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What Is a Business License?

A business license or permit is generally recommended, and sometimes required, for individuals or businesses to operate in California. Business licenses exist at the local, state, and federal level. Licenses and permits cover almost every type of business activity, such as building construction, restaurants and nightclubs, retail sales and the ability to work as a licensed professional.

What Determines the Licenses I Need?

The type of licenses or permits you will need depends on several factors, including:
•Your profession or occupation
•Whether you are an employer or an independent contractor
•Your industry and business activities
•Your place(s) of business

Professional Licenses in California

Depending on your profession, you may need to obtain a license to practice in California, even if you have been previously licensed in a different state. The licensing requirements vary by profession, and many are issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs. A few of the professions for which a license is required are:

•Healthcare Practitioners
•Alcohol Sales
•Food Sales
•Aestheticians and Cosmetologists
•Real Estate Brokers and Agents
•Security Guards

Do I Need Any Local Permits?

Local permits are dependent on city and county requirements and ordinances. Local licenses and permits are common for items such as:
•Construction or renovation
•Health permits
•Zoning permits
•Local business licenses

License and permit requirements vary, so to be sure, you should check with your local authorities.

How Can I Find Out If I Need a Professional License?

You should always check with your local authorities in the city or county where you plan to work or operate a business.
Should I Consult a Business Attorney in California?

Applying for business licenses and permits may not require the help of an attorney. However, if you are setting up a new business, an experienced business attorney can help provide guidance on permits, as well as other business organization issues. If you have been charged with criminal or civil penalties for a failure to have a proper permit, an attorney can help defend you.