• Business-Outreach Banner

Office of the City Manager

  • Basic steps for starting a business in Pasadena

    Step One:

    Contact City Hall and make sure the zoning is correct for your new business address.

    Every business must meet zoning requirements to insure that its business category and site are compatible. Before signing any leases or moving in, check with the Zoning office. cityofpasadena.net/planning/deptorg/curplng/homecp.asp

    The Zoning Office is located at:
    175 North Garfield Avenue
    Pasadena, California 91109
    (626) 744-4152


    Step Two:

    File a fictitious name statement and file your "doing business as" name in a local newspaper.

    Prior to filing a fictitious name statement, it is recommended that you call the Los Angeles County Clerk's Office and determine if in fact your business name is already in use.

    Los Angeles County Clerk
    Permit Assistance Center
    Business Revitalization Center
    201 North Figueroa Street
    Los Angeles, California 90012
    Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.,
    Monday - Friday
    (213) 974-0093

    To file a fictitious name statement, you must contact the local newspaper. The paper will file your DBA statement and publish your new business name. (paper contact link)

    The Pasadena Star-News
    911 East Colorado Boulevard
    Pasadena, California 91106
    (626) 578-6300

    Step Three:

    Contact the State of California to file proper State Tax forms and obtain labor standards for employees. Obtain a State Board of Equalization resale permit, if required.

    • If your business will have employees other than yourself, contact the Employment Development Department for information on state withholding taxes, disability and unemployment insurance.
    • State Board of Equalization for "selling or acquiring any tangible items for repair or use in their business."
    • For businesses employing only the owners, contact the Franchise Tax Board for state withholding and corporation state taxes.
    • Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for your employer identification number. The IRS will also provide a "business person's kit," seminars for new businesses, additional information and required forms.
    • Contact the Small Business Administration which provides financial and management training to assist you in your business operations.
    • Contact information for the above can be found by clicking the Important Contact Information button below.

    Step Four:

    A) If you have followed the first steps, you should be able to supply the City with the following information for a business license:

    • Fictitious name and any County or State permits.
    • State resale permit number from the State Board of Equalization, if required.

    B) Depending on the type of business you plan to conduct, you may be required to have:

    • Health Permit
    • Zoning Inspection
    • Fire Inspection
    • Alcoholic Beverage Permit
    • Contractor's License
    • All necessary Building Permits

    C) When filing for a license, you will need the following to complete the application process:

    • Your business name and address
    • Your business telephone number
    • Description of your business
    • The number of employees on staff
    • The property owner's name and the telephone number of the person to contact in case of an emergency
    • The name, address, and telephone numbers of any contractors who will be involved in the operation of your business
    • Your social security number
    • Your Federal I.D. number
    • Your State employee I.D. number
    • Your Driver's License number
    • A check. The business license clerk will calculate the permit cost based on the type of business and the number of employees.

    City of Pasadena, Business License Office

    100 N. Garfield Avenue, Room N106
    Pasadena, CA  91101
    (626) 744-4166

    Board of Equalization
    1282 Crossroads Parkway
    Industry, California 91715
    (562) 908-5280

    California Department of Consumer Affairs
    400 R Street, Suite 1040
    Sacramento, California 95814
    (800) 952-5210 or (916) 445-1254

    City of Pasadena -- Municipal Services Department
    100 North Garfield Avenue, Room N106
    Pasadena, California 91101
    (626) 744-4166

    Employment Development Department
    Employment Tax Office
    10330 Pioneer Boulevard, Suite 150
    Santa Fe Springs CA 90670
    (888) 745-3886 (toll-free)

    Pasadena Development Corporation
    1015 North Lake Avenue, Suite 105
    Pasadena, California 91104
    (626) 398-9971

    Pasadena Enterprise Center
    1015 North Lake Avenue, Suite 100
    Pasadena, California 91104
    (626) 398-9974

    Pasadena Health Department
    1845 North Fair Oaks Avenue
    Pasadena, California 91103
    (626) 744-6055

    Business Assistance Programs

    Business Improvement Districts 

    Provides services on a self-assessment basis to provide a wide range of services to supplement city services. Such services include security, maintenance, marketing, economic development, and special events amongst others. The city has 3 districts: Old Pasadena, Playhouse and South Lake.

    Ombudsman Services
    Provides coordination services with other City departments, as well as local, regional, county, state and federal agencies. Services may include permit expediting, project coordination and site location assistance. Referral services to appropriate agencies for other technical and financial assistance programs, as well as coordination of such services.

    Technical Assistance
    Reference Service; Specialized Business Research; Customized Resource Lists for Presentations; Computer Database Searches; Online Magazine, Newspaper and Health Indices (InfoTrac); Internet Access; Teleconferencing Facility and Meeting Rooms (for a fee). A Business Librarian is available to discuss the Library’s business sources and services on an individual basis.

    Enterprise Zone
    State program to provide credits such as Hiring Tax Credit, Sales and Use Tax Credit, Business Expense Deduction, 15-Year Net Operating Loss Carryover, Net Interest Deduction for Lenders, and Employee Tax Credit

    Incentive for Historic Preservation
    Provides businesses with limited architectural services, waiving of select development permit fees, and availability of grant funds for the restoration, rehabilitation and preservation of structures conforming to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.

    Incentives for Research and Development Facilities and Businesses
    Provides businesses and facilities with incentives which include priority plan check review and fee reductions or waivers to those who qualify as a Research and Development facility.

    Commercial Energy Auditing Program

    Available as no cost to customers to evaluate the energy efficiency of a facility and provide recommendations for reducing energy costs. Up to $500,000 in rebates for energy saving measures.

    Small Business Loan Program
    Provides technical assistance to support loan requests and business management. Loan program websites are Pasadena Development Corporation and Small Business Administration.

    Small Business Incubators
    Available for start-up and new businesses to provide affordable office space, management support and counseling, shared equipment, conference rooms, receptionist and access to loan programs. Incubators include the Pasadena Enterprise Center, CO2 and the Business Technology Center.

    Storefront Improvement Program  (On hold due to State budget restrictions)
    Pasadena’s Storefront Improvement Program provides assistance to commercial business and property owners in the redevelopment areas and targeted neighborhood improvement areas within the Business Districts of Pasadena. This matching grant storefront improvement program has been implemented to stimulate efforts to improve the street appearance of Pasadena's commercial and business facades and renovation, restoration and preservation of the Pasadena’s many historic buildings.

    Foothill Private Industry Council
    Financial Assistance - Up to 50% reimbursement for wages to a PIC-referred applicant when hired and placed under an on-the-job training program. Other state or federal tax credits may be available for hiring qualified applicants from specially targeted groups. Technical Assistance - Prescreening and recruitment of potential employees using a business’s criteria and development of customized training programs are available at no cost to employers.

    Integrated Waste Management Board
    Financial Assistance – Recycling Marketing Development Zone (RMDZ) Revolving loans provide businesses within these specially designated area 50% of the cost of a project, up to a maximum of $1,000,000 (per quarterly funding period), for purchase of building, equipment or working capital that support the use of post consumer waste material. Maximum term is ten years at below market interest rates.