Starting A New Business

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Starting Fresh

If you are planning to open a business located in the City of Fresno or do business within the City’s limits, you must first obtain a Zone Clearance to confirm that your type of business is permitted or allowed at the desired location.

There is a $27.00 processing fee for all above Clearances. All Clearances can be completed over the counter at the Development Department in City Hall or mailed with the fee.

Once you do this, you may proceed with paying your business tax, which is required for new businesses. Information on paying your business tax will be available soon.

Mobile Vendors

In order to increase opportunities for entrepreneurs to start a new food vending business, while protecting the health, safety, comfort, convenience, and general welfare of the community, City staff has developed a comprehensive set of citywide mobile food regulations that addresses all formats of mobile food vending (e.g. trucks/trailers or carts, inside and outside the public right of way).  Applications for mobile vendor zone clearances can be found below.  Please note that in addition to this zone clearance, a permit through the City’s business tax division is also required.  For more information, visit the Business License and Tax website.


Prior to installing any signs related to your new business, sign review and a sign permit is required.  Signs fall within two distinct categories in the city, temporary banner and permanent signs.  The ordinance and applications can be found below.

Sign Ordinance

Temporary Banner Permit – $182.00 per sign
Application for Sign Review – $318.00
Master Sign Review – New Program $999.00, Sign in established program $182.00
In addition to the sign review process described above, in order to install a permanent sign, a building permit is required.

Additional Requirements

Some additional requirements and approvals required by the City are, but not limited to:

  • If you intend to alter, remodel, relocate or install any structural, electrical, plumbing or mechanical portions of the building, you will need to obtain permit through the Building and Safety Division at (559) 621-8084 or visit the Building front counter at City Hall.
  • Businesses involving any use changes, building additions, site improvements, exterior building changes or sign changes should secure Current Planning Division approval prior to lease execution or purchase. Call (559) 621-8277 or visit the Planning front counter at City Hall.
  • Businesses operated out of the home must comply with Home Occupation Regulations and obtain a Home Occupation Zone Clearance
  • If your business uses or stores hazardous materials (including paints, thinners, solvents, acids, compressed gases, etc.) you may be required to obtain a Hazardous Materials Permit. Contact the Fire Department at (559) 621-4199.
  • Industries discharging processed wastewater down the sewer, such as machining fluid, water from glass washing, chemical neutralization, etc., may be required to obtain a Wastewater Discharge Permit. Contact the Wastewater Division at (559) 621-5100.