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City Business Licenses

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business license counter hours


7am- 6pm Monday- Thursday


starting a business in Lemon grove

Any business or individual conducting business in the City Lemon Grove is required to obtain a business license.  This includes businesses licensed in another jurisdiction conducting business in the City of Lemon Grove. 

The issuance of a Business License does not supersede the zoning or building regulations of the City. It is highly 
recommended that you verify compliance with the City Zoning and Building codes before applying for a Business 
License. It is the business owner’s responsibility to ensure it meets all applicable zoning and building codes 
before conducting business. If you are contemplating construction work (tenant improvement) at your business 
you may need a building permit. If your business is found to be in non-compliance with zoning or building codes 
you and the property owner may receive a code enforcement action and/or a citation . 

1. Confirm City Zoning, Building, and Sign Regulations 

Zoning – Prior to signing a lease or contract you should contact the City’s Planning Department to confirm the 
type of business you plan to operate complies with all zoning regulations of the desired location. 

Prohibited, Restricted, and Regulated Businesses – Several business types, including but not limited to: bars or liquor stores, auto body shops, adult bookstores, and tobacco stores are prohibited in certain zones or subject to certain zoning requirements, conditional use permits, or other restrictions. Additional regulations are also required for schools and churches. 

Building Use – Prior to signing a lease or contract you should contact the City’s Building Department to confirm 
the desired business use of your proposed building meets all applicable building codes. As an example, schools 
and meeting places have specialized building requirements that must be met prior to operation of you business. 
Building modifications or construction may require a building permit. 

Sign Permit – All business signs must be approved by the City. New signage will require a Sign Permit. A sign 
permit application must include the size of the proposed sign(s) and show the construction detail and how it will 
be attached to a building. Temporary signs must also be approved and permitted by the City Planning 

For more information on Zoning, Building, and Signage see the City of Lemon Grove Municipal Code HERE at 
or contact City staff at 619-825-3805.


2. Complete a City Business License Application 

All businesses or individuals conducting business within the city limits must have a current business license. This includes businesses licensed in another jurisdiction but conducting business in the City of Lemon Grove, rental properties that have three or more units, and businesses that are conducted out of a home or apartment. 
Applications for a Business License can be obtained by submitting an application to City Hall. Click here to print a copy of the business license form.


The following is helpful information, but is not required prior to obtaining a City of Lemon Grove 

A. File a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the County of San Diego 
If the name you choose for your business is your own legal surname and a one-word description (such as 
John Smith Roofing) then you are not required to register a fictitious business name. If you choose a business 
name that does not meet these parameters (such as JS Expert Roofing) and your business is not registered with 
the state, then state law requires you to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the County of San Diego 
within 40 days of first transacting business. 

For more information contact the County Assessor website  or contact the County Clerk’s office at: 

 County of San Diego, Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk’s Office 
 1600 Pacific Highway, Suite 260, San Diego, CA 92101 

B. Determine the Legal Composition of the Business 
Several legal structures exist in the State of California. Your choice of legal structure will affect your income taxes 
and personal liability. Most businesses start as a Sole Proprietorship or a General Partnership and are generally the least complicated. Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships, Corporations and Limited Liability Companies must register with the Secretary of State. You should contact your own accountant or attorney for advice and assistance in determining the best legal structure for your business. For more information contact: 

Secretary of State – California Business Portal 

C. Obtain any Special Insurance, Licenses or Permits for Special Business types from the Appropriate Agency 
Worker’s Compensation Insurance – In California, every employer is required to carry insurance to cover the 
cost of occupational injuries and illnesses if they have employees (other than the business owner). If you have 
employees (even if you have only one part-time employee) it is mandatory to have worker’s compensation 
insurance. For more information contact an insurance agent or: 

State Compensation Insurance Fund 
 9444 Waples St. 
 San Diego CA 92121 

Special License and Permits – The chosen business activity type determines the licenses and permits needed 
to operate a business legally. Some of the more typical special permit or licenses include those for being a 
re-seller of goods, selling alcohol selling food, selling goods by weight or volume, daycare services, construction, 
or working with hazardous materials. To view a list of more than 200 State regulated Occupations and 
Professional Services that require a special license or permit see the State Department of Consumer Affairs 
website at: 

Sellers Permit/Resale Number – Businesses selling tangible personal property in the State of California need to apply for a Seller’s Permit from the: 

State Board of Equalization 
 1350 Front Street, Room 5047 
 San Diego CA 92101 

Alcohol Beverage License – Apply for an Alcoholic Beverage License if your business has been approved by 
the Planning Department to sell alcohol by contacting: 

 State of California – Department of Alcohol Beverage Control 
 1350 Front Street, Room 5056 
 San Diego CA 92101 

Selling Goods by Weight or Volume – Businesses engaged in selling goods by weight or volume must register the devices with the County Agriculture, Weights and Measures Office. 

 County of San Diego – Agricultural, Weights and Measures Department 
 5555 Overland Ave., Bldg 3 
 San Diego CA 92122 

Public and Environmental Health – Businesses engaged in selling or handling food products, operating a pool 
or spa, handling hazardous materials, underground storage tanks, medical wastes, x-ray equipment, or waste 
handling must obtain a permit with the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health. 

 County of San Diego – Department of Environmental Health 
 1255 Imperial Ave., Third Floor 
 San Diego CA 92101 

D. Federal Identification Number and the necessary information to file you State and Federal income, 
sales, and employment taxes. 

Federal Employer Identification Number – the EIN, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is a 
nine-digit number that the IRS assigns to business entities. The IRS uses this number to identify taxpayers that 
are required to file various business tax returns (Income, Social Security, Medicare). Employers, sole proprietors, 
corporations, partnerships, non-profit organizations, trusts and estates, government agencies, certain individuals 
and other business entities use EINs. Federal Employer ID numbers can be obtained by completing form SS-4 
on-line or calling: 

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 
 San Diego CA 92188 

State Employer Identification Number – Obtain a State Employer Tax Identification Number if your business 
will have employees (other than the owner(s) by contacting: 

 State Board of Equalization 
 1350 Front Street, Room 5047 
 San Diego CA 92101 

State Taxes – For State taxes visit the California Tax Information Center website that is sponsored by California’s 
tax agencies (Board of Equalization, Employment Development Department, and Franchise Tax Board)

 State Board of Equalization 

 Employment Development Department 

 Franchise Tax Board 

Federal Taxes – For Federal tax information and a copy of the “Small Business Resource Guide” an invaluable 
tool to help business owners understand the basics contact: 

 Internal Revenue Service 






Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

  • How do I know if the business I want to open is allowed where I want to locate it?

  • Am I required to have a Business License?

  • We are contractors doing a job within the City of Lemon Grove. Do we need a Business License?

  • How much does a Business License cost?

  • How long does it take to get a Business License?

  • I sold my businesses. How do I close my account?

  • My business changed ownership. Do I need to reapply for the Business License?

  • My business moved to a new location. Do I have to reapply for a Business License?

  • How do I get a resale license / seller’s permit?

  • What is a fictitious name statement?

  • How can I get a permit for massage therapy, holistic health, massage establishment, secondhand dealer, and pawnbroker?

  • How do I get a dog license?

  • I have a service dog. Does it need a license?

  • How do I renew my dog license?

  • How do I claim my dog if it is impounded?

  • What should I do if I find a stray dog?

  • What should I do if I find a stray cat?