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Starting a Business Checklist

  • Verify appropriate zoning with the Planning Division prior to signing lease/purchasing location;
  • Obtain permit for Tenant Improvement (if necessary);
  • Complete Business License and other related applications;
  • Verify Home-Base Business License has been approved (if applicable);
  • Obtain approval for alcohol license (if necessary);
  • Obtain Certificate of Occupancy (Commercial location only);
  • Obtain Sign Permit Application (permanent and temporary application).
Business License:

If you are going to conduct any type of business within the city limits of Porterville, you must have a business license.  To obtain a business license you must complete an application form which is available in our Business License Packet.  The Business Licenses Packet contains the steps necessary to ensure proper processing of your application.

Other valuable business license information as well as contact information for local business assistance resources, other city and county contact numbers, state and federal related information and other financial and small business resources are available in our Business License Brochure.

Visit the Finance Department and review the General Business License Information under the Apply for a Business License link for normal processing time, sales or use tax, renewal or refund information.

If you live inside the city limits of Porterville and are going to conduct your business out of your home, you are also required to have a Home Occupation Permit.

Applications for a Porterville Business License can also be picked up at the City of Porterville Finance Department, located at 291 N. Main Street, Porterville, CA 93257, (559) 782-7457.

Business License Fee Structure:

The Business License fee is based on gross receipts over a six(6) month period. For a new business, estimate your gross receipts from the opening day through the end of June for the 1st billing period or through the end of December for the 2nd billing period.  Use this number to find your appropriate license tax from the Gross Receipt Tables.  These tables can be found in the City Code Sec 15-22 or on the Gross Receipts Worksheet. 

Based on your business type or classification, choose the table that fits your classification.  Next using the gross receipt number calculated as explained above find the license tax for that level of receipts.  Enter the license tax on the application in the box labeled, StartingaBusiness_clip_image002.  Complete the application in full, sign and return to the Finance Department, located at 291 N. Main Street, Porterville, CA 93257.

Business License Approval Process:

All completed Business License applications are submitted to the Finance Department along with the appropriate fees. Upon review, the application is forwarded to the Planning Department. Based upon the type of business and zoning requirements, the Planning Department either approves or denies the application. If the application is approved, it is directed to the Building Department for an on-site inspection of the building and determination of conformance with the Building regulations of the City. Upon receipt of the Building Department approval, the application is then forwarded to the Fire Department for a Fire Prevention inspection and determination of conformance to Fire Code requirements. The applicant shall immediately correct any and all violations identified by any of the above departments.

The process outlined above applies to most businesses desiring to operate in the City, however, certain types of business will require addition inspections and/or investigation.

Depending upon the type of business that is to be conducted, and assuming complete compliance with all codes, the entire Business License approval process should be completed within 14-21 business days.

If there are any questions at any time during this process, please contact the Finance Department, located at 291 N. Main Street, Porterville, CA 93257, (559) 782-7457.


You will need to verify that your proposed site is zoned for your intended use and the appropriate entitlement application submitted by calling or visiting the City Planning Division. Please do this before you sign a lease or purchase land or a building! You must do this before you pay for your Business License. If the proposed site is on or near a State right of way, you may need an encroachment permit.

For more information on Zoning, contact the City of Porterville Planning Division at (559) 782-7460.

Building Permits:

Building permits are required in most cases when you plan to make physical changes to the interior or exterior of the building you plan to occupy. To find out if your project requires a permit, please refer to this page. To assist you in the submittal of plans for review, please refer to these simplified plans checklists:

For additional information contact the City of Porterville Building Division at (559) 782-7480.

Fire Safety:

The initiation of the business license process will flag the requirement for a Fire Life Safety inspection of the business.  Building fire and life safety inspections are one of the programs used by the Fire Prevention Bureau to further fire and life safety.  The type of business and occupancy type will dictate what inspection schedules, codes and standards are applied to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks.

These codes and standards address everything from occupancy loads, fire protection devices and systems, exit signage, paths, means of egress, door and panic hardware, fire lanes, fire hazards and combustible materials.

For further information please contact the Porterville Fire Department at (559) 782-7526 or visit the Fire Department Office at 40 W.  Cleveland Ave.

Sign Permits:

If you are erecting or painting a sign or awning, you’ll need a full site review and approval before a permit is issued.  For more information, contact the City of Porterville Planning Division at (559) 782-7460. Click here for permit application.

Additional Permit Information:

To assist you in finding the appropriate permitting information for your business, the CalGOLD database provides links and contact information that direct you to agencies that administer and issue business permits, licenses and registration requirements from all levels of government.

The CalGOLD listings include descriptions of the requirements, the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the agencies that administer those requirements and issue the permits and licenses, and in most cases a direct link to the agencies’ Internet web pages.

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