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Business License

Looking for a Business?

Doing Business in Santa Monica

Space, Opportunities Available

Outdoor Dining Application

Economic & Demographic Profile

Santa Monica "At a Glance"

Economic Development Division

Want to do Business with the City of Santa Monica?

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 Doing Business in Santa Monica

This section is intended to be a source of information for businesses looking to come to Santa Monica, as well as for businesses already here. If you can't find what you need below,  please don't hesitate to contact the City of Santa Monica Economic Development team via e-mail ( or call us at (310) 458-8906.



Sustainable Quality Awards 2011--Weds, April 27th at 11 a.m. at Sheraton Delfina.  For more info + tickets, click here. 



FREE Clean Energy Training available for small business and non-profits (employees), sole proprietors & independent contractors in areas of solar, energy efficiency and audits.  The CEWTP program assists in preparation for the NABCEP, BPI, HERS, CALCERT, RESNET , and others.  Offered by Santa Monica College's Workforce and Economic Development Office The first cycle of training begins on the following dates at the SMC Bundy Campus: April 16th (Saturday 9-5): Intro to Solar, Part 1 (First of 3 Parts) and April 23rd (Saturday 9-5): Intro to Energy Efficiency and Auditing, Part 1 (First of 3 Parts). For more info, click here.   


Santa Monica Small Business Development Center's April 2011 Business Workshops--Check this site for the list of current workshops for small businesses, entrepreneurs and folks thinking about opening a business.  Most workshops are held at the Santa Monica SBDC's Bundy Campus, 3171 S. Bundy (adjacent SM Airport).   For more info + registration > >

Congratulations to Santa Monica Place, winner of "Best Retail Project of 2011" by the Los Angeles Business Journal's Commercial Real Estate Awards!


NEW!  Passport to Santa Monica--Produced by the Santa Monica Alliance a partnership of the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, to guide your business to success.  Whether you're looking for the ideal home to establish your business, or for competitive ways to grow, you can rely on the Santa Monica Alliance.  Click here > > >  Also be sure to check out our NEW SM Alliance website:


LOANS AVAILABLE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES--The 10,000 Small Businesses is a $50 million initiative, launched by Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., to help unlock growth and job creation potential of 10k small businesses across the US through greater access to bus-

iness education, financial capital and business support services.  Loans of $50,000 - $400,000 are available.  For more information, visit:



Did you know that the IRS Small Business Tax Center has online resources to help small businesses? 

The Small Business and Self Employed Tax Center contains info on starting a business with links to business events, IRS Forms, etc.  The

Restaurants Tax Center has tax tips and trends and statistics for the Restaurant industry. For stats on the Entertainment Industry, check out

the Entertainment Tax Center.  They even offer a Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop designed to assist the new small business owner learn their

tax rights and responsibilities (also available on DVD).

Call For Artists : Art Carts Available for Rent on the Third Street Promenade.  For more information, visit our Space + Opportunities section of this site (click here).

Business Assistance for Santa Monica Retailers!  The Santa Monica Small Business Development Center offers FREE confidential business counseling, Quick Community Express Loans,  low cost business-growing workshops, lease modification assistance, customized strategic planning and customized business reports to assist with short and long-term finance planning. Click here to download the flyer.  For more info, or contact (310) 434-3566.

Buy Local Logo


Think Santa Monica first!  Many of the everyday items, services and specialty products that you may head out of town for are right here at home - in Santa Monica!  And your purchases are doing more good than you think - buying local supports a sustainable Santa Monica, nurtures the community and keeps dollars in Santa Monica's economy. For more information on Buy Local Santa Monica, to sign up to the campaign, fill out a survey or find a local business...visit and sign up to be a Fan @ or follow us!

 Santa Monica Businesses Voted "The Best Places to Work in L.A!"  Congratulations to the following Santa Monica companies, who were recently featured in the LA Business Journal as "Best Places to Work in LA"--Bryan Cave LLP, Blitz, Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc., M David Paul & Associates, Morley Builders, Murphy O'Brien Inc., The Phelps Group and RAND Corp.  The award ceremony took place on August 4, 2010 at the Biltmore Hotel.


Congratulations to the 2010 Sustainable Quality Award Winners!  The Grand Prize

awards went to Co-opportunity and Natural Resources Defense Council.  Excellence in Stewardship of the Natural Environment award winners:  Pacific Park, , Sheraton Delfina, Unitarian Universalist Community Church and West LA Print; Excellence in Social Responsibility award winners:  Gensler, Living Homes, Sheraton Delfina, Unitarian Universalist Community Church, West LA Print.  Excellence in Sustainable Economic Development award winner: Flair Cleaners.  For more info about the SQA, click here




Reducing the Cost of Business.  Southern California Edison (SCE) has a variety of programs and free services with cash incentives to help local businesses reduce their operating costs and manage their energy use.  Beneficiaries have included hotels, supermarkets and refrigerated warehouses, food service companies, telecommunication and cable firms, office buildings and many other types of businesses.   For more info, visit:

FREE customer service training for local businesses....

"I am Santa Monica" is an interactive workshop designed to encourage and empower Santa Monica businesses and their employees to become better informed about Santa Monica and all it has to offer.  It's a great opportunity to promote your business, provide free training to your employees and to connect with the community where you work.  To learn more, click here



Business Assistance

  Santa Monica Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce

Finding a Property in Santa Monica--a list of commercial brokers

Opening a Business in Santa Monica (Flow Chart) -
Use this chart to familiarize yourself with the City's regulatory process BEFORE you sign that lease!

Doing Business in Santa Monica Made Easy"--Useful information for opening a business in Santa Monica, including an overview of planning, zoning, permits, licenses and sustainability.  Material presented at a recent "Doing Business" workshop held by City in collaboration with Santa Monica's Small Business Development Center. 

Useful Contacts for Local Businesses and the WEC Small Business Toolkit
Business Climate - Economics & Demographics

Economic and Demographic Profile

For further information or statistics on Santa Monica, click here to view the City of Santa Monica 2009-2010  Community Profile.  If you require additional information, contact us at or call (310) 458-8906.

Business Fees, Licenses and Special Districts
  Business Classifications--For business classifications and fee categories, see Section VI in the Municipal Code.
  Business License Information--Contact information: (310) 458-8745 or email:

If you have a business in certain retail areas of the City, you may benefit from being associated with a business improvement district.  Likewise, if you own property within certain assessment areas, or have a triple net lease, you might need to pay assessments.  The category "Taxes" includes Transient Occupancy Taxes, Sales Taxes, and Utility Taxes.  See above for more info on Business License taxes. You might be subject to other taxes as well; it's best to consult your tax advisor, accountant, or industry's professional organizations to determine which will apply.

Assessment Districts:
   Downtown Mall Assessment District and Parking Developer Fee

Business Improvement Districts or Areas:

   Downtown Santa Monica Property Based Assessment District (PBAD)
Bayside & Downtown Mall Operations & Maintenance District 
Central Business District
Main Street Business Improvement Area

  Main Street Lighting and Sidewalk Cleaning Assessment Area

   Montana Avenue Business Improvement Area 
Pico Boulevard Business Improvement District


Environmental & Public Works

Your source for information relating to building permits and City services such as Engineering and Public Works, Solid Waste Management, Street Maintenance, Utilities, and Green Buildings Design and Construction Guidelines.

  Construction Approval Process A helpful guide if you need to do construction. 

Business Going Green: certification, free consulting, grants and awards programs.

Environmental, Recycling and Sustainable City Programs


Environmental Health and Food Safety Guidelines.  The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health conducts retail and wholesale food inspections for the City of Santa Monica.  This site  contains a variety of environmental health information for businesses, including food safety guidelines, food inspection results and pest control tips.

Planning Information

Signage Requirements--To determine what kind and size of signage you may use for your business,

we recommend that you review the Sign Code section of the Municipal code.


Zoning Information--To find out what zoning applies to your business location see the Zoning District Map and GIS Information.  For further details on the City's Zoning Regulations And Districts click here.

For further information, please contact the Planning Department at (310) 458-8341

Transportation Management Office Division
  The City of Santa Monica and local businesses are committed to working together to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion in Santa Monica.  Ordinance 1604 was designed to help reduce commute trips made by employees. It applies to businesses with 10 or more employees.  This link also provides advice on ride sharing, parking permits and traffic management plans.  For more information, contact (310) 458-8291. 

This page was last modified on 04/06/2011

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