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Business Development Assistance
Starting a business can be overwhelming. That’s why the City of Ukiah is providing resources and steps to make this journey easier. Make sure that you understand the resources available to you before you start the process. Take advantage of the City’s business development assistance. Fill out this quick, 5-question form and contact a Business Liaison at the City to help you get started.
Phone: (707) 467-5793
Business Development Inquiry Form
Although developing a business plan will be your first step, it is important to check with the city, the county, and then with state and federal agencies to ensure you have everything in place to open your business. We hope that this comprehensive look at the process and resources available to you will be helpful. The best hint is to ask for assistance early on to make this process a little more manageable.
Business Development Assistance
West Business Development Center is a local nonprofit that assists local micro-businesses to grow self-sufficiency and wealth in Mendocino County. Through business training and consulting programs, West Business Development Center assists clients in developing business plans for both start-up and expansion purposes. For more information, call (707) 964-7571 or visit www.WestCenter.org
The Mendocino SBDC offers workshops, training and consulting services for start-up and existing businesses. You can also get help with new product development, marketing and advertising, human resources and accounting. For more information call the SBDC at (707) 467-5913 or visit Mendocino Small Business Development Center.
EDFC is a Mendocino county-wide business assistance organization. If you are expanding an existing business or bringing a new business to Ukiah, we would like to offer you the assistance you need. For more information call the EDFC at (707) 234-5705, or visit http://www.edfc.org.
If you still need assistance, give the City a call. Most businesses need some help writing a business plan, finding a good location or securing financial resources. We are here to help. Please contact a Business Liaison at (707) 467-5719 for information and referrals that will help ensure your success.
Check with the City
Before you sign a lease or purchase a commercial building, contact the Planning Department to be sure that your business is allowed in the zone, or area, you’ve selected. The Planning Department can tell you if your business meets the zoning requirements and whether you need any other type of City review or permit, such as Site Development Permit or Use Permit. Additionally, the Planning Department has information about signage and on-site parking requirements that may apply to your business and location. Remember that home-based businesses must also abide by the zoning regulations.
You can reach the Planning division at (707) 463-6203, 8:30 – 4:30, Monday through Friday, or visit the office at the Civic Center, 300 Seminary Ave.
Do you need a Building Permit?
Building permits are required to modify the space your business will occupy, including improvements or changes to the building’s structure, electrical, mechanical or plumbing systems.
You can contact the Building Department at (707) 463-6203 for information on applying for a building permit.
Whether you’re operating from home or a storefront, office or industrial park, you’ll need a Business License. Business License applications are managed by the City in conjunction with a web portal hosted by MyGov. Please see the Business License page for more information. Remember to submit your application several weeks before you open for business and be sure you’ve secured all of your necessary planning approvals. Business Licenses are renewed annually.
The issuance of the City of Ukiah Business License Certificate does not authorize you to operate your business until the Planning Department, Fire Marshal, and Building Inspector have approved the building for use at your desired location. Through the business license application process, if an inspection is required, you will be contacted by the Building Inspector and Fire Marshal to have your location inspected within 4 weeks. Additional permits and related charges may apply. (City of Ukiah Municipal Code, Sections 2112,2113 and 2114).
Downtown Improvement District
If your business is located within the downtown improvement district, there is an additional fee that is collected by the City of Ukiah with your business license fee. This fee is used by the Main Street Program for decoration of public areas, promotion of events and general promotion of business in the area. The Downtown Improvement District fee is equal to your business license permit, however the DID fee shall not exceed $250.00 (business license fees do not have a maximum). You may call Main Street Program at (707) 463-6729 for further information regarding the use of these funds or their meeting schedules.
Utilities for Your Business
If you would like to open a new commercial account for water, electric, and sewer service, call the City’s Customer Service Department at (707) 463-6226, M-F 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fill out the application and bring it in to the Ukiah Civic Center at 300 Seminary Ave., Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A deposit and two references will be required when you apply.
Licensure of Tobacco Retailers
The City has an ordinance to dissuade tobacco retailers within the Ukiah city limits from selling tobacco products to minors and creating an enforcement mechanism against those retailers that are
selling and continue to sell to youth. The Ordinance requires tobacco retailers to obtain a license annually. Such license will be required to be displayed at place of business. Contact the Finance Department for more information.
Check with the Fire Marshal
Fire Protection and Safety Inspection
Building or remodeling may require a permit for sprinklers and/or fire alarm systems. After applying for a Business License you will have an inspection for fire safety prior to opening your business.
Call the Fire Marshal at (707) 462-6264
or the Deputy Fire Marshal at (707) 463-6730
Check with Mendocino County
Naming Your Business
If you will be using a fictitious name for your business (a name other than your personal, legal name), you will need to check with the County Clerk to be sure no one else is using that name before completing
a Fictitious Business Name Statement. The Mendocino County Clerk is located in Ukiah at 501 Low Gap Road. You need to go into the office to perform this search. Call for more information (707) 234-6822.
Any type of retail food sales requires a permit from Mendocino County’s Department of Environmental Health. For new facilities you will need to submit building plans to both the City’s Community Development Department and the County’s Department of Environmental Health. For more information call (707) 463-4466 or visit their website at www.co.mendocino.ca.us/eh/consumerprotection.htm.
Check with State and Federal Organizations
Seller’s Permit: When You Need One/Where to Go
If you plan to sell or lease retail or wholesale goods, you’ll need a Seller’s Permit or “resale number”. Contact the State Board of Equalization by calling 1-800-400-7115 or (707) 576-2100, visit their website at www.boe.ca.gov or stop by the Santa Rosa office at 50 D Street, Room 230, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Federal and State Identification Numbers: When You Need One/Where to Go
All new businesses employing one or more persons must apply for a State Employer’s Identification Number. Contact the State’s Employment Development Department by calling (888) 745-3886, visit their website at www.edd.ca.gov, or stop by the Santa Rosa office at 50 D Street, Room 415, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You will also need a Federal Identification Number if you’re employing one or more persons. Contact the IRS Business Tax Line at (800) 829-1040, visit their website at www.irs.gov, or stop by the Santa Rosa office at 777 Sonoma Avenue between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also call (707) 523-0924.
Selling Alcoholic Beverages
You must first ask the City’s Planning Division if your business is located within a zone that allows for alcohol sales. Once you have determined that your business location allows for the sale of alcoholic beverages, you may apply to the State of California’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) office, which issues the actual license. For more information on where and how to apply, check the ABC’s website at
Finding Qualified Employees
Finding the Right Employees
Mendocino Private Industry Council (MPIC) – your connection to prospective employees, employers, and vital community resources in Mendocino County. Their convenient one-stop resource centers give you access to a partnership of organizations dedicated to improving our local workforce. Questions? Call (707) 467-5900 or visit www.mpic.org.