Small Businesses

Help for Small Businesses | 7 StepsSmall business owner smiling while covering muffins

Starting a new business is exciting and challenging. To help you through the process, we’ve outlined the seven basic steps you need to follow.


Planning and preparation will help reduce risks that are common to starting a new business. A business plan helps to evaluate your needs and also acts as a guide to map out the course of your business. For assistance with creating a successful business plan, visit the Small Business Administration.


Before establishing and finalizing any location plans or lease agreements, check with the Development Services Center to see if your location is zoned for your type of business and verify if any special permits are required. Contact the City of Gilroy Planning Department for any specific zoning questions.


Business structures affect your income taxes and levels of personal liability. If your business will be established either as a Partnership, Corporation, S Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC) or as a Non-Profit, you must register with the State of California. For more information, please visit the Secretary of State website or call 916-653-6814.


If you give your business a name other than your own, you must file a Fictitious Business Name with the Santa Clara County Clerk. After you have registered your fictitious name, you will need to obtain a business license from the City of Gilroy. Home-based businesses, self-employed persons, and independent contractors are also required to have a business license.


To ensure that structures are safe for occupancy, building permits are required for all new construction as well as structural modifications and remodeling. Permits for other uses, such as signage and food vending, may be necessary. Certain locations may also require payment of impact fees. Please call 408-846-0440 or visit the City of Gilroy website to find out which permits are required for your business.

When is a building permit required? Click here for a list of examples

Businesses selling tangible personal property in the State of California must apply for a Seller’s Permit/Resale Number. For more information, check the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) website or call 1-800-400-7115.

For a complete reference of regional, state and federal permits required in California, visit the CalGold website, sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.


Various taxes may be levied on businesses, including employment and income taxes. The City of Gilroy has a transit occupancy tax (TOT) but no business or utility user taxes. For more information on California taxes, contact the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) website or call 1-800-400-7115.


If you plan on employing anyone outside of your immediate family, you must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Hiring other employees requires responsibilities including paying additional taxes, creating employee eligibility standards, and obtaining workers compensation insurance. Employer ID numbers may be obtained through completing SS-4 forms, provided by the IRS. Visit the IRS website to download forms. Apply by telephone—option available to international applicants only.

Economic Development Partners


SBA Small Business Planner
This portal will help you create and execute your business plan.

(SCORE) Service Corps of Retired Executives
SCORE is America’s premier source of free and confidential small business advice for entrepreneurs.

(SBDC) Small Business Development Center
America’s Small Business Development Center Network is the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the United States and its territories.

Cal Coastal
Cal Coastal is a California-chartered Financial Development Corporation which provides loan capital and other financial services to businesses and farms located on the Central Coast.

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Anita Bedoya, Owner, Lapels Dry Cleaning

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