Calling all foodies! Whether you’re interested in mobile food vending (read: food truck) or selling your famous homemade jam to local retailers or at food festivals, this is the section for you to get a quick look at what permits and paperwork you need.
Step 1: File for a Fictitious Name license. What’s the name of your business? If you plan on naming your business something other than your name, you’ll need a fictitious name statement. If you’re going to use your own name, you are exempt from this step.
- It’s recommended that you search the fictitious name directory here (http://www.co.alameda.ca.us/auditor/clerk/fbn.htm) to see if anyone else has the name you have in mind.
- Once you’ve chosen your business name, look here (www.co.alameda.ca.us/auditor/clerk/filefbn2.htm) for more information on filing or call (510) 272-6362.
- Here is the form you need to fill out and send in, along with a check for $41 (http://www.co.alameda.ca.us/auditor/clerk/fbnforms.htm).
Step 2: Get a Seller’s Permit. You will need a Seller’s Permit if you:
- Are engaged in business in California.
- Intend to sell or lease tangible personal property that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail (this includes wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers).
- Will make sales for a temporary period, normally lasting no longer than 90 days at one or more locations (for example, fireworks booth, Christmas tree lots, garage sale).
- Register for your permit here (http://www.boe.ca.gov/elecsrv/esrvcont.htm#page=Overview).
Step 3: Obtain a City of Oakland Vendor Permit. You’re going to have to go in person for this one:
250 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 2nd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Step 4: Get a Health Permit. For mobile vending and catering, you’ll need to fill out this form (http://www.acgov.org/aceh/food/MOBILE-FOOD-UNITS_AND_CATERER-REGISTRATION.pdf).
Step 5: Next, you’ll need a Zoning Clearance Number. This is required for all Oakland-based businesses and notifies the City what type of business you’re operating and where you’re operating from. Simply fill out this form (http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/ceda/documents/form/oak037285.pdf) and return it to:
250 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 2nd Floor, Oakland, CA 94612
Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Step 6: Every service-oriented business working out of a home must file for a business license, aka a Business Tax Certificate, and pay an annual business tax. For your business license, you’ll need (as we’ve already mentioned above):
- A California State Seller’s Permit Number (required for all businesses with buy and sell activity)
- Zoning Clearance Number (http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/ceda/documents/form/oak037285.pdf)
- EIN or Tax ID Number (http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online)
- The initial fee is $60, and then you’ll pay annual taxes after that. You will get a paper certificate from the business tax office approximately two weeks after you pay your fee. Get the 2013 New Business Application here: (http://www.oaklandnet.com/government/fwawebsite/revenue/pdf/Newbizapp.pdf)
- Fictitious Name License: http://www.co.alameda.ca.us/auditor/clerk/fbnforms.htm
- Seller’s Permit: http://www.boe.ca.gov/elecsrv/esrvcont.htm#page=Overview
- City of Oakland Vendor Permit: You’re going to have to go in person for this one.
- 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 2340, Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 238‐3443
- Health permit: http://www.acgov.org/aceh/food/MOBILE-FOOD-UNITS_AND_CATERER-REGISTRATION.pdf
- Zoning Clearance Number: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/ceda/documents/form/oak037285.pdf
- EIN or Tax ID number: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online
- Business License: http://www.oaklandnet.com/government/fwawebsite/revenue/pdf/Newbizapp.pdf
La Placita’s Entrepreneur Program for Mobile Food Vendors
2735 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland, CA 94601
La Placita has created a quick-start program that involves a lot of hands-on training. You’ll learn all you need to know about this highly profitable micro-business in a short period of time with crash courses in taxation and licensing, preparing food for public consumption, public health policies, and your legal rights as a mobile food vendor.
FEED ME: City of Oakland Mobile Food Vending Locations and Schedule
California Homemade Food Act
There’s also a new ordinance that says you can prepare foodstuffs for sale in your home. It states that “an enterprise at a private home where low-risk food products are prepared or packaged for sale to consumers” is legal up to $45,000 in gross sales for 2014.
The California Restaurant Association
621 Capitol Mall, Suite 2000, Sacramento, CA 95814
The mission of the California Restaurant Association is to be the definitive voice of the California foodservice industry and to protect and promote its success through advocacy, education and support. CRA serves as the indispensable resource for California restaurateurs with benefits that include a membership hotline, discounts and more.
Oakland Restaurant Association members share best practices, negotiate group rate contracts for cost saving, and work together on common goals and objectives. Affiliation provides your restaurant access to: Education, Advocacy, Marketing, and Tools to decrease operating costs and increase profits.
The SF Cart Project was created to complement the research of people interested in starting or expanding their street food endeavors by providing a relevant central resource for documents, information and community awareness. Documents and legislation can be confusing and occasionally contradictory, and this site is intended to be an affordable resource for businesses to find the basic information they need.
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