Sacramento, CA asked in Business Formation and Business Law for California

Q: At what point must I have a business license?

I am a website designer normally employed full time but since Covid I have been considering starting my own business. I would offers website design, graphic design, logo design and creation, marketing and social media management as well as ongoing site maintenance and management. Before I fully take the plunge I would like to make sure is is a viable option by launching my site and trying it out. Is this legal?

1 Lawyer Answer
Julie King
Julie King
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Once you market yourself to the world, you are in business and should have a business license. Check the websites of your city and your county to learn the requirements that apply to your jurisdiction. If you are working out of your home, your city and/or county may require a home-based business license in addition to the standard business license. In some cases, the city and/or county will send a postcard to all of your neighbors alerting them to the fact that you applied for a home-based business license. If that is the case, I suggest you give your neighbors a note saying that you will be applying for a home-based business license a nd they will be receiving a postcard about it. Tell them you will be working on your computer and will not have either employees or customers coming to your home (assuming those are requirements to obtain a home-based business license) and you do not expect any disruption to your neighbors' lives as a result of working on your computer in your home. By doing that, if your neighbors have any questions, they can contact you and get the facts BEFORE the postcard arrives and you should have fewer issues, if any, from neighbors objecting to your obtaining a business license. Best wishes!

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