Starting a Business in the City of Grass Valley

The City of Grass Valley welcomes you to its business community. Starting a business can be an exciting and challenging time. We wish you great success in your new venture!

The City of Grass Valley requires a business license for businesses operating in the City. A business license is required regardless of the trade, profession or occupation and regardless of whether the main business address is located within the City. Business licenses expire on December 31st each year and must be renewed annually.

The easiest and fastest way to apply for a new business license or renew your current license is using the online filing service. To begin, simply click on the “start now” button located on the right of this page. From the main menu please select the “apply” option to submit a new application for your business. Alternatively, you may download a copy of the business license application directly from the helpful forms section of this website.

If you need further assistance applying for a business license, you are welcome to contact us at or by phone Toll-Free at (530) 768-2497. Office hours are Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

What is a Business License?

A business license is an annual business tax for doing business within the City limits. The City of Grass Valley Municipal Code (Section 5.04.070) requires that you obtain a license when you conduct any business activity within the City, even if your business is located outside of the City limits or if you have a business license from another City or County.

Business license taxes and fees help pay for City services like roads, fire, police and other community services. These services benefit businesses, business owners, and the general public. Business licenses are renewed annually.

Are there any special requirements on where I locate or conduct my business?

Yes, businesses operating from a location inside the City of Grass Valley may require a review from the Community Development Department / Police Department and/or other agencies. Before signing a lease for a new business location or relocating an existing business, please check with the City’s Planning Department for zoning compatibility.

All businesses with a physical location inside City limits must complete the Industrial Pretreatment Preliminary Survey and Cross Connection Survey emailed to you or it can be downloaded from the list of helpful forms located on the right.

Commercial Businesses: Please check with the City’s Planning Department to ensure the zoning and business activity are compatible. If your business is located in downtown Grass Valley, you may be in the Grass Valley Downtown Assessment District. Yearly assessment fees are collected by the City of Grass Valley. There is a fire assessment tax due from each business in a commercial location, such as a business in its own building, or in its own suite of a larger building. For businesses that share a common space, only one fire tax must be paid.

Home-Based Businesses: A business license is required for home occupations. Additionally, the business must comply with the City’s Zoning Ordinance and Development Code. If you have questions regarding zoning or Development Code requirements, please contact the Planning Department at 530-274-4716.

Child Day Care: In accordance with the California Child Day Care Facilities Act, small family child care homes are exempt from obtaining a businesss license.