Business Licenses and Permits

Do I need a License or Permit in Palo Alto?

Maybe. The City has no business license requirements for most businesses located in, or contracted to do business, in Palo Alto. Modifications to buildings may require permits from one or more departments.  Our Development Center is a one-stop-shop for any of these needs.

What licenses or permits are required to do business in Palo Alto?

For businesses occupying commercial property, a one-time certificate of use and occupancy is likely required. Some other businesses do require special business or special event permits.

Are Home Businesses Allowed?

The City Code does allow for certain types of small businesses to be operated from one’s home, as long as the employees working from the home reside there. Generally, this does not allow for any type of business that relies on customer visits, heavy equipment, significant emissions, any signage or occupies than 25% of the dwelling (or 500 square feet, whichever is lesser). For our specific guidelines, please search our City Code section 18.42.060 (Home Occupation).

Last Updated: Nov 14, 2014