This website is a work in progress. If you'd like to give website feedback you can fill out our public survey here.

Overview of Standard Business Permits

These are some standard permits required for many common types of businesses. This is not a complete list for all types of businesses that operate in the City of Oakland. Make sure to check CalGold website to see what kinds of permits you will need for your type of business.

Building permits are documents you get through the Office of Planning and Building. They authorize the start of construction or remodeling of a building in the City of Oakland. There are four types of permits which may be required before you get started:

  1. Building
  2. Electrical
  3. Plumbing
  4. Mechanical

You can learn more about different kinds of permits at the Permit Center at the Planning and Building Department.

Other Common Fees and Permits

Rent Adjustment
If you rent out one or more residential units, you may be subject to the City of Oakland’s Rent Program service fee of $30 per year per unit. Learn more about being a landlord in the City of Oakland by visiting the Rental Adjustment Program.

Excess Litter Fee
Some kinds of businesses create lots of extra garbage. If your business is listed below, you may be subject to the Excess Litter Fee.

  • Fast food restaurants
  • Convenience markets
  • Gasoline station markets
  • Liquor stores

Peddler Permit
If you intend to sell or solicit door-to-door, you must obtain a peddler permit. Visit the Oakland Police Department to obtain the permit application, and return the completed Peddler Permit to the Business Tax Office.

Oakland Police Department
455 7th Street, Room 306
Oakland, CA 94607

Fire Department Permits
If you are starting a new business, or even expanding an old business, you will probably need to submit a permit application to the Fire Prevention Office. After you turn in your permit application, the Fire Prevention Office will review it. They might also decide to inspect your business before they decide to issue you a fire permit.

We strongly recommend that business owners meet with the Oakland Fire Department as early as possible. Many permits applications are denied because after problems are discovered during the fire inspection phase. Meeting with the Oakland Fire Department early in the process will save you time and money as you are starting or expanding your business. Learn more about permits from the Oakland Fire Department.

Additional County and State Requirements

Seller's Permit for Retail/Wholesale Sales
If you will be selling retail or wholesale items which require collection of state sales taxes, you need a Sellers Permit. You can learn more about Seller's Permits at the California State Board of Equalization

Health Permit for Food Establishments
If you will be serving and selling food, you must obtain a health permit before applying for your Business Tax Certificate. Learn more about Health Permits from Alameda County Environmental Health

Alcoholic Beverage License
If you intend to sell alcoholic beverages, you must have an Alcoholic Beverage License. Learn more at Alcoholic Beverage Control

Hazardous Waste Permit
If your company intends to deal with hazardous waste (such as solvents, motor oil, paints, pesticides, fertilizers, aerosol, etc), you will need to apply for a hazardous waste permit with the County of Alameda. For more details, call Alameda County Environmental Health at (510) 567-6702 or visit Alameda County Environmental Health