Starting a Business in Folsom

Step 1 – Develop a Business Plan

A business plan is not required to obtain a Folsom Business Certificate, but it is a valuable tool to help you evaluate your idea, estimate costs, and determine the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal. A detailed plan is usually required to apply for a loan or to attract financial investors. Online websites like the Service Core of Retired Executives offer sample business plans.

Step 2 – Determine your Business Structure

For operating and business reporting purposes, it is important to determine if you will operate your business as a sole proprietor, partnership (2 or more owners), corporation (1 or more stockholders/officers), or some other form of business entity.

If you want to establish your business as a corporation, or a LLC, you must contact the Corporation Division of the California Secretary of State’s Office. They can supply you with all the information and forms you need.

State of California Secretary of State’s Office, Business Entities:
1230 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-657–5448

Step 3 – Find a Location for your Business and Contact Folsom Planning Division

A commercial real estate broker and/or real estate attorney can assist you with site selection, lease negotiations, and formulating the lease agreement.

The Folsom Economic Development Corporation, located at the Chamber of Commerce building in the Historic District, can also help you with site selection and retaining professional services.

Before signing a building property lease or purchase agreement, contact the City of Folsom Planning Division to determine the zoning of the site, and whether or not your type of business is a permitted use for that location. In some cases, a Conditional Use Permit or other entitlement may be required.

Also be aware that a Building Permit will be required, for any improvement done to the space you purchased or leased.

Zoning Review:

Businesses involving any new buildings or exterior building changes to existing buildings must obtain Planning Division approval prior to a Building permit.

Design Review Submittal Application

Note that the new businesses may also be subject to conditional use permits of other entitlements (such as a conditional use permit) depending on the proposed use and zoning of the property.  Contact the Folsom Planning Division at 916-355-7214 to determine whether your business is allowed a the proposed location by right.

If you plan to operate your business out of your home, you will need to obtain a Home Occupation Permit in addition to your Business Certificate. Home Occupations are permitted for limited types of businesses and contain various requirements and restrictions. Contact the Folsom Planning Division or refer to the Chapter 17.61 of the Folsom Municipal Code:

Business Certificate including Home Occupation Application.

For application forms and information, please visit Business Certificates.

Folsom Planning Division:
50 Natoma Street
Folsom, CA 95630
916-355-7214

Folsom Building Division:
50 Natoma Street,
Folsom, CA 95630
916-351-3555

Step 4 – Register a Fictitious Business Name

If you create a name that is different than your own legal name, you will need to file a fictitious name with the Sacramento County Clerk-Recorder Department, before obtaining a Business Certificate.

Sacramento County Clerk-Recorder Department:
700 H Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-874-6644

Step 5 – Tax Reporting

All businesses are required to file both state and federal tax returns. Contact the California State Franchise Tax Board and the Internal Revenue Service to learn about more specific requirements.

If you sell a product, you should contact the California Board of Equalization to assist you in determining whether you need a Seller’s Permit.

Whether self-employed or an employer with one or more employees, you must also pay Social Security Taxes.

Internal Revenue Service:
4330 Watt Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95821
800-829-3676

California Board of Equalization:
3321 Power Inn Rd
Suite 210
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-227-6700 or 800-400-7115

Step 6 - Obtain a City of Folsom Business Certificate

The City of Folsom Municipal Code requires that ALL businesses operating within the coty limits obtain a Business Certificate.  The fee for the certificate varies based on the type of business.  Businesses operating out of a residential location of home are required to obtain a Home Occupation Permit in addition to the Business Certificate.  Applications for all businesses based within Folsom require approval from the Planning Division.  Please visit Business Certificates for more information.

The Business Certificate is not intended for regulation. Acceptance of payment by the City, and the issuance of the associated sertificate shall in no way relieve the taxpayer from compliance with all applicable laws of the City.

Folsom Finance Division:
50 Natoma Street
Folsom, CA 95630
916-355-7312

Folsom Planning Division:
50 Natoma Street
Folsom, CA 95630
916-355-7214

Step 7 – Obtain Other Permits and Licenses

Building Permits:

If you intend to alter, remodel, relocate or install any structural, electrical, plumbing or mechanical portions of the building, you will need to obtain a Building Permit from the Building Division of the Community Development Department.

Sign Permits:

Sign permits are required for any sign on the outside of the building including permanent and temporary signs or banners. Planning Division approval is required along with Building Division approval for a sign permit to be issued. (Building Division approval not required for Temporary Sign Permit)

Folsom Building Division:
50 Natoma Street
Folsom, CA 95630
916-351-3555

Folsom Planning Division:
50 Natoma Street
Folsom, CA 95630
916-355-7214

Folsom Accelerated Small Tenant Improvement Review for Business and Mercantile Occupancies:

The City of Folsom Accelerated Small Tenant Improvement Review for Business and Merchantile Occupancies (FASTIR) process was created to allow customers and their designers to schedule one-hour appointments on Tuesday and Thursday mornings with appropriate City staff to review plans for eligible minor and moderate commercial interior tenant improvements and demolitions. 

Folsom Building Division:
50 Natoma Street
Folsom, CA 95630
916-351-3555

Fire Permits:

If you intend to change the use of a building; use or store any hazardous materials; engage in any hazard process; alter, modify, relocate or install any fire sprinkler system, fixed fire protection system, fire alarm system; open a place of assembly, school, or healthcare facility Fire Department permits may be required. Completing a “Statement of Intended Use” will assist in determining what exactly is required for your business.

Fire Department:
50 Natoma Street
Folsom CA 95630
916-351-3453

Seller’s Permit/Resale Number:

If you intend to sell or lease tangible personal property (wholesale or retail), for a temporary period lasting no longer than 30 days at one or more locations, a permit is required from the California State Board of Equalization.

California Board of Equalization:
3321 Power Inn Rd
Suite 210
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-227-6700 or 800-400-7115

Restaurant and Food Vendor Permits:

A health inspection is required for restaurants and food vendors. If you will be selling food, a permit is required from the Sacramento County Environmental Health Department.

Sacramento County Environmental Health Department:
10590 Armstrong Avenue
Mather, CA 95655
916-875-8440

Sale of Alcoholic Beverages:

If you will be selling alcoholic beverages, a license is required from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

State of California Alcohol Control Board:
3321 Power Inn Rd, Suite 230
Sacramento, CA 95826
916-227-2002

Import/Export Permits:

If your business will involve the import or export of products with other countries, you may need an Import/Export Permit from the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

State License:

Many professional businesses such as accountants, engineers, insurance and real estate agents and brokers, doctors and dentists require a State License from the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Businesses such as barbers, cosmetologists, security services, and auto repairs, are also required to obtain a State License. 

California Department of Consumer Affairs:
1625 North Market Blvd
Suite N 112
Sacramento, CA 95834
916-445-1254 or 800-952-5210

Contractor License:

The Contractors State License Board receives and processes applications for new licenses, additional classifications, changes of license records and license renewals.

Contractors State License Board:
PO Box 26000
9835 Goethe Road
Sacramento, CA 95826
916-255-4450 or 800-321-2751

Second Hand Dealer License:

A secondhand dealer license is required in addition to a Business Certificate for the resale of precious metals. Secondhand dealer licenses are issued by the Department of Justice. (Form JUS 125: Application for Secondhand Dealer or Pawnbroker License)

Step 8 – Hire Employees

If you hire employees, register with the California Employment Development Department. They will provide you with the necessary forms and answer any questions you may have regarding responsibilities.

You must also register with the Internal Revenue Service in order to receive an Employer Identification Number.

As an employer, you may be required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. You may obtain this insurance through your own insurance agent or the State Compensation Insurance Fund.

California Employment Development Department:
7001 A East Parkway
Room A
Sacramento, CA 95823
916-654-8706

Internal Revenue Service:
4330 Watt Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95821
800-829-3676

State Compensation Insurance Fund

Step 9 – Get Connected

Folsom Chamber of Commerce:
200 Wool Street
Folsom, CA 95630
916-985-2698

SCORE Counselors to America’s Small Business. Provide free and confidential business advice and low-cost workshops.

Folsom Post Offices:
1015 Riley Street
Folsom, CA 95630
916-983-0371

25025 Blue Ravine Road
Folsom, CA 95630
916-351-1151

Pacific Gas & Electric:
800-743-5000 or 800-468-4743

Sacramento Municipal Utility District:
6301 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95817
877-622-7683

City of Folsom Utility Services: To find out how City of Folsom (water, sewer, garbage) are billed when you are moving into a Folsom location, please contact the Folsom Utility Service Billing office: 50 Natoma Street, Folsom, CA 95630, 916-355-7272

Step 10 – Save Money and Energy

To help your business and the community, Sacramento Municipal Utility District offers a wide variety of incentives and financing options to encourage investment in energy efficiency for products such as:

  • Office Equipment
  • Servers and data centers
  • Lighting
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Refrigeration
  • Food Service equipment
  • Motors and controls
  • Solar water heaters
  • Dry cleaning/wet cleaning
  • Loans, etc...

Pacific Gas & Electric also offers to get money back for your business with various rebates and incentives. Money-back Programs and Resources, as well as Rebates catalogs by Technology are available. PG&E Business Customer Service: 800-468-4743

The Irrigation Association offers Business Management Resources to help you run your business profitably and differentiate your company in the marketplace

The City of Folsom has a limited number of sanitary sewer fee credits available for future businesses to offset sewer connection fees for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District. Please contact the Engineering Division of the Community Development Department regarding requirements and procedures for applying for potential sewer fee credits for your business.

Engineering Division:
50 Natoma Street
Folsom, CA 95630
916-351-7251