The City has no Business License requirements for most businesses located in, or contracted to do business, in the City. For businesses occupying commercial property, a one-time certificate of use and occupancy is likely required. You can find the application here.
Some businesses and special events do require special permits issued by the Police Department. If you are planning a special event, click here.
If you would like to search a partial list of special business permits, click here.
Are businesses allowed out of one’s home?
The City Code does allow for certain types of small businesses to be operated from one’s home, as long as the employees working from the home reside there. Generally, this does not allow for any type of business that relies on customer visits, heavy equipment or emissions, signage, or takes up more than 25% of the dwelling (or 500 square feet, whichever is lesser). For our specific guidelines, please search our City Code [http://www.amlegal.com/library/ca/paloalto.shtml] section 18.42.060 (Home Occupation)