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Business Licensing & Special Business Types

BUSINESS LICENSING

Every* business must have a City business license (aka, business certificate) and pay city taxes in order to operate within the Petaluma City limits.

You must apply for the business license before you open your business and any time you move or open a new location with Petaluma. Licenses must be renewed annually.

To download the application form and learn more about the process, go to our business certificate and tax page.

* Home-based child care businesses are the only business type that does not need a business licenses. However, they do need other city permits (see below).

FAMILY DAY CARE

Family Day Care businesses require several permits depending on their size and whether they are located in a home or a commercial space.  Start with the Planning Division, 11 English Street, Petaluma CA 94952 or email petalumaplanning@cityofpetaluma.org.

Home based child care only is exempt from a City business license (see State Senate Bill 234 for details).

Taxi Permit

In addition to a business license, a special taxi permit is required to operate a taxi within the City limits.  Applicants must complete an application, get fingerprinted, and be drug tested by an outside party. Taxi permits are valid for one year and must be renewed annually. This permit takes about two weeks to process and is handled by the Police Department.

Get more info: New Taxi Permit and Taxi Permit Renewal

MASSAGE REGISTRATION

Massage professionals must register with the Police Department annually and show proof of California Massage Therapy Council certification. Establishments that offer massage services must register with the Police Department annually and may be subject to a fee-based background check or other requirements.

This permit takes about 30 days to process. Learn more here.

COMMERCIAL CANNABIS PERMIT

This permit is required for businesses that incorporate any of the three types of cannabis activities allowed in the City: testing services; product manufacturing (topicals or edibles); or delivery-only retail. This permit must be renewed annually and is handled by the Police Department.

Non-refundable fees are required to apply for the permit and the annual renewal. Refer to the Fees page. This permit takes a minimum of 60 days for review.

Learn more here.

MOBILE VENDOR

Mobile vendors are businesses that have a business on wheels that sets up at a specific location, either permanently or on certain days of the week. Examples include food trucks, coffee carts, and mobile knife-sharpening operations.

The City allows mobile vendors to set up in just a few locations:

  • On private property with a conditional use permit
  • Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds
  • Special events, such as Butter and Egg Days Parade
  • Established Food-Truck Venues, such The Block and the Farmers' Market

Contact the Planning Department for requirements and suggestions.

SOLICITOR/PEDDLER PERMIT

Solicitors and peddlers are people who move from location to location in the City, selling their goods or services. Examples include an ice cream truck or fruit vendor.

These businesses type must get a business license and a special permit that involves a background check and proof of other applicable permits/licenses are required.

This permit takes two weeks to process and is valid for 120 days. It is handled by the Police Department.

Get More Info: New Solicitor/Peddler Permit and Solicitor/Peddler Permit Renewal.

SHORT TERM VACATION RENTALS

If you are renting all or a portion of your dwelling unit for stays less than 30 days you will need to get a Short Term Vacation Rental Permit from the Planning Division before your Business Certificate can be issued.

Short Term Vacation Rental operators must pay Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT) monthly and must renew their permit, as well as their business license, annually.

Download the Short Term Vacation Rental Permit checklist and application form.

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