Business Certificates

Every company / person doing business based in a commercial building in the City of Poway must obtain a business certificate. Contractors who are based in another city and are performing a contracted job in the City of Poway are also required to obtain a City of Poway business certificate. They must also have a business license from the city in which their business is based.

Business Certificates

Business Certificates Application

Apply / renew online or fill out the Business Certificate Application (PDF) to file in person or by mail.

Information Required for Application

In addition to general business information, prior to applying you will need the following information.

Federal Employer Identification Number

This number may be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service or by calling 800-829-1040.

Resale License / Seller's Permit

A seller's permit number is required for all persons selling tangible property, which is subject to state sales and use tax. For more information, contact the State Board of Equalization. You may apply online or in person. The local office can be contacted at 858-385-4700 and is located at:

15015 Avenue of Science
Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92101

State Tax Identification Number / State ID

Businesses are required to obtain a state identification number to report employee taxes to the state. For more information, call 888-745-3886.

Agriculture, Weights & Measures - Standards Enforcement

State and county laws require the annual registration and inspection of commercial weighing and measuring devices before they are placed into service. For more information, contact County of San Diego or call 888-878-3722.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. For more information, contact the U.S. Census Bureau.

Fictitious Business Name

The owners of a business who use a fictitious name (one other than his/her own name) for their business must clear the business name through the County Clerk to ensure no one else is using that name. State Law requires a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) statement be filed with the County Clerk to identify the name(s) of the owner(s) and the location of a business. An FBN statement needs to be filed every 5 years unless the business location or ownership changes. For more information, contact the San Diego County Clerk. Local offices are located in Kearny Mesa and San Marcos at:

9225 Clairemont Mesa
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: 858-505-6262

141 East Carmel Street
San Marcos, CA 92078
Phone: 760-940-6868

Possibly Required Information

Depending on your business, you may also need to provide the following information.

Contractor's License

A contractor's license may be required. Call 858-668-4401 for more information.

Health Permit

Any business that handles, prepares, or sells food or edible items must contact the County of San Diego Environmental Health Department for a Public Health Permit. The permit number is required information on the City of Poway Business Certificate application.

Subleasing Business Certification Information

If you are subleasing space from another business, you must provide the owner name and the business certificate number for that business. This information is used by Safety Services to determine if an additional inspection is required.


Initial application fee is $119. Biannual renewal fee is $24. These fees are non-refundable and include a $4 State Disability Access and Education fee (SB-1186).

A City of Poway Business Certificate protects the public interest, health, welfare, and safety by ensuring that all new and existing businesses in the city are made aware of and conform to all city zoning, fire, and public safety ordinances, rules, and regulations. The business certificate fee recovers the administrative costs of processing the application for the issuance or renewal.

Forms of Payment Accepted

Credit cards are required for online applications or renewals. When applying in person, cash, checks, and money orders are accepted.


Three divisions review each business certificate: Building, Planning, and Fire / Safety Services. The normal processing time is approximately 7-10 working days.

Change of Address, Owner, or Business Name

Business certificates are approved for a specific location, owner, and business name and are not transferable. If any of this information changes, a new application / certificate is required. The fee is $119.

Location of Business

The City of Poway has established various zoning regulations that control the location and operation of commercial activities. A brief check with the Development Services Department staff before signing lease agreements or purchasing commercial property may prove to be very valuable. For more information, contact the City of Poway Development Services Department at 858-668-4600.

Additional Information

An in-depth view of the City of Poway's business certificate rules and processing is available in the Poway Municipal Code Title 5 section. If you need additional information, please call 858-668-4401.