City of San Carlos - Business Registrations


Business Registration Information

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Welcome to San Carlos!

Before you start, you will need to register your business with the City’s Finance division.       

         Frequently Asked Questions

 Who needs a business registration? 

 - Your business has a physical San Carlos address  ("In Town")

 - Your business doesn't have a San Carlos address, but advertises & conducts business in San Carlos ("Out of Town")


  - The City calculates business registration fees by category of business & # of employees

  -  In Town Businesses require Planning zoning approval prior to receiving a business registration 

  -  Out of Town Contractors applying for a city permit are required to obtain a business registration

  -  Specialized business types (massage, solicitors) require additional review, so processing can take 4-6 weeks


    1  Find Your Category 

    2. Calculate Your Fees for up to 15 employees

    3. Contact Planning to establish permitted zoning use for business in the location Email or Phone (650) 802-4263 

    4. Apply online as an In Town Businesses  or

        Apply online as an Out of Town Businesses (Contractors, Landscapers, Electricians, Mobile Food Vendors, etc.)

          (VISA & MasterCard accepted)

 Paper Applications:

 -  Download the In Town Application PDF  or

 -  Download Out of Town Application PDF 

 -  Download the Massage Therapy Information Packet and Business Registration Application PDF

 - Download the Solicitor Information Packet and Business Registration Application Packet PDF

 -  New massage business requires in person application process. Bring the completed form along with payment to the Finance Division at San Carlos City Hall

"In Town" Business Registrations are issued or renewed after:

 - Payment of an annual base fee

 - Payment of a per employee/unit fee

 - Payment of a zoning fee (if a new San Carlos business or a change of address within San Carlos)

  - Review & zoning approval from Planning (new businesses or change of San Carlos address)          

    Please contact Planning as your first step in the zoning review process. They can guide you on permitted uses for a location.


"Out of Town" Business Registrations are issued after::

 - Submission of an out of town contractor application (or online application)

 -  Payment of a fixed fee of $119 for 6 months or $201 for 12 months

Changes to your Existing Business Registration:
  • Change of address within San Carlos requires a new zoning clearance and Fire Dept review prior to issuance of an amended business registration certificate, per SCMC Code 5.04.070
  • Change of business name  or mailing address do not require zoning clearance
  • Ownership is not transferable and any changes in ownership require new business registration application, zoning review and applicable fees
  • For "in-town" businesses, please submit changes via the Business Registration Change Form.
  • For minor changes or changes to "out of town" businesses' account information, please submit changes via email at

   Renew Online (you will need your Account ID and Security Code, found on your Renewal Notice) 

    -- Out of Town Businesses don't typically receive Renewal Notices

    -- Please call or email if you need your Account ID and Security Code or would like to pay over the phone

Additional Resources:  

  Guide to Starting a Business in San Carlos 

  Business Registration Flow Chart 

  Starting a Business Checklist 

  Search Active Business Registrations

  Starting a Business in San Mateo County from the San Mateo County Assessor's Office website

  CA State Board of Equalization (Sellers' Permits)

  • If you have any questions about the fee schedule and amount due or you have more than 15 employees, please email or call the Finance Division at (650) 802-4213 for assistance
  • In addition to the annual fee for a business registration, all new, in-town businesses are subject to an $92 zoning review fee, which needs to be calculated with the base fee
  • If you have any question about the zoning for your type of business and location, please contact our Planning Division (650) 802-4263 *before* you submit your business registration application and fees
  • Change of business address within San Carlos is  subject to a $92 zoning fee. A change of mailing address does not require a fee. Any change of address needs to be submitted via the In Town Business Registration Application

Business Registration: 

   San Carlos Finance Department

   600 Elm Street, 2nd Floor

   San Carlos, CA 94070

Counter & Phone Hours: 

  9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday (closed 12 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. daily)


  Business Registrations

  Phone (650) 802-4213     Fax (650) 595-6707