Business Resources at Your Fingertip

If you want to do business in Santa Monica, there are certain steps you must take. The good news is that thriving businesses in the city include entrepreneurial start-ups and corporations. From retailers to hospitals, Santa Monica has it all. There are four business districts:  The Bayside Business Owners, Montana Association, Main Street Association and Pico Boulevard Association. In addition, the City works in association with two non-profit corporations, the Bayside District Corporation and the Pier Restoration Corporation.

Chamber of Commerce

The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce advocates and represents business' interest on issues affecting the community. Special committees and task forces of the Chamber address common interests of Chamber members, including legislative, environmental, and legal issues. The Chamber also sponsors the Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE), whose volunteers provide business counseling at no charge.


Small Businesses Get Big Boosts

The Santa Monica College Small Business  Development Center (310-434-3566) is part of a 38-center network throughout California. They offer an array of services, from assisting with small business start-up to promoting minority and women-owned businesses.  On the topic of bucks for small businesses, The California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program guarantees loans up to a maximum amount of $500,000. Contact the Pacific Coast Regional Development Corporation (213-739-2999) or the Hancock Urban Development Corporation (213-382-4300) for more information.

Keeping it Clean
and Green

The City provides cost-effective refuse collection and recycling via the Solid Waste Management Division (310) 395-9778. The Office of Sustainability and the Environment distributes information on hazardous waste management, underground storage tanks and other environmental programs (310) 458-2213. If you want to breathe easier, contact the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), which offers technical help, on-site consultation and a special loan guarantee program. For information on the Air Quality Assistance Fund Loan Guarantee, call (800) 388-2121. . If you have a problem with graffiti, call (310) 458-8500.

Starting a Business in
Santa Monica

A business license is required for all businesses in the City of Santa Monica. Contact the Business License Division, 1685 Main Street.  (310) 458-8745. Some businesses also require a state license. For information on state requirements, write to the California Department of Commerce, Office of Small Business, 801 K Street, Suite 1700, Sacramento, CA 95814. Business licenses must be displayed at the fixed location of the business. There is a $25.25 fee for application for each business license.

In addition, a Home Occupation Permit is required if a business is conducted in a residence.  People who are disabled may request a certificate of exemption from the payment of the business license tax for a retail, manufacturing or wholesaling business, if the gross receipts of the business are less then $60,000. 

If you're a retailer or manufacturer, contact the district office of the State Board of Equalization (916) 227-6700. If you want to hire employees, contact the Tax Office of the State Employment Development Department (310) 574-6464, and the U.S. Internal Revenue Services (800) 829-1040 to apply for an employer's identification number. 


For incorporation information, contact the Corporate Division of the Secretary of State, 1230 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.  For limited partnerships, contact the Limited Partnerships Division, Secretary of State, 923 12th Street, 3rd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814. Fictitious business names are filed with the Los Angeles County Clerk. (562) 462-2177

For patents and copyrights, get "General Information Concerning Patents" from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402. Copyright information can be obtained by calling (202) 707-3000. Trademarks and service marks may be registered with the Secretary of State.

If you're seeking funding and have operated a business for five years or more, call the Hancock Urban Development Corporation at (213) 382-4300, or Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Center at (213) 739-2999.

Small and minority businesses may receive preferred benefits by registering with the State Office of Small and Minority Business, Department of General Services. Ask for their free publication, A Guide to State Contracting. Call the California Attorney General's office at  (916) 322-3360 for questions about bids for minorities, women and disabled persons.

For questions about sales taxes and sellers permits, call the Board of Equalization at (800) 400-7115. To form a domestic business corporation in California, submit articles of incorporation to the Secretary of State's Office (213) 897-3062.

If you are planning to operate a business under a name other then your own, you need to file a "Fictitious Business Name Statement." Forms are available at the County Registrar-Recorders Office (800) 815-2666.

A great deal of work goes into starting and maintaining a business, but taking a step-by-step approach will get your doors open faster and make your business strong. Don't go it alone!

Finding Solutions for Homelessness

If you’re a business owner who is concerned about homelessness, there are compassionate ways to address the issue in the City of Santa Monica. The police department’s Homeless Liaison Program (HLP) is comprised of a team of officers dedicated to homelessness.

The officers provide tips to businesses on how to deal with homelessness-related issues such as panhandling, trespassing, and safety. The HLP team also places homeless people in housing and shelter situations, providing basic needs for those living on the streets. Call HLP at (310-) 458-8953.

Another group fighting homelessness in Santa Monica is Chrysalis, a non-profit that links homeless people with jobs – call (310) 401-9400. Step Up on Second specializes in housing and employment for the mentally disabled – call (310) 394-6889.

The Clare Foundation provides rehabilitation for alcoholics— call (310) 314-6200.

Daybreak Day Center helps mentally-ill homeless women— call 310-264-6646.

Homeless veterans are aided by New Directions— call (310) 914-4045 (men), or (310) 390-4771 (women).

To volunteer in the fight against homelessness, call the Westside Shelter & Hunger Coalition.

To sign up for the city’s monthly newsletter on homelessness, visit

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