Business Licensing

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Please be aware, new safeguards have been put in place that may affect our normal permitting process. Please visit the COVID-19 Business Resources page

Who Needs a Business License?
Any business located in the City of Torrance; will physically be working in the City of Torrance; or will be using their own vehicles to deliver to the City of Torrance.

Home Occupation Permit
A business operated from a residence in Torrance requires an approved Home Occupation Permit  issued by the Community Development Department before the applicant can apply for a business license.  This form is available under “Commonly Used Business License and Permit Forms” on the Business License and Permits page.

Zoning Approval Required
Zoning approval is required for your business address if:

  • your business is the first business to occupy the location
  • your business is different from what was previously licensed at the location (for example: changing from a doctor’s office to a retail store)
  • the business location has been vacant for over 90 days

Please contact the Business License Division, who will route your information to the Planning, Building, Environmental and Fire Prevention divisions for approval.  The routing process takes approximately ten (10) days for review and approval.  Once approved, the applicant can complete the business license application and pay the fees to obtain the business license.  If the location is denied by one of the divisions the applicant will be notified by that division of what requirements are needed to obtain approval.

License Review Board
Certain businesses such as any business serving alcohol, massage establishments, second hand dealers and used automobile dealers require approval from the City’s License Review Board before the business license can be obtained. A complete listing of the types of businesses that require the License Review Board’s approval can be found in section 31.7.3 of the Torrance Municipal Code. The business license applicant must appear before the Board to obtain the Board’s approval before the business license can be issued. The License Review Board meets monthly on the first and third Thursdays at 10:00 AM.

Alcoholic Beverage License
If your business will be selling any type of alcoholic beverages you must first obtain an Alcoholic Business License from the State Alcoholic Beverage Control. The link to their website is available by clicking on the on the Alcoholic Beverage License header.

Sales Tax Number
If your business requires a State Sales Tax Number, you must obtain this number from the State Board of Equalization before you can license. The State Board of Equalization is located at 5901 Green Valley Circle, Suite 200, Culver City and their phone number is (310) 342-1000. The link to their website is available by clicking on the Sales Tax Number header. 

Fictitious Name Statement 
Fictitious Name Statements (DBA-doing business as) are filed with the Los Angeles County Clerk. Local Newspapers also have the necessary forms and will handle the filing for you. The link to their website is available by clicking on the Fictitious Name Statement.

Alarm System Permit
If your business or home has an alarm system installed, you are required to obtain an Alarm System Permit. This application is available under “Commonly Used Business License and Permit Forms” on the Business License and Permits page or by clicking on the Alarm System Permit header.

Fire Inspection Fee
A Fire Inspection Fee is charged to all new businesses licensing from a fixed place, and currently licensed places of business that relocate in the City. The fee is paid by each business at each location and subsequent annual inspections are an additional cost. The Fire Department will inspect the building construction versus the type of occupancy to insure no hazardous process or operation is being conducted.

Health Permit
If a Health Permit is required for your business, your license information will be forwarded to the Los Angeles County Health Department for approval. Your license and health permit will be issued when approval is received.

Handbill Permit
License Tax is payable for distributing any handbills in Torrance. The fee is charged per person/per day and the permit must be obtained from the License Division before you distribute handbills.

Handbills must be delivered to the door of any house, apartment, or place of business or handed to a person and not otherwise left or thrown on private or public property. No handbill shall be placed on any automobile in Torrance.

State of California Disability Access Law
The State of California is requiring cities to provide information to businesses on accessibility requirements if they are making modifications on their property. The notice says that whether a business is moving into a newly constructed facility or the business owners are planning to make any alterations to their current facility they must comply with standards.

It’s important to have a certified access specialist come out even if the new facility may have already been permitted and approved.

The information is included online with City of Torrance Business License Applications.

Helpful Link for Businesses
Los Angeles County Office of Small Business

Finance Department - Business License Division
Phone: (310) 618-5828
Hours: 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM (Monday through Friday, closed alternate Fridays)