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Get Necessary Permits & Pay Fees

There are several permits, fees, and other governmental requirements for businesses to legally operate.  Make sure you review these and make yourself legal! 

The following are standard permits required for common types of businesses. However, this is not a complete list for all types of businesses.  Make sure to check CalGold website to get the permits needed for your type of business, as described at the bottom of this page.

City of Oakland Requirements

  1. Building Permits                                                        Building permits are documents which are obtained through the Office of Planning and Building authorizing the start of construction or remodeling of a building in the City of Oakland. There are four types of permits which may be required:         1) Building; 2) Electrical; 3) Plumbing; 4) Mechanical              Get more details from Building Services

  2. Rent Adjustment
    If you rent out one or more residential units, you may be subject to the City of Oakland’s Rent Program service fee of $30 per year per unit.
    Get details here

  3. Excess Litter Fee
    If you are operating one of the types of businesses below, you may be subject to the Excess Litter Fee.  Get more details in this PDF file
    • Fast food restaurants
    • Convenience markets
    • Gasoline station markets
    • Liquor stores

  4. Peddler/Solicitor Permit
    If you intend to sell or solicit door-to-door, you must obtain a peddler permit.  Obtain the permit application at:
    Oakland Police Department
    455 7th Street, Room 306
    Oakland, 94607.
    Bring the completed Peddler Permit to the Business Tax office.

  5. Fire Department Permits
    If you are starting a new business, or are expanding an existing business in Oakland which includes the operation, and/or storage and/or manufacturing of a wide variety of items, you are required to submit a permit application to the Fire Prevention Office. Your application will be reviewed, an inspection of your business will be conducted, and a determination will be made as to the issuance of the permit.

    Important note: Business owners are advised to
    meet with the Oakland Fire Department early on in your planning stage, as many permits are rejected annually due to wrong use code and other issues found during the inspection phase. Meeting with the Oakland Fire Department from the onset will save you time and money as you are starting or expanding your business. Don't assume that your business doesn't apply!
    Get more details from the Fire Prevention Office


Other Government Requirements

  1. Fictitious Business Name
    You must register your business name with the Alameda County Clerk-Recorder's Office.
    More details from Alameda County Clerk-Recorder's Office

  2. Retail/Wholesale Sales
    If you will be selling retail or wholesale items which require collection of state sales taxes, you need a Sellers Permit. 
    More details from California State Board of Equalization

  3. Food Establishments
    If you will be serving and selling food, you must obtain a health permit before applying for your Business Tax Certificate.  
    More details from Alameda County Environmental Health

  4. Alcoholic Beverage Sales
    If you intend to sell alcoholic beverages, you must have an Alcoholic Beverage License.  
    More details from California state Alcoholic Beverage Control .

  5. CalGold - State List of Permits for Specific Business Types
    CalGold is a state-operated website that provides a list of the regional, state, and federal licenses and permits required for businesses in each California city. Find the Oakland list on their website at  www.calgold.ca.gov


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