Starting a Business

Business License

The Business License Office is open
Monday - Friday, 7:30 am - 5:15 pm
and is located at City Hall (100 N. Garfield Ave) in Room N106.


To access the citywide zoning map, click here. To view the zoning code and a list of zoning designations, click here.
If you have zoning related questions please contact the Planner of the Day (626) 744-6777.


In recent years, the City of Pasadena has increased efforts to encourage the growth of local companies. Part of this effort has included changes in local polices that can result in savings to both entrepreneurs and those improve commercial space.

Business License Starter Rates

Pasadena has competitive business license rates when compared to other California cities and does not charge any gross receipts tax. Many businesses choose to locate in Pasadena because customers are here while others enjoy the entrepreneurial spirit and access to skilled labor. For certain small start-up businesses with the option of locating in any city, Pasadena has an incentive or “ $1 starter rate” in place for these certain new businesses with less than 5 employees. This is a small first year incentive to encourage and thank businesses that start here in the Crown City. Call Economic Development or ask the Business License staff members when you apply. Have your business type (NAICS code) ready.

Fiber Services for Business

The City owns and operates over 50 miles of fiber network within Pasadena. CityFiber services for businesses include:

  • Support during the development process to plan for high speed connectivity
  • Dark fiber links – leased fiber strands – for campuses and businesses that want to manage their own connections between multiple Pasadena locations
  • Fiber Service, including 1 and 10 Gb transport and Internet services
  • Consulting with local businesses regarding their telecommunications options

Power Incentive

To support long term improvements into existing buildings, the City has limited power incentives. Some incentives relate to conservation and others relate to infrastructure upgrades for services over 50Kw. For the latter, these criteria apply:

• Must be eligible type of business ( use NAICS codes)
• Customer must have new or incremental electric service minimum of 50 kW or 10% of existing demand, whichever is greater.
• Customer must pay all electrical interconnection costs prior to electrical work.
• Discounts are limited to a maximum of $100,000 for each customer.
• Customer is required to enter into a contract with the City to take service under this rate schedule.

PWP Rebate Commercial Offerings

Below is a summary of Pasadena Water and Power's their commercial offering for small to medium sized businesses.

Water & Energy Direct Install Program
Qualifying customers who use 50kW or less in electric demand receive up to $7,500 of water and energy-saving equipment installed at no cost.
More Information

Simple Business Rebate Program 
Commercial customers who install efficient equipment in their business may qualify for rebates up to $24,000. Rebates include LED Lighting, HVAC systems and appliances, restaurant equipment and more.
More information

Customized Incentive Program
The Customized Incentive Program helps customers offset upfront costs and improve the bottom line for project-specific incentives for technology not included in the Simple Business Rebate Program.
More information

Water Rebates in Partnership with Metropolitan Water District
In partnership with Metropolitan Water District, PWP offers direct rebates through Socal Water$mart for efficient plumbing fixtures, turf replacement, medical equipment and more.
More Information