Starting your Business

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Buy Local LogoThe City began a Buy Local campaign to encourage residents to do just that...buy local! By supporting our local businesses, we’re supporting the jobs these businesses provide to our friends and neighbors; the other local businesses that supply them and the jobs they create; services and programs provided by our City; and we’re helping the environment.

The City of Monterey is anxious to assist new businesses to assure their successful location in Monterey. Starting a new business requires a major commitment of time, energy, and capital. You will also be required to obtain a business license, and other required zoning, planning, and building permits, depending on the nature of your business. Most important to your success is the development of a business plan, which describes how your business will be managed and operated. A business plan is also essential if you are seeking financing for your business.
Outline of Permits

Before selecting a particular location, check with the City of Monterey's Planning Division to make sure that your business meets Zoning Code requirements. Certain areas of the City are zoned for Commercial and Industrial Uses. Additional requirements for the operations of a business are also included in the Zoning Code. You need to verify that the zoning classification of your proposed location allows the kind of business you plan to operate. Contact the Planning Office, (831) 646-3885 for more information.

Some commercial businesses must also obtain a Use Permit to operate in the City of Monterey. Use Permits enable the City to review and control the operations of businesses which might have a detrimental impact on other nearby businesses or residents. Such businesses include fast food restaurants, businesses providing live entertainment, and/or businesses with late hours of operation adjacent to residential areas. Contact the Planning Office,(831) 646-3885 to determine whether or not you will need to obtain a Use Permit.

Some businesses which have few or no impacts are allowed to be operated out of an existing residence. Such businesses must obtain a Home Occupation Permit. Additional information can be obtained from the Planning Office, (831) 646-3885. Click here to download a project application (PDF).

All new signs require a sign permit, and may require approval from the Architectural Review Committee. Information on signage requirements can be obtained from the Planning Office, (831) 646-3885.

Construction of a new building or an addition to an existing building will require approval of the Architectural Review Committee and building permits. Planning Staff can provide you with information Regarding Planning and Building Code requirements for your proposed business. Contact the Planning Office, (831) 646-3885 for more information.

Once your project has been approved, you need to contact the Building Safety Division to make sure your proposed project meets current building code and fire safety requirements. All new construction must be approved by the Permits & Inspections Office and may require review by the Fire Marshall before you can occupy your new or improved space and open your business. For more info contact the Permits & Inspection Office,
(831) 646-3890.

California State Board of Equalization
111 East Navajo Dr. Ste 100
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3003

(Hair stylists and barbers) need to obtain a license before starting their business from the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

Independent Massage Technicians when applying for a business license must provide a copy of a California Massage Therapy Council Certificate.www.camtc.org
Massage Establishments must go through the Monterey Police Dept. before submitting their business license application. Call Monterey Police at (831) 646-5698

applicants must provide a copy of their IRS 501-(c)(3) form designating them as a non-profit. Information can be found at www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits