I work with a lot of business owners in San Luis Obispo, and being one myself, I thought I’d right a ‘quick start’ tutorial on how to set up the simplest kind of business — a sole proprietorship.
This article is meant to be a nuts-and-bolts, “what’s needed”, general information in order to create a formal sole-prop business in SLO.
Fictitious Business Name Filing
If you are using a fictitious name, or a doing business as (DBA) name, you will first need to file for it with San Luis Obispo County. Here is the 4 step process outlined: https://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Clerk-Recorder/All-Services/Fictitious-Business-Name-New-Filing.aspx
In short, you’ll need to make sure your fictitious business name isn’t taken then file for the name here: https://crrecords.slocounty.ca.gov/SLOWeb/action/ACTIONGROUP201S3
Then, you need to publish the fictitious business name statement once a week for four weeks in a local newspaper like the tribune.
Then the newspaper will provide you with proof of publication to the County of San Luis Obispo.
The fee for is about $52. Here’s the link to the county fees: https://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Clerk-Recorder/Forms-Documents/Fees/Fee-Schedule.aspx
2. Acquiring the City Business License.
You’ll need complete the business application: https://www.slocity.org/home/showdocument?id=8083
You can mail it to: P.O. Box 8112, San Luis Obispo, CA 93403-8112 or drop it off at: 990 Palm Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-3249
If your business address is your home, you’ll need to complete this form and submit it along with your business application: https://www.slocity.org/home/showdocument?id=11454
You as the home owner, or your land lord will need to sign it. The city will post a small sign in front of your home for a couple weeks that a business permit is pending.
The total cost for the business license for a home-based business located within the city limits is $226.96
Here is the cities “How do I get a business license?” page with more info:
3. Setting up separate Business Checking, Savings accounts.
Next, I would go to either the current bank you use, or search for an online business bank to set-up separate business checking and savings accounts. You will need a copy of your business license for this. These accounts will further legitimize your business by keeping all your expenses and revenue separate from your personal bank accounts.
I also like the idea of starting a separate credit history for your business as soon as possible by applying for a separate business credit card with which you can make business expenses with. Disclaimer: if you are not “good” with credit cards, or have a history of not paying your credit card balance off every month, then it’s not a good idea to put yourself in a position to rack up credit card debt through your business. A credit card only makes sense if you pay off the balance every month so as to not subject yourself to any high interest fees.
Disclaimer: this article is not meant to be specific advice nor recommendations for anybody, rather general information.