Business License FAQ

Do I need a Business License? 

The City Municipal Code states that no person shall engage in business or represent and carry on a business, trade, profession or occupation in the city without first having obtained a license from the City. A separate license must be obtained for each branch establishment or location and for each separate type of business at the same location.


Can I get a temporary business license? 

The City issues a business license for a 12 month calendar period. The City does not prorate for a partial year of business. 


Will my information be sold as a mailing list? 

No. The City of Sierra Madre does not produce business information for the purpose of mailing lists. According to the State of California Public Records Act the City of Sierra Madre must provide the non-confidential information of all businesses that may be obtained by anyone for purchase.


What if my business is home-based?

Every business conducted from a home in the City of Sierra Madre must have BOTH a City business license and a home occupation permit. Home occupation permits are obtained from the Planning and Community Preservation Department. The home occupation permit must be submitted with your business license application. The Planning Department will review the type of business you are conducting to ensure that it is allowed within a residential area and will not impact the surrounding neighborhood.


Who needs a Business License?

A business license is required for any person or business making a physical presence in our City conducting business. Whether the business is headquartered here in a commercial location, out of a home office, or headquartered outside of the City, but coming into our City to conduct business. Any individual, corporation, sole proprietor, partnership or any entity that wishes to conduct a business within the City of Sierra Madre must secure a business license. City law states that no person shall engage in business or transact and carry on a business, trade, profession, calling or occupation in the City without having procured a license from the City to do so or without complying with any and all applicable provisions of the City ordinance relating to business license. (A separate license is required for each branch or location of business.)


Step 1: Determine the business site location and obtain the required permits.

Selecting the right location for your business is crucial to its success. For this reason, the City's Planning and Community Preservation Department has specific zoning requirements for different types of businesses. Check with planning at 626-355-7138 to determine if the type of business you wish to operate is allowed in the desired location and what, if any, permits you will need to obtain. If your business is not permitted in the zoning district you have chosen, planners can advise you of the proper zoning district(s) for your business. 

Home Occupation Permits are required for businesses conducted from a residence. Applications for such a permit can be obtained from the front counter at City Hall. All Home Occupation Permit applications are reviewed by the Development Services Director.


Step 2: Determine a business name.

If the name you choose for your business is anything other than your own legal surname, California state law requires you to file a fictitious name statement in order to ensure that the public knows with whom they are conducting business.


Step 3: Determine whether you need a resale number.

A resale number is a requirement for any one conducting business as a seller of tangible property. A resale number can be obtained through the State Board of Equalization at 626-480-7200.


Step 4: Obtain any permits or licenses required by state or federal government for your business.

The state and federal governments have additional requirements for businesses. Certain businesses are required to obtain permits from the Department of Consumer Affairs and/or state and local environmental agencies.


Step 5: Apply for your business license.

After you have obtained the required permits and have received the Planning and Community Preservation Department's approval for your business location, you can apply for your business permit and license. Applications can be obtained in person at Sierra Madre City Hall, 232 West Sierra Madre Blvd. Monday - Thursday 7:30am - 5:30pm or online.