Business License

What do I need to get a Business License?
Is your business run out of your home or rented space? If it is run out of your home, and your home is located within the city limits of Hanford, you will need a Home Occupation Permit; if you are renting space in the city limits you will need a Certificate of Occupancy. Both are issued by the Planning Department. A permit (if required) will need to be obtained before a business license can be issued.  All applicable forms needed for your application for a New Business License are, for your convenience, located at the bottom of this page.

Home Occupation Permit
Before a Business License can be issued to residents wanting to establish a home business within the City of Hanford, a Home Occupation Permit must be obtained. A Home Occupation must be a home business that is incidental to and compatible with the adjacent residential uses. It represents a legal income-producing activity by the occupant of the dwelling. The Home Occupation must conform to the regulations listed in Hanford Municipal Code Chapter 17.40, which describes operating standards, prohibited home occupation uses, and whether a home occupation will be allowed upon approval of a conditional use permit. It also lists the reasons why a home occupation permit may be revoked. 

The Home Occupation Permit is reviewed and approved by a Planner and may contain additional conditions that the applicant must adhere to. 

Once the Home Occupation Permit application has been completed and approved (usually the same day application is received) the applicant can proceed to the Finance Department, with a copy of the approved application, to apply for a business license. The Finance Department is located at 315 N. Douty Street. 

Questions about Home Occupation Permits can be directed to the Community Development Department at 559-585-2581.

Certificate of Occupancy
Prior to obtaining a city business license for a new business, a new owner of an existing business, a name change to the business, or a new location for an existing business, a Zoning and Safety Certificate of Occupancy application is required. The applicant will provide all the necessary documentation needed in order for City staff to evaluate the application. This may include an operational statement and or a site plan of the project. A zoning certificate of occupancy may be issued subject to conditions of approval. Such conditions of approval may include, without limitation, repair of existing interior improvements and the repair or replacement of existing exterior improvements or construction of exterior improvements such as parking lots, landscaping, fencing, signage and refuse area. 

The Certificate of Occupancy allows the Fire and Building Departments to inspect the building to ensure that health and safety standards are met. It also allows the Planning and Public Works Departments to inspect existing on and off site improvements to ensure that they are in good repair, functional and in conformance with the Hanford Municipal Code. 
The total processing time for the Zoning and Safety Certificate of Occupancy application is approximately 5-10 working days from the date of submittal. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact the Building and Fire Departments for scheduling of inspections. After those inspections have been completed, the applicant may contact the Community Development Department to check the status of the application.

  1. When the Zoning and Safety Certificate of Occupancy application has been completed and signed off by each department, the applicant will be notified.
  2. A copy of the approved application will be provided to the applicant.The copy of the approved application is needed when applying for a business license.
  3. The Finance Department issues business licenses and is located at 315 N. Douty Street.

Questions about the Zoning and Safety Certificate of Occupancy can be directed to the Community Development Department at 559-585-2581. 


The license fee for your first quarter of business will be the minimum payment. For a retail based business the fee is $5.00 or $10.00 (if the business is located in the improvement district). If your business is sub-contractor - $10.00 per quarter, General Contractor - $15.00 per quarter, professional or other set rate business we can determine the fee for you when you sign up for your business license.

     Payment Due      25% Late Penalty if not paid by     License Period      Based on earnings from 
     January 1      January 31      Jan. 1 - Mar. 31      Oct. 1 - Dec. 31
     April 1          April 30      Apr. 1 - June 30      Jan. 1 - Mar 31
     July 1      July 31      July 1 - Sept. 30      Apr. 1 - June
     October 1      October 31      Oct. 1 - Dec. 31      July 1 - Sept. 30


New Business License Application or Renewal of Business License

On September 19, 2012 Governor Brown signed into law SB-1186 which added a state fee of $1 on any applicant for local business license or similar instrument or permit, or renewal thereof.  This law was effective January 1, 2013.  The purpose was to increase disability access and compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements and to develop educational resources for businesses in order to facilitate compliance with federal and state disability laws, as specified.

Senate Bill 1186 was amended as follows:

  • January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2023, a four-dollar ($4) additional fee to be paid by any applicant for a local business license, permit or similar instrument when it is issued or renewed.   

The purpose of the fee is to increase disability access and compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements.  Additionally, the fee assists local jurisdictions in supporting the Certified Access Specialist (CASp) program (/dsa/Programs/programCert/casp.aspx)  and provides the Division of the State Architect (DSA) with funds to maintain oversight of the CASp program.

Under federal and state law, compliance with disability access laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies to all California building owners and tenants with buildings open to the public.  You may obtain information about your legal obligations and how to comply with disability access laws at the following agencies:

You can contact Governor Brown's office regarding this bill by calling (916) 445-2841