Who Needs a Business License

Any person who conducts any business, trade, profession, enterprise, establishment or occupation within the City of Gardena is required to obtain a license whether or not the physical business address is in or outside of the City. These include but are not limited to:

  • Businesses located WITHIN the City’s boundaries such as: retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, professional service providers, home-based businesses, non-residential (commercial) and residential rental property, etc.
  • Businesses located OUTSIDE the City’s boundaries that transact business or provide service in the City, such as: construction contractors, independent service providers, repair and handyman services, gardeners, delivery services, real estate sales, janitorial services, temporary employment services, security services, property management, etc.
  • Mobile vendors such as: ice cream trucks, catering trucks and itinerant sales representatives.

There are certain types of business activities that are not permitted to operate in the City unless the owner or operator has been awarded a franchise or has received a permit from City Council. Examples of such businesses include: trash haulers, cable television, fireworks sales, taxicab operations, massage establishment, and pawnshops or secondhand dealer. For a complete list of business types that require a permit to operate click here.

To assist prospective business owners and managers in the preliminary planning and application process of opening a new business, we prepared a document entitled Business License & Permit Planning Guidelines that is recommended for your review.

The Business License Application Process
1. Thoroughly complete all sections of the Business License Application. Depending on the type of business, you may need to obtain a fictitious name, Federal ID number, resale number or contractor’s license from the appropriate governmental agency before all information is available to complete a business license application with the City.

Helpful Hint: Home-based businesses and any business that is planning to serve alcohol will need to apply for a permit at the Community Development Department before a business license application can be accepted. For information regarding Home Occupation Permits and Conditional Use Permits contact the Community Development Department at (310) 217-9530.

2. Submit the completed application to the Permits and Licenses Office and pay the required fees. If your business is located WITHIN the City limits, you must apply in person to obtain a zoning clearance from the Community Development Department unless you are applying for a residential or non-residential rental property license. If your business is located OUTSIDE the City limits or if you are applying for a residential or non-residential rental property license, your license application can be processed by mail or fax. The fax number is (310) 217-9698.

Helpful Hint: One of the most important steps in planning your business is to obtain a location that is zoned properly for the type of business you are intending to open. We recommend that all business owners receive a zoning clearance from the Community Development Department for the proposed location of your business PRIOR to entering into any purchase, lease or rental agreement for the property.

3. Receive a Certificate of Occupancy. Most businesses located in the City must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy in order to occupy the premises. An inspection of the premises is conducted to ensure the business location is in compliance with zoning, fire, and building and safety requirements. The time and date of the business inspection is set by appointment only. The owner or manager must be present at the business during the inspection. A business license and certificate of occupancy will not be issued for the business until the Community Development Department signs off that the inspection process has been completed. Exceptions to the Certificate of Occupancy inspection requirement include: any business located outside of the City, home-based businesses, residential rental property, and non-residential rental property.

Business License Application Forms
Business license applications are provided below and they are also available for pick up at the Community Development Department, located in City Hall, Room 101, 1700 W. 162nd Street, Gardena, CA 90247 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Thursday and between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Fridays.

There are four different types of business license application forms. Select the appropriate license application form from the list provided below that most accurately describes the type of business you are planning to open.

If your business falls under any of the categories listed below and you intend to pay the business license fee with MasterCard or Discover card, you can either mail in your completed application form and payment OR you can fax the completed application form to (310) 217-9698. Be sure to complete all sections on the form.

Please note when paying by credit/debit card: Beginning November 1, 2016, per Resolution No. 5097, which allows the City to assess a “service fee” to recover costs associated with Credit Card, Debit Card and Electronic Fund Transfer payments, the City of Gardena has implemented a two-tiered fee for those individuals who choose to use credit cards as a form of payment.

The service fee will be assessed in the following manner:

  • Transactions from $0.01 to $200.00 will be assessed a flat service fee of $2.75
  • Transactions from $200.01 and up will be assessed 2.4% of the total charges

The service fee is non-refundable, regardless if the payment to which it relates is cancelled, refunded, credited or charged back.

If you would like to verify receipt of your payment, you may do so by calling (310) 217-9518 or (310) 217-6168 and speak to a Business License staff member.

A business license certificate will be mailed to the address indicated on your application form approximately three weeks from the receipt of your payment. If your business does not fall into one of the categories listed below, then you will need to visit the Community Development Department IN PERSON to process your application and receive a zoning clearance.

  • Any Business located OUTSIDE the city
  • Contractor located OUTSIDE the city
  • Residential Rental Property WITHIN the city
  • Non-Residential Rental Property WITHIN the city

If you have specific questions on how to obtain a business license call the Permits and Licenses Office at (310) 217-9518 or (310) 217-6168, email at cddbusinesslicense.web@ci.gardena.ca.us or stop by the Office to speak with a Business License staff member.


Business License Fees and Renewal
Business license taxes are set by City ordinance and are calculated either as a “flat rate” or on “gross revenues” depending on the type of business operation. To view a listing of business license fees, click here. Business licenses expire on December 31st of each year and must be renewed annually to continue business operations in the city. Late fees will apply upon failure to renew the license within 30 days after the annual expiration date for businesses that have a flat fee rate and by February 28 for businesses that have fees based on gross revenues.

If you have received a RENEWAL NOTICE for your business license and intend to pay with a credit card, you can either renew On-Line or pay your license renewal fee in person at City Hall, Room 104, 1700 W. 162nd in Gardena. The business hours for City Hall is Monday – Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.on Fridays. Be sure to complete all sections of the form and make any corrections needed to update the information. Changes to the following: Business Name, Owner/Partner or Corporate Name, Business Location in Gardena may require additional paperwork to be submitted. Please contact Licensing and Permitting at (310)217-9518 if you have any questions.

A business license certificate will be mailed to the address indicated on your renewal form approximately three weeks from the receipt of your payment. If you want to verify the receipt of your payment, you may do so by calling (310)217-9518

  • Click here to renew your business license on-line.

Business License On-Line Renewals

For your convenience, the City of Gardena offers residents and businesses the option to renew their business license via the Internet. All you need to access this service is your business license account number and security code. This information is pre-printed on your business license renewal notice in the upper right hand corner. NOTE: If you do not have the original letter mailed out with your security code and account number, please contact the City of Gardena to obtain a reprint of your renewal notice.

Renewal notices are mailed out the first week of January of every year. If you do not receive your notice, please call the City of Gardena Revenue & Collections Office at (310) 217-9518.