This page provides information on doing business in Alameda County, California. Please see Starting a Business in Alameda County for a guide produced by the Alameda County Library and the Alameda County Community Development Agency.

The following information is only intended to assist small businesses in accessing publicly available information on the regulation and licensing of small businesses in Alameda County. For an official interpretation of legal and tax regulations regarding your business at your location, we encourage you to consult with a state licensed attorney and a certified public accountant.

Fictitious Business Name Filing

Most businesses in Alameda County will be required to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement. Check with the agency that issues business licenses in your municipality to verify the need for a Fictitious Business Name Statement.

A fictitious business name, in the case of a sole proprietorship or partnership, is a name that does not include the full name(s) of the individual(s), or a name that suggests the existence of additional owners (e.g. Associates, and Sons, etc.). In the case of a corporation, a fictitious business name is any name other than the full corporate name as shown in the articles of incorporation.

After the fictitious business name statement has been filed with the county clerk, the statement must be published in an Alameda County newspaper of general circulation in the area where the business is to be conducted. The statement must be published once a week for four consecutive weeks with five days between each date of publication. Note that you will also need to file an affidavit of publication with the county clerk within 30 days after the completion of the publication cycle.

In Alameda County, Fictitious Business Name Filing is done through the Alameda County Clerk-Recorder’s Office in Oakland:

Alameda County Clerk-Recorder’s Office
1106 Madison Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: 510-272-6362

For more information, please see the Fictitious Business Name Filing page on the Alameda County Website:

Employee Identification Number

If you have employees or operate your business as a corporation or partnership, you need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). There is no charge to obtain the EIN.

Apply for an EIN Here.

More information regarding Employee Indentifcation Numbers can be found Here.

State Licenses, Permits and General Information

In California, some businesses and occupations are required to be licensed by the state. For a breakdown of license contacts by profession, please see the Licensee Information page on the Department of Consumer Affairs Website:

Depending on the specific type of business or manufacturing operation, some businesses may be required to obtain permits covering various construction, operating, production or disposal procedures. For “one-stop” state license information, contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Their consumer service representatives can answer consumer and licensee questions in 140 different languages, assist in the filing of complaints, mail helpful publications and refer callers to the appropriate government or private agency for more assistance.

NOTE: Even if you are professionally licensed by the state, local governments will also require a (municipal) business license to conduct business in their city. Contact your county clerk and city clerk to learn about local requirements.

Sellers Permit:
You must obtain a seller’s permit if you:

  • Are engaged in business in California and
  • Intend to sell or lease tangible personal property that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail.

The requirement to obtain a seller’s permit applies to individuals as well as corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies. Both wholesalers and retailers must apply for a permit. There is no cost to register for a permit.

If you do not hold a seller’s permit and will make sales during temporary periods, such as Christmas tree sales and rummage sales, you must apply for a temporary seller’s permit. Such permits are normally issued to selling operations lasting no longer than 90 days at one location.

Register for a Seller’s Permit Here. 

Find more information about Seller’s Permits Here. 

Zoning and Building Codes and Ordinances

When starting or expanding a business, it is important to verify that the facilities you use are in compliance with all laws:

  • Contact your city assessor or township clerk to assure compliance with local zoning codes.
  • Contact the local building inspector to assure compliance with regulations affecting construction (e.g., building, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing codes, rules on construction, alterations, demolitions, occupancy or use of building).
  • There may also be county zoning requirements. Home-based businesses frequently face special requirements.

Contact your county clerk and city clerk to learn about local Zoning and Building Codes and Ordinances. In Alameda County, you can contact the County Assessor at:

Alameda County Assessor’s Office
1221 Oak Street, Room 145
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-272-3787

Other Resources

The Alameda County Library has an excellent content section on their Website that deals with the topic of starting a business in Alameda County:
Procedure for Starting a Business (in Alameda County)

Municipal Business Licenses and Permit Contacts in Alameda County

Additional Resources:

  • Individuals wishing to start a business should attend the Starting a Business Seminar or a Legal Issues Seminar – check our Calendar for upcoming dates.
  • The state run CalGold Website is an excellent starting point for information on business licensing, permits, and regulation. 
  • For more specific questions regarding licenses or permits please call the East Bay SBDC at 510-516-4118