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 read and understand the resources available to you before you start this process. The process starts with the development of a business plan. (see below for assistance). Once the business plan is underway, it is time to check with the city, the county, and then there are steps to take with state and federal agencies. Finally, additional resources are listed for your convenience. 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.
You May Need a Business Plan - Who to Contact for Assistance
West Company is a local nonprofit that assists local microbusinesses to grow self-sufficiency and wealth in Mendocino County. Through business training and consulting programs, West Company assists clients in the development of a business plan for both start-up and expansion purposes. For more information call the West Company at (866) 604-9378, (707)-964-7571 or visit http://www.westcompany.org .
Economic Development and Financing Corporation (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) 467-5953, or visit http://www.edfc.org .
The Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center (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) 964-7571, visit their office at 606 Healdsburg Avenue in downtown Santa Rosa, or visit www.santarosa.edu/instruction/jtwd/sbdc .
City of Ukiah - 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 Sage Sangiacomo for information and referrals that will help ensure your success. Sage Sangiacomo E-mail Form.
Check with the City
Find out Zoning Requirements
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 by clicking here, or 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?
When You Need One/Where to Go
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.
How to Obtain a Business License
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 the 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 the next 4 weeks. Additional permits and related charges may apply. (City of Ukiah Municipal Code, Sections 2112,2113 and 2114).
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, and available through the Finance Department. For more information or questions about your application, please call (707) 463-6202.
The Business License Application documents are available as one file in Adobe Acrobat format and can be downloaded here. After you download it, print it, complete and submit it along with your documentation to:
City of Ukiah
Billing and Collection Department
300 Seminary Avenue
Ukiah, CA 95482
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.
Check with the Fire Marshal
Building or remodeling may require 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 contact by e-mail: Fire Marshal E-mail Form;
or the Deputy Fire Marshal at (707) 463-6730 or contact by e-mail: Deputy Fire Marshal E-mail Form.
Will you be in the 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.
Where do I go to connect the Utilities?
If you would like to open a new commercial account for water, electric, and sewer service, call the City's Utilities Department at (707) 463-6226, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Download the City of Ukiah Commercial Utilities Application here.
Fill out the form 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 see 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 Leigh Halvorsen at (707) 463-6225 for more information. Or contact by e-mail: Leigh Hallvorsen E-mail Form.
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) 463-4370.
Any type of retail food sales requires a permit from the 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 http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/eh/consumerprotection.htm.
Additional Information Available from State and Federal
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 http://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 http://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 www.abc.ca.gov.
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 - with six convenient locations to serve you. Questions? Write to us at: MPIC - 631 South Orchard Street, Ukiah, CA 95482, or call (707) 468-1196 or 1-800-616-1196 http://www.mpic.org/.
Additional Help is Available
Greater Ukiah Chamber of Commerce has served the needs of the business community; operating to enhance and improve the business environment in Ukiah and the Ukiah Valley. Contact the Chamber at (707) 462-4705 or email@example.com.
Ukiah Main Street Program: Improving economic management, strengthening public participation, and making downtown a fun place to visit are as crucial to Main Street's future as recruiting new businesses, rehabilitating buildings, and expanding parking. Building on downtown's inherent assets-rich architecture, personal service, traditional values and most of all, a sense of place the Main Street approach has rekindled entrepreneurship, downtown cooperation and civic concern. 200 S. School Street Ukiah, Ca 95482 Phone: (707) 463-6729 Fax: (707) 462-2088 Monday - Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm firstname.lastname@example.org
Greater Ukiah Localization Project (GULP) promotes locally owned area businesses. GULP is a volunteer, non profit organization working to strengthen and localize Ukiah’s economy. For more information about GULP write to P.O. Box 1435, Ukiah, CA 95482 or email to email@example.com.
Mendocino College serves the educational needs of our students and our community by providing academic programs, transfer preparation, vocational training, lifelong learning opportunities and student support.
Mendocino College contributes to community vitality by inspiring student learning and motivating personal development. We deliver excellent, innovative educational and support programs that are accessible to all and that focus on student success.
Mendocino College responds to your immediate business improvement needs by providing performance-based knowledge and skills for your employees, and performance consulting to assist you on achieving your business goals. Contact Mendocino College for more information at: 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah, CA 95482. Tel: (707) 468-3101, Website: http://www.mendocino.edu/tc/index.html
This page was updated on: February 26, 2008.
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