Business Licenses | Hercules, CA (2023)

The City of Hercules welcomes new business enterprises (Quick Link to Business License Info Here), and values the many businesses that have made Hercules their home.

As mandated by City of Hercules Municipal Code, Title 8Chapter 6(PDF), the City of Hercules requires all organizations operating within the City to have a business license. This applies to businesses operating from a place of residence (i.e., home-based businesses) or a commercial or office space. Home-bases businesses are businesses where operations are completed out of the owner’s or an employee’s residence. Operations include but are not limited to computer tasks, telephone calls, paperwork, appointments, financials, sales, etc. Businesses located in Rodeo should contact the Contra Costa County Tax Collector at 925-646-4122.

To apply for a business license:
  1. Obtain the necessary use permit. All businesses—including home-based, mixed-use, and live-work businesses—require either anadministrativeorconditional usepermit. For more information or to apply for a use permit, contact thePlanning Department. A separate fee is required for the use permit.
  2. Submit a completed business license application with payment.Please contact Avenu Insights & Analytics toll free at 866-240-3665 orbizlicensesupport@muniservices.comfor forms and payment information.
Existing Businesses

Renewal notices are sent out to those businesses that have an active license from the prior year during the month of December. Renewal notices are only sent as a courtesy and businesses are still responsible for renewing their business license even if they do not receive a renewal notice. Failure to pay the annual business license fee before January 31, may result in late fees.

If you misplace a renewal form or do not receive one and need to renew your business license, you may download/print and complete one of the below forms. You may also contact Avenu Insights & Analytics toll free at (866) 240-3665

Reopening a Closed Account

Businesses that were previously licensed by the City but closed, sold or moved outside of the City and need to reopen their previous account must complete a REOPENING OF CLOSED ACCOUNT APPLICATION.

Such businesses must also obtain the necessary use permit. All businesses—including home-based, mixed-use, and live-work businesses—require either anadministrativeorconditional usepermit. For more information or to apply for a use permit, contact thePlanning Department. A separate fee is required for the use permit.


To procure a business license with the City of Hercules, please submit the following:

• Peddler/Solicitor License Form
• Business License Application

Please complete a peddler/solicitor license form for each individual conducting door-to-door sales. A $60 background check fee will be assessed for each person soliciting in City limits. Please note that all peddlers & solicitors must go through the required background check to operate in Hercules, regardless if their business is located in Hercules and/or whether they have previously obtained a standard City business license.

The Police Department will conduct the background checks and notify the Finance department of clearance. Peddler/Solicitor business licenses cannot be issued until Police Department approval has been received and all applicable fees have been paid.

Temporary or Special Event Business Licenses

Events such as the ones listed below are considered temporary or special events. Such events must obtain a business license for the City of Hercules before the event commences.

Boxing and Wrestling Matches

Portable Skating Rinks


Traveling Advertising & Sales Promotion


Traveling Exhibitions

Dances with Admission Charged

Traveling Theatrical


  1. Obtain the necessary use permit. All businesses—including home-based, mixed-use, and live-work businesses .
  2. Submit a completed business license application with payment.Please contactAvenu Insights & Analytics toll free at (866) 240-3665 or atbizlicensesupport@muniservices.comfor forms and payment information.
Location Changes

If your business has a change of physical address, you must complete a new business permit application and obtain approval from the Planning Department before a license can be issued for the new location. You must also complete a LOCATION CHANGE business license application. Upon approval and receipt of all applicable fees, your business license can be issued.

Name Change or Change in Business Ownership

If your business name has changed or added/removed owners, we need to hear from you. Please notify Avenu Insights & Analytics by completing a NAME CHANGE OR CHANGE IN OWNERSHIP form. You may also contact Avenu Insights & Analytics toll free at (866) 240-3665

If there is no change in FEIN, then a business license fee normally does not apply for making updates to your account. However, if the FEIN changes for your business, it is considered a new business. New business fees will apply.

Closed or Sold Businesses

Business licenses ARE NOT automatically canceled. We need to hear from you. You may email Avenu Insights & Analytics at , send written notification or call us toll free at (866) 240-3665. Please be prepared to provide the date that the business closed/sold and the new owner’s contact information if applicable.

CASp Fee Information

On September 19, 2012, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1186 (SB 1186) into law. SB 1186 is intended to increase disability access, encourage compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements, develop education resources for businesses, and facilitate compliance with Federal and State disability laws. From January 1, 2013, and until December 31, 2017, cities and counties were required to collect a State mandated fee of $1.00 from “any applicant for a local business license or equivalent instrument or permit, and from any applicant for the renewal of a business license or equivalent instrument or permit.” Assembly Bill 1379 was passed on October 11, 2017, which extends the assessment of the fee indefinitely and the State mandated fee from $1.00 to $4.00 from January 1, 2018 until December 31, 2023.

Municipalities are required by law to inform you of the following: 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:

The Division of the State Architect
The Department of Rehabilitation
The California Commission on Disability Access

      Other Agencies

      Listed below are some other agencies you may need to contact in order to start your business.

      For business licenses in areas outside of Hercules:

      Alcoholic Beverages
      If you serve alcoholic beverages, you may need toapply for a liquor licensewith:

      Alcoholic Beverage Control Licensing
      1515 Clay Street, Suite 2208
      Oakland, CA 94612
      (510) 622-4970

      (Video) California Business Licenses: Everything You Need to Know

      Contra Costa County Clerk
      555 Escobar Street
      Martinez, CA 94553
      (925) 335-7900

      CountyTax Collector
      625 Court Street, Room 100
      Martinez, CA 94553
      (925) 646-4122

      Environmental Health
      2120 Diamond Boulevard Suite 200
      Concord, CA 94520
      (925) 692-2500

      Federal Identification Number
      If you have employees, you need to apply for aFederal Identification Number. Contact the Local IRS Officeor call toll-free (800) 829-1040.

      (Video) What Business Licenses are Needed in California - Starting a Business in California

      Fictitious Business Name
      In most cases, you must register your business name with the County Clerk. Before you file your Fictitious Business Name Statement, research the name to insure that the name is not currently being used by someone else. While this is highly recommended by the City, it is not a requirement for obtaining a business licenses.

      Health Permits
      If you have a restaurant, catering, or food-handling business, you may need to file for aPublic Health/Licensing permitthrough the Contra Costa County Environmental Health Department (formerly Health Services).

      Import Businesses
      If your business will involve the import or export of products with other countries, you may need to obtain an Import/Export Permit.

      State Board of Equalization
      1515 Clay Street, Suite 303
      Oakland, CA 94612
      (800) 432-2829
      (800) 400-7115

      State Employment Development Department
      478 Buskirk Avenue, Suite 215
      Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
      (925) 977-8265

      State Identification Number
      If you have employees, you need toapply for a State Identification Number.

      Sales Tax
      If you charge sales tax, you will need toapply for a Sales Tax Number or Resale Number.

      For more information, contact the U.S. Customs Import Specialist at (415) 705-4440.

      (Video) How to Get a Business License in California | Do I Need a Small Business License in California

      Better Business Bureau

      (510) 238-1000
      California Secretary of State
      Main number
      Limited Liability Co., Limited Partnerships, Trade and Service Names
      (916) 653-3595
      Contractors State License Board (800) 321-2752
      Child Care Licensing & Fingerprinting
      Community Care
      1515 Clay Street, Suite 1102
      Oakland, CA 94612
      (510) 622-2602
      Small Business Development Center
      (Formerly called Business Resource Center, Private Industry Council of CCC)
      (925) 646-5377

      Avenu Insights & Analytics

      The City of Hercules has selected Avenu Insights & Analytics as a partner to assist the City’s staff in the collection of business license fees beginning with license year 2018.

      If you have questions regarding the business license process, contact Avenu Insights & Analytics toll free at (866) 240-3665

      Download Here

      New Business Application (PDF)

      Fee Schedule and FAQs(PDF)

      Business Ordinance (PDF)

      (Video) How to Get a Business License In California


      Renewal Contractors Based in the City of Hercules

      Renewal Contractors Located Outside City Limits of Hercules

      Renewal Exempt Businesses

      (Video) Do I need a Business License? - How to get a Business License

      Renewal Gross Receipts Based Businesses - Retail, Service, Manufacturer, Wholesale, Daycare, Short Term Lodging, Commercial/Residential Property

      Renewal Miscellaneous Business or Professionals


      Does CA require a business license? ›

      FAQs about getting a business license in California

      While the state doesn't issue or require a business operating license, it regulates and requires licenses or permits for some business activities. Most businesses are, however, required to obtain a business operating license with their county and/or city.

      What licenses do you need in order to own a business in California? ›

      Any business owner must obtain a general business license in the city in which your business is located. Some California cities refer to a business license as a business tax certificate. Businesses that are operated in unincorporated sections of the state must obtain their license or tax certificate on a county basis.

      How much does a CA business license cost? ›

      In general, most CA small businesses will pay between $50 and $100 for a general business license. Larger corporations may be subject to charges based on their projected revenue.

      What type of business license do I need? ›

      A general license is required for you to run your business in almost every state. They're often issued by the Department of Revenues and Secretary of States—whichever office is in charge of business registrations.

      Can you operate a business without business permit? ›

      The Business Permit is an important compliance document for businesses in the Philippines. Registered businesses should not be operating without having an up-to-date Business Permit or else they will face potential sanctions including fines, penalties and business closure.

      What happens if you don't have a business license in California? ›

      Failure to obtain a Business License is a violation of Title 7 of the County of Los Angeles Code and a misdemeanor. Continued failure to comply with the requirements of Title 7 will result in fines and possible legal action.

      Can I start a business without registering it in California? ›

      Business entity filing is not necessary for sole proprietors, but if you intend to form a corporation, limited liability company or partnership, you must file with the California Secretary of State(SOS). All businesses are required to file state income tax with the Franchise Tax Board(FTB).

      Do I need a business license for a home based business in California? ›

      1. General Business License. Any business, including home-based businesses, must obtain a local city or county business license.

      Do I need a business license in every county California? ›

      26 out of 58 counties in California require a basic business license. Before opening your doors to do business you must first obtain this business license along with any professional licenses required by the county.

      Do I need to pay $800 for an LLC in California? ›

      Every LLC that is doing business or organized in California must pay an annual tax of $800. This yearly tax will be due, even if you are not conducting business, until you cancel your LLC. You have until the 15th day of the 4th month from the date you file with the SOS to pay your first-year annual tax.

      How long does a CA business license last? ›

      License Expirations

      Active licenses expire every two years. Inactive licenses expire every four years.

      How much is a LLC license in California? ›

      California LLC Fees and Taxes

      The CA LLC fee is $85, payable to the secretary of state. In addition, a California LLC fee is also due for the statement of information, a document that must be submitted within 90 days of LLC formation and carries a filing cost of $20.

      Do all businesses need to be registered? ›

      All limited companies must register with Companies House, who will make the company information publicly available on their website. This means companies must provide the details of who their shareholders and directors are, as well as file a copy of their annual financial accounts.

      What certifies you as a small business? ›

      The Small Business Administration certification is part of a contracting program that helps small companies compete for federal contracts. The government sets aside some of its contracts (both competitive set-aside and sole-source set-aside contracts) for small businesses each year to limit competition.

      Can I run a business from my garage? ›

      There isn't necessarily anything stopping you from running a business from your garage, but you'll need to ask permission depending on your type of property, as we've outlined above.

      What will happen if I don't register my business? ›

      Aside from being made liable for deficiency taxes and penalties, taxpayers who fail to register with the BIR are subject to fines of between P5,000 and P20,000, and imprisonment of between six months and two years.

      What are the 5 main risk types that face businesses? ›

      Here are five types of business risk that every company should address as part of their strategy and planning process.
      • Security and fraud risk. ...
      • Compliance risk. ...
      • Operational risk. ...
      • Financial or economic risk. ...
      • Reputational risk.
      16 Jun 2021

      What are the consequences of not registering your business? ›

      Customers could be left to draw the conclusion that if the business did not follow procedures to operate legally, they might be involved in illegal activities and so you cannot grow or compete for big jobs that would require verification of business registrations.

      Do I need business license? ›

      Anyone thinking of opening a business in Dubai will need to get a Dubai trade license. This is one of the most important steps new businesses take when starting a company in the area.

      Do Sole proprietors need a business license in California? ›

      In California, you don't have to take special steps to register your business with the California Secretary of State if you operate as a sole proprietorship. You're simply a sole proprietor once you begin doing business – and earning business income. California doesn't require a statewide business operating license.

      Why is a business license important? ›

      In addition to protecting your business legally, licenses can boost credibility and allow you to apply for citywide funding. Moreover, if your company has staff or sells taxable products or services, you also need to register with the taxing authorities.

      Can I sell products without LLC? ›

      In short, no. You do not need an LLC to sell on Amazon. You can start selling immediately under your name as a sole proprietor. If you are beginning to explore ecommerce and want to test the waters of selling on Amazon, having a sole proprietorship is perfectly fine.

      How long does it take to get a business license in California? ›

      How long does the approval process take? Review and investigation of a completed license application may take up to 45 days for a General Business License. An application is considered completed when all required information and fees have been submitted.

      Can I operate a business from my home California? ›

      When you operate a home-based business and sell merchandise from your home, you must register with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) for a seller's permit and file and pay sales tax on your taxable sales unless a specific exclusion applies.

      Can you run a private business from home? ›

      You will need to consider who you will need to obtain permission from to run a business from your home. For example, if you are renting the property, you will need to check that you are allowed to run a business from the property – this may be prohibited under the terms of your tenancy agreement.

      Can I run small business from home? ›

      You can run almost any type of business from home as long as your state and local laws allow it. Some types of businesses might be restricted or regulated. For example, some states limit how many children can be in your care if you start a home day care center.

      What counts as a Small business California? ›

      Small businesses are defined for this profile as firms employing fewer than 500 employees.

      What qualifies as a California business? ›

      We consider you to be “doing business” if you meet any of the following: Engage in any transaction for the purpose of financial gain within California. Are organized or commercially domiciled in California.

      How often do you have to register your business in California? ›

      Every corporation and limited liability company is required to file a Statement of Information either every year or every two years as applicable. The Secretary of State sends a reminder to the business entity approximately three months prior to the date its filing is due.

      How do I avoid LLC tax in California? ›

      Can I avoid the California Franchise Tax? There's no way for a registered business to legitimately avoid the California Franchise Tax. Sole proprietors and general partnerships don't have to pay the California Franchise Tax, but they also don't have any personal liability protection.

      Should you pay yourself in an LLC? ›

      There's no need to pay yourself as an employee. If you're a part of a multi-member LLC, you can also pay yourself by taking a draw as long as your LLC is a partnership. If it's an S corporation or C corporation, you and other LLC members will have to be paid as employees.

      How do I pay myself a LLC in California? ›

      4 Ways To Pay Yourself From an LLC
      1. Pay Yourself as a W-2 Employee. For many LLC owners, the most advantageous way to receive payment is to treat yourself as an employee. ...
      2. Earn Profit Distributions. ...
      3. Pay Yourself as a 1099 Independent Contractor. ...
      4. Keep the Money in the Business.
      30 Sept 2022

      Do I need multiple business licenses in California? ›

      For example, if your business is based in multiple cities or counties, you will need to establish a business license at your primary location and then obtain any additional business licenses in the other cities and counties you do business in.

      Does an LLC expire in California? ›

      Once your LLC's affairs have been wound up, it's time to legally terminate its existence. You do this by filing a termination document with the California Secretary of State. If all the LLC members vote to dissolve, as is usually the case, you can file a Certificate of Cancellation (Form LLC-4/7).

      How much does it cost to renew a business license in California? ›

      The tax you owe can be calculated using the rates on your renewal notice. You can also see the FY 2022-23 schedule of tax rates (Section V), approved by the City Council and effective July 1, 2021. You must also pay a $28 administration fee and the $4 State AB1379 fee.

      How much can an LLC write off? ›

      If you have $50,000 or less in startup costs and are in your first year of business, the IRS allows you to deduct $5,000 in startup costs and $5,000 in organization costs as a tex deduction. If your startup expenses exceed $50,000, the total deduction will be reduced by however much your expenses exceed $50,000.

      Can I file an LLC by myself in California? ›

      In California, you can submit your Articles of Organization online, by mail, or in person. You can fill out and submit the Articles of Organization yourself or hire us to do it for you for $170 total ($150 plus the $20 statement of informaion fee) and you'll get one year of Registered Agent Service, too.

      Is it worth having an LLC in California? ›

      The key benefit of forming a limited liability company (LLC) in California is limited liability protection. Limited liability can protect your personal assets in the event your business is sued or can't pay its debts. Other California LLC benefits include: Pass-through taxation.

      Can a small business be registered? ›

      For most small businesses, registering your business is as simple as registering your business name with state and local governments.

      Who are exempt from registering their business? ›

      The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has exempted small business owners who earn P250,000 and below annually from registering their business with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

      Can you register a business alone? ›

      Yes. According to the CIPC, in terms of the Companies Act, 2008, a company may be registered with or without a company name.

      What certification is easiest to get? ›

      Easy certifications to obtain
      • First aid certifications. ...
      • Project management certifications. ...
      • Software certifications. ...
      • Government certifications. ...
      • Notary public certification. ...
      • Forklift operator license. ...
      • Computer programming certifications. ...
      • Marketing certifications.

      What is a certified business license? ›

      Business licenses are permits issued by government agencies that allow individuals or companies to conduct business within the government's geographical jurisdiction. It is the authorization to start a business issued by the local government.

      What business certifications are worth it? ›

      You can put any one of these certifications on your resume, and it will help you stand out, no matter where you want to work.
      • Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) ...
      • Project Management Professional (PMP) ...
      • Professional Certificate in Team Leadership. ...
      • Salesforce. ...
      • HubSpot Inbound Marketing.

      Can residential property be used for business purposes? ›

      Ultimately, the answer is yes. It is legal to run a business from a residential property, but some guidelines must be followed. For starters, the property must remain primarily residential, meaning that a maximum of 40% of it can be used for business purposes.

      What businesses can you run from anywhere? ›

      7 Fully Remote Businesses You Can Start
      • Content creation services. Interested in a small business membership? ...
      • Translation services. ...
      • Virtual assistant. ...
      • Travel planning. ...
      • Personal shopping. ...
      • Consulting. ...
      • IT and web development.
      16 Feb 2022

      Can I turn my garage into a shop? ›

      The only time your garage conversion will require planning permission is if you extend the building. As a general rule of thumb, if the work that you're carrying out is internal, obtaining planning permission is not required.

      Is a seller's permit the same as a business license in California? ›

      State of California entities

      A seller's permit is different from a business license. All California-based businesses need a local business license. But not all businesses need a seller's permit. In California, a business license (or equivalent) is obtained at the city or county level.

      Do I need to register my out of state business in California? ›

      If you own a business that was created in a state other than California, you will need to qualify or register that business in California if you want to do business there. Here is an overview of the rules on how to qualify your foreign (non-California) limited liability company (LLC) to do business in California.

      Do I need to register my business name in California? ›

      Sole proprietors in California don't have to register at the state level. But they must file a fictitious business name statement at the county level.

      What's the difference between business permit and business license? ›

      In most countries, employees and other workers get permits in order to allow them to work in a certain industry. Licenses, on the other hand, are used to allow businesses to start operating. The issuance of permits and licenses is an essential method for helping states in the regulation of invasive items or services.

      Do you need a permit to sell things in California? ›

      Making sales of merchandise, goods, or other items in California without first getting a seller's permit violates the law and subjects you to fines and penalties. California law requires a seller's permit be held for warehouse locations when: the retailer has one or more sales offices in this state, the sale is ...

      Can out of state LLC do business in California? ›

      A foreign (out-of-state) LLC can be registered to do business in California by filing an Application to Register a Foreign LLC with the Secretary of State's office, along with a current Certificate of Good Standing, and paying all associated fees.

      Do I need a local and state business license? ›

      It is required for a business to operate lawfully in its state. This license registration is typically done with the Secretary of State's office. You'll have to register your business name along with the business address.

      Can I live in California and register my business in another state? ›

      Can California residents register an LLC for an online business in a state they don't live in? As a California resident, you are free to register the LLC for your online business in any state.

      Is it legal to run a business from home in California? ›

      Anyone can start a home-based business in California but it is always important to check local zoning laws and regulations first. It is important because if you start a home business without checking zoning regulations then your business can be red flagged by zoning officials and this can even lead to penalties.

      What legally counts as a business? ›

      A legal entity is any company or organization that has legal rights and responsibilities, including tax filings. It is a business that can enter into contracts either as a vendor or a supplier and can sue or be sued in a court of law.

      What is classified a small business? ›

      less than $50 million in annual revenue, fewer than 100 employees at the end of the financial year and/or less than $25 million in consolidated gross assets at the end of the financial year are the requirements for this category.


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