FAQ Topic: New business

How do I start a business?

San Rafael is a great place to start and grow a successful business. We are the economic heart of Marin County and home to many incredible companies. From biotech to real estate, finance to auto sales, construction to education; one of our most notable restaurants grew from our farmers’ market! Our Economic Development department is here for you.

Do I need a business license and how do I get one?

A business license is a tax required of most businesses that conduct business within the city limits of San Rafael, even if your physical office is located outside city limits. Business license taxes help to pay for street maintenance, police and fire protection, and other services that benefit businesses and the general public. You need … Continued

How do I get a liquor license?

To sell alcoholic beverages, you’ll need a liquor license. California has four types (3 for full liquor and 1 for beer & wine only). You can find information about buying a liquor license from the California Department of Alcohol & Beverage Control (ABC). The nearest local ABC office is in Santa Rosa and you can call … Continued

Do I need a sign permit?

You’re definitely going to want to contact us to find out if you need a sign permit for any new commercial business signs intended for public view. For your application you’ll need to provide: Photographs of all existing signs on the building. An inventory of all existing signs on the site. This inventory should include location … Continued

How do I register my new business?

If you would like to register your new business, you should check with our Planning Division to make sure your business location is zoned properly for the business you want to do. Then you will need to complete a Business License Application.

Do I need a building permit?

Building permits are required to build, enlarge, alter, remove, demolish, or repair a structure. This includes everything from houses and garages to commercial construction, tenant improvements to signs. Some work does not require a permit, so check here first. Prior to getting a building permit, you should first check with the Planning Division to make … Continued

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