Starting New Business

Starting a Business in San Mateo

Exceptional help is available to individuals interested in starting a business in San Mateo. The City’s Business License Department is also a fountain of information regarding types of licenses required for specific types of businesses. Phone (650) 522-7117

Free business counseling is available at the Chamber through the Small Business Administration’s SCORE program. One hour appointments with the SCORE counselor may be made by calling the San Mateo Area Chamber at (650) 401-2440. Listed below are some of the federal, state, county and city agencies that businesses need to contact most frequently:


Business Licenses and Tax Certificates
Business tax certificates are issued on an annual basis by the Finance Department. You may download the appropriate Business Tax Certificate Applicationfor your business and either mail in the completed form and required payment or visit City Hall anytime between 8:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.
For more information regarding City of San Mateo business taxes, please contact Business Tax Division staff directly at (650) 522-7113.

Fictitious Business Name Registration
A Fictitious Business Name Statement is not required if the business name also contains the legal name of the owner, because the legal name of the owner is a clear way of distinguishing the business from others.

Hall of Justice and Records
County Clerk Office – Assessor – Recorder – Elections
555 County Center, 1st Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063
Ph: (650) 363-4500
Fx: (650) 363-1903

 County of San Mateo

County Clerk, Hall of Justice & Records
555 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063 (650) 363-4712
A fictitious business name statement must be filed by anyone operating a California business under a name other than his own. The business owner must file then publish the business name in a newspaper and file proof with the county. To determine if someone else is already using a business name, phone the Secretary of State’s office of Corporate Status, (916) 654-7960.
For any business that handles food, a permit from the office of Environmental Health in Redwood City (650-363-4304) must be obtained. Following the acquisition of business property, a business owner will automatically receive a bill for any real property taxes due.

Canada College Small Business Development Resource Center
900 Main Redwood City CA 94063
650 599-9767

Center for International Trade Development
(650) 738-4435

Federal Small Business Administration (SBA)
455 Market Street; 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 744-6820

U.S. Customs Information
(415) 782-9210

Department of Industrial Relations
CAL-OSHA 1065 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Suite 110
San Mateo, CA 94404
(650) 573-3812
Information is available on California’s Office of Safety and Health Admini- stration regulations to prevent injuries and unhealthy working conditions.

Employment Development Dept.
550 Quarry Road
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 802-5079
Any business with employees must register with this office and withhold state unemployment and income taxes. An application filed with the Board of Equalization may constitute registration.

Department of Consumer Affairs
400 R Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-1254 or 1-800-344-9940
The State of California has licensing requirements for more than 100 professions and types of businesses. The California License Handbook is available by writing to the Department of Economic and Business Development, 1120 N. Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Federal Government
Corporate Filing Office
1500 Eleventh Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 657-5448
Articles of incorporation must be filed at this office to be on file with the Secretary of State.

Internal Revenue Service
1900 S. Norfolk Street
San Mateo, CA 94403
(800) TAX1040
Any corporation or partnership must fill out a Form SS-4 and secure a federal employer identification number. The Employers Tax Guide stating withholding requirements for employers is available.

Better Business Bureau of San Mateo County
570 Broadway Suite 200
Millbrae, CA 94030
(650) 552-9222 FAX: (650) 652-1748

FREE Personalized Business Management Consulting

Every 4th Friday of the month from 1:30 – 4:30pm SBDC (Small Business Development Centers) counselors can offer individual advice and guidance concerning the formation, management, financing and operation of your business.  Counseling is provided at no charge to qualified businesses.

For a “Request for Counseling” form and appointment go to


(Service Corps of Retired Executives)

Every Monday morning the San Mateo Chamber of Commerce offers one hour free business counseling and advice service. SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) is the premiere business assistance in the United States. By appointment only, please call the Chamber at (650) 401-2440 to schedule an appointment.

City of San Mateo
Hillsdale Shopping Center

Kaiser Permanente

San Mateo Credit Union
Burulich Durgoni Law Firm