Starting a new business is exciting and sometimes challenging. The information on this page is provided to assist you through the process of starting a business in Clovis.
The following items should be examined prior to opening your business. We hope that by reviewing this, we
may better assist your efforts to get your business open in a timely manner.
Prepare a Business Plan
There is no way to eliminate all risk associated with starting a business, but you can improve your chances of success with proper planning and preparation. A good starting point is to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses by creating a Business Plan. This will help determine whether or not you are ready to start a business.
A Business Plan is the blueprint or road map for where your business will travel. Your plan may also serve as a tool for raising capital and is usually required when applying for a loan or attracting financial investors.
For free and/or low cost assistance with creating a business plan, as well as start-up incubation and training, please visit:
Fresno State SBDC (Small Business Development Center)
Valley Small Business Development Corporation Technical Resource and Assistance Center (TRAC)
For help, advice, and your own mentor, contact SCORE
Verify Zoning Regulations
Before finalizing your business location or signing lease agreements, contact the City of Clovis’ Planning Department to determine the zoning designation of your proposed site. All businesses must locate in areas that allow specific kinds of business activity. Staff will help you determine if your business is an eligible use for a particular location and whether any special approvals are necessary. (559) 324-2340.
If you plan to operate a business out of your home, you will need to fill out a Home Occupation Permit application. This is available through the City of Clovis Finance Department, Business License Division (559) 324-2112
Determine your Business Structure
If you want to establish your business as a corporation you must contact the Corporation Division of the California Secretary of State's Office. This office will supply you with all the information and forms you need. In addition, the Name Availability Unit can assist you in determining corporate name availability. For more information, contact the State of California Secretary of State's Office, 1230 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 653-6814.
Obtain Federal Tax ID Number
An Employment Identification Number (“EIN”), also referred to as a Taxpayer Identification Number, is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) for the purposes of tax reporting. It’s kind of like a Social Security Number, except that it is for businesses. Corporations and partnerships are required to have an EIN. However, if you are a sole proprietor, the IRS does not require one. Instead, you can use your Social Security Number and report your income and expenses on a Schedule C tax form. However, the City of Clovis HIGHLY recommends using an EIN because it reduces the chances of identity theft. Obtaining your EIN is fast, easy and free. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO APPLY FOR YOUR EIN
Register a Fictitious Business Name
If you invent a name for your business that is other than your own, the name is considered a Fictitious Business Name. All businesses should first register fictitious business names with the Fresno County Clerk's Office before obtaining a Business License with the City of Clovis Business License Division. For more information, please call the Fresno County Clerk's Office at (559) 488-3428 or CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Obtain your Business License
A City of Clovis Business License is required to operate a business within the City of Clovis. Contact the City of Clovis Finance Department, Business License Division by calling (559) 324-2112 or CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Obtain your Seller’s Permit
Any business that sells or leases merchandise, vehicles, or other tangible goods in California is required to register with the Board of Equalization and pay sales tax on the tangible sales. This includes temporary users such as Christmas Tree Sales and Farmer's Market Vendors. Any business that holds a seller’s permit must file periodic sales and use tax returns with the Board and pay any sales or use tax due on your sales and purchases. A Seller’s Permit may be obtained from the State of California. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Building and Sign Permits
A Building Permit is needed for all new construction in the City of Clovis. In most cases, a permit is also required for replacement of existing construction, additions, improvements and remodeling. Building permits are the tool the City of Clovis uses to regulate construction to ensure it is safe for occupancy or use. This is done through the review of plans and periodic inspections to verify compliance with the California Building Code and local regulations. Contact the City of Clovis Building Department at (559) 324-2390 or CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you plan on displaying a sign either outside a building or a sign intended to be visible from outside a building, you will need to obtain a Sign Permit. A Sign Permit is needed for both permanent and temporary signs such as building signs, window signs, and banners.
Contact the City of Clovis Planning Department at (559) 324-2340 or CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Restaurants and Food Vendors
A health inspection is required for restaurants and food vendors. The Fresno County Department of Health will arrange an inspection, or you may to request information and advice regarding health and environmental safety issues. Contact: Fresno County Health Services Agency, Community Health Department (559) 445-3357 or CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Cottage Food Businesses
A new State Law allows individuals to prepare and/or package certain non-potentially hazardous foods in private-home kitchens referred to as “cottage food operations” (CFOs). All cottage food operators will have to meet specified requirements pursuant to the California Health and Safety Code related to preparing foods that are on the approved food list, completing a food processor training course within three months of registering, implementing sanitary operations, establishing state and federal compliant labels, and operating within established gross annual sales limits. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
California Department of Consumer Affairs License
Many professional businesses such as accountants, engineers, doctors, and dentists require a State license from the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Businesses such as barbers, cosmetologist, security services, and auto repairs are also required to obtain a State license.
To find out if you must register your business, PLEASE CLICK HERE
If your business will involve the import or export of products with other countries, you may need to obtain an Import/Export Permit. For more information, contact the United States Customs Service at (415) 782-9210.
Other Permits & Licenses
Other regional, state, and federal permits and licenses may be required, depending on the nature of your business. Contact: CalGOLD Business Permits Made Simple office at (916) 322-7394, or CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Have you inquired about the “lead time” necessary in establishing new water service or trash/garbage pick-up service? Contact the City of Clovis Finance Department at (559) 324-2313
Gas and electric services in Clovis are provided by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). For more information, or to order service, contact PG&E at (800) 468-4743 or CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION