you must obtain a Sign Review by the Community & Economic Development Department – contact a Planner at (209) 827-2432 regarding the Sign Review process.

In addition, your signage may require a Building Permit from the Building Department – contact them at (209) 827-7000 ext. 1300 to find out if you need one.

Inspections

Issuance of Commercial Business Licenses will be contingent upon clearance of any pertinent Fire, Building, and/or Code Enforcement inspections and payment for these inspections or any delinquent fees owed.

The Fire Department Annual Business Self-Inspection Checklist is a tool to assist you in providing a fire safe environment to your employees and customers and is intended to assist you in preparation for your initial and annual fire inspections – get the checklist by clicking on the button below.  This self-checklist covers some of the most common violations found during inspections.  This is not a complete list and the Inspector may identify other conditions or issues in the building that require attention.  The initial inspection and first re-inspection are at no additional cost to the business owner.  Additional Fire inspections will be charged to the business owner at the rate of $144.22 per re-inspection. All fees must be paid prior to Business License issuance.  Questions can be directed to the Fire Department at (209) 827-7025.

Starting Water/Garbage Services for a Commercial Business

Contact the Finance Department at (209) 827-7000 to request water/garbage services.

Reach Out to Us!

Have a question?  Get in touch with the Community & Economic Development Department!

Drop us an email at businesslicenses@losbanos.org.

Visit us in person at City Hall at 520 J Street, Los Banos, CA 93635.

We’re also here for you by phone at (209) 827-2431.

Business Hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Applying for a Business License

If you are planning to open a new business, relocate your business, operate a business from your home, or conduct any business operations within the City of Los Banos, you are required to obtain a Business License prior to commencing business operations.  Applications are subject to review, verification, and approval.

Please review and complete the forms carefully and legibly. Incomplete, illegible, or missing information or documentation will delay processing or be cause for denial of your Business License. Please submit completed Business License applications with original signatures and all associated required documentation and appropriate fees to the Community & Economic Development Department located at City Hall at 520 J Street, Los Banos, CA 93635.

For additional information, please contact the Community & Economic Development Department by email at businesslicenses@losbanos.org, by phone at (209) 827-2431, or visit us at 520 J Street, Los Banos, CA 93635. Business Hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Commercial Business License

If the business is based from a commercial location and located inside of Los Banos city limits, then you will need to complete the Commercial Business License application.  Download this application by clicking on the button below.

Home Occupation Business License

If the business is based from the home and located inside of Los Banos city limits, then you will need to complete the Home Occupation Business License application. Keep in mind that Home Occupation rules apply to a business based from home here in the City of Los Banos, including no employees, no customers at the residence, and no signage at the residence.  Download this application by clicking on the button below.

Out of Town Business License

If the business is located outside of Los Banos city limits, then you will need to complete the Out of Town Business License application.  Download this application by clicking on the button below.

Business License Fees

Business License fees vary, depending on the type of Business License, proposed operations, and term. There is a renewal fee for annual licenses in subsequent years. Please note that all Business License fees are subject to change and the exact amount should be confirmed by the Community & Economic Development Department prior to filing the application.

The City Council most recently adopted Resolution No. 6131 which established and amended certain user fees including Business License and related permit fees. The amended fee schedule was adopted on September 18, 2019 and went into effect on December 1, 2019.  Click on the button below to view the current fee schedule.

Please Note: Administrative fees vary depending on the type of business you will be conducting. Please contact us for specific information related to your type of business. All fees including Business License and Administrative Fees are due at the time you submit your application to the Community & Economic Development Department.

Finding the Info & Resources You Need

Whether you are starting a new business or operating an existing business, the City of Los Banos is dedicated to making it easy for you to find the information and resources you need.

UC Merced Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The UC Merced Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a great resource to new and existing businesses in regards to providing assistance in starting or growing your business. Their services help to promote the development, growth, and success of small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the county, thereby enhancing individual, family, community, and regional prosperity. UC Merced SBDC also offers low and no cost workshops relating to many business topics that guide small businesses to success and accomplishment.

Whether you want to launch, grow, transition or innovate your business, they can provide expert consulting, training, market research, access to capital and other tools at low to no cost assistance. You can visit their website and register for their services by clicking on the button below.

US Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA offers business training classes and information on how to create a business plan.  Access this resource by clicking on the button below.

CalGold

This online resource is available through the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to assist business owners in finding appropriate license and permit information from the federal, state, regional, and local levels related to their business operations. It also provides contact information for the various agencies that administer & issue these licenses and permits.  Keep in mind that the listing may not be necessarily or exclusively what you will need to do to obtain a Business License.  This resource can be accessed by clicking on the button below.

CA Secretary of State's Office

This State office provides the information you need to determine what, if any, formation documents you must file with the State to form a legal entity (i.e. corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, etc.) Check out their information portal by clicking on the button below.

Los Banos Chamber of Commerce

At the local level, the Los Banos Chamber of Commerce is a dynamic and active non-profit business organization, comprised of people who do business in and around Los Banos, and is focused on assisting and strengthening businesses in our community. The Chamber collaborates with government, educational institutions, and private industry to assist and strengthen local businesses and provides valuable connections and information through networking mixers and workshops on topics such as using social media to boost business.  Visit their office by clicking on the button below.

Los Banos Downtown Association

The Los Banos Downtown Association (DTA) is an information center for not only the downtown but the whole community. The primary responsibility of the DTA is to oversee and generate activities in the downtown and assist the downtown merchants and business owners in attracting people to shop and do business in the downtown.  Marketing is a major priority of the DTA, making sure that directory information is provided to the businesses in the downtown region as well as developing events, training opportunities, and other programs that enhance the downtown experience.

Head over to their website by clicking on the button below.

California Government Code Section 4467

Effective January 1, 2013, the Business License fee was increased by $1.00 as mandated by the state for the Certified Access Specialist Program (CASp).

Effective January 1, 2018 thru December 31, 2023, this fee increased to $4.00, and the fee will decrease to $1.00 effective January 1, 2024.

California Government Code Section 4469

On and after January 1, 2013, each city, county, or city and county shall provide to an applicant for a Business License or equivalent instrument or permit and to an applicant for the renewal of a Business License or equivalent instrument or permit, the following information:

Under federal and state law, compliance with disability access laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies to all California building owners and tenants with buildings open to the public. You may obtain information about your legal obligations and how to comply with disability access laws at the following agencies:

California Government Code Section 4469.5

In addition to the information required by Section 4469, each city, county, or city and county that issues Business Licenses, building permits for additions, alterations, and structural repairs to commercial property, or building permits for new construction of commercial property, shall make readily available, and, upon submission to the city, county, or city and county of an application for a Business License or building permit, shall provide to the applicant, an informational notice to the applicant to increase compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.) and the state Unruh Civil Rights Act (Section 51 of the Civil Code) by owners and tenants of commercial property used for public accommodation or business purposes and to facilitate that compliance by increasing awareness of these laws and the resources available to aid with compliance, resulting in more public accommodations and businesses being accessible to all persons, regardless of physical disability.

California Civil Code Sections 51.6 and 55.63

State law prohibits a business establishment from discriminating against a person because of the person’s gender with respect to the price charged for services of similar or like kind. State law also requires specified business establishments to disclose in writing the pricing for each standard service, as defined, to display, in a specified manner, a sign stating that it is illegal to base pricing on gender and that a complete price list is available upon request, and to display, in a specified manner, a price list, and to provide the customer with a copy of the complete price list upon request. Informational materials to explain a business establishment’s rights and obligations under these provisions are available for download by clicking the links below.

Temporary Operations under the COVID-19 Pandemic

The rising and ongoing concerns around the COVID-19 Pandemic has created a challenging business climate nationally as well as locally in Los Banos. There is some relief offered through the modification of business operations by means of a Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit or Temporary Outdoor Business Service Waiver for new and existing licensed businesses.  These applications can be downloaded by clicking on the buttons below. For more information regarding these forms, please contact our office at (209) 827-2432.

Get Up to Date Information

For more information, frequent updates, FAQs, educational materials and more as it relates to COVID-19, please visit the Merced County Department of Public Health website or call them at (209) 381-1180.

We're Here For You, Los Banos Businesses!

Reach Out to Us!

Have a question?  Get in touch with the Community & Economic Development Department!

Drop us an email at businesslicenses@losbanos.org.

Visit us in person at City Hall at 520 J Street, Los Banos, CA 93635.

We’re also here for you by phone at (209) 827-2431.

Business Hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.