- Business


To set up your business in SAN FRANCISCO, you can form an LLC (limited liability company), though it is not a requirement. We assume you have already have registered your business with the State of California, and now you are ready to tackle your requirements with the country of San Francisco. To get your business off the ground locally, you’ll need to take the following steps:

1) Get The Business Tax Certificate

It does not matter in which business entity you are; everyone who is involved in doing business in San Francisco has to register their business name at SF Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector (TTX) within 15 days of commencing business in the City, to obtain a Business Registration Certificate. Even if you are tax-exempt nonprofits, BTC is an essential thing before you take a start. The only business owners who are exempt from this requirement are some landlords and taxi drivers. You can apply for a Business Registration Certificate online through the San Francisco Business Portal. After filling and submitting your application, you’ll receive an email where you need to make an electronic signature. You will also receive instructions on how to pay your fee.

The application requires some basic information about your business and some more complicated calculation. You need to be prepared with, Name (of a business), Business Tax ID, Organization Type, Date (you started your business), Ownership Details, Officer Information, Contact Information, Location Name, Tax/Fee Types, Business activity, Estimated Payroll Expense and Estimated Gross Receipts.

2) File A Business Property Statement

San Francisco collects the tax from owned and leased business property. You need to declare all of your business property every year by April 1st. According to, Assessor’s Office, “Business property is tangible property owned, claimed, used, possessed, managed, or controlled in the conduct of a trade or business.” Basically, every machinery you use in your business is taxable.

Filing a business property online is the easiest, fastest way to file your San Francisco Business Property Statement. Perhaps, a few business types are not eligible for online filing. Keeping an email address for your business will make it eligible. You have to travel a lot for all this. That’s for business for this used business travel deals and discounts for the US.

3) Register FBN (Fictitious Business Name)

Registering a fictitious business name isn’t essential, but whether you are a sole proprietorship, doing general partnership running an LLC, corporation, or limited partnership, FBN does have its advantages. Sometimes it depends on which place you operate. Many regions make it easier to get set up with your very own DBA.

  • First, choose a name,
  • Check if it is available (not taken by anyone).
  • Request the necessary paperwork.

When you have secured your DBA name, you’ll need to spread the word by publishing a notice in a local newspaper within your base of operation. In San Francisco, the Office of the County Clerk handles the fictitious business name process. You can print your form online and either present it at an office or mail it in, after which you’ll receive a certified copy.

4) File for Publication Proof

After filing an FBN name, now you need to publish it in a local newspaper operating in your base. You’ll have to publish once a week for a month, like for four consecutive weeks. After that, you’ll have to file Proof of Publication with the SF County Clerk. The cost of publication depends on where you decide to publish. The prices typically start around $40 and go up to a few hundred dollars. There’s no benefit to publishing your name in a more expensive newspaper, so call around the cheapest one you can find.

5) Apply for The Permits (If any)

San Francisco is a beautiful and money-making city. It is also highly regulated. Depending on where you are doing business and what kind of business you are doing, you probably need to apply for additional, specialized permits. It includes,

1) Home Occupancy

San Francisco is one of the expensive cities in the world. However, it doesn’t require a Home Occupancy Permit, unlike some cities. Else you’ll need to follow a few rules:

  • No client visits
  • No on-site employees who don’t also live in the house
  • No signs or advertising
  • No more than 25% of the house may be used for businesses.

2) Cottage Food Operation (CFO)

Businesses are allowed to produce and sell homemade food. Businesses that make low-risk food are eligible. To make and sell food out of your home, you’ll need to apply for a Cottage Food Operator permit. If you plan on selling directly to customers, then your business is considered “Class A.” You won’t have to undergo any inspections but have to take a class on preparing food and obtaining a CFO permit. It will cost $150 to apply for a CFO permit.

3) Street Artist Certificate

Do you make handmade leather bags or jewelry at an outdoor market? You are required to apply for a San Francisco Street Artist or Craftsperson Certificate. It costs you $20 to apply for. They process 25 applications per month, and you can’t jump to the front of the line, so you may end up waiting a few months, especially during busy seasons.

Author Bio

Audrey James

My name is Audrey James, an MBA student at the University of Houston. Currently, I am writing for a money-saving blog I spend my time reading books, and in the gyms, I love pets. I have my two pets; their names are Jerod and Cater; both are pretty much happy like me.


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