On June 17, 2003, the Merced County Board of Supervisors approved a Business License Ordinance requiring businesses either located within and/ or conducting business in the unincorporated areas of the County to obtain a Merced County Business License.

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Your business must meet local, state and federal regulations governing business activities.  If you are interested in starting a business or expanding your business within the unincorporated areas of Merced County, you must comply with local procedures and permits. The permits you will need depend upon the type of business you plan to operate.


Fictitious Business Name:

If you conduct business under a name other than your legal name, you need to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the County Clerk.

Zoning Check:    

Before applying for a business license, you should make sure that the proposed use of the property is consistent with Merced County's zoning. This includes home based businesses.

Health Permit:   

A Health Permit is required for certain types of businesses.  Check with Environmental Health before obtaining a business license.

›  Building Permit:  

A building permit is required if you plan to build or make physical changes or cosmetic changes to the interior or exterior of the building.  

To view a flow chart illustrating the the steps to obtaining a business license CLICK HERE

Other Business Checklist Links:

    ›  Seller's Permit/ Sales and Use Tax Permit:   California State Board of Equalization

    ›  Alcoholic Beverage License:  Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control


    ›  Contractor's State License:  Contractor's State License Board

    ›  State Employer ID Number:  Employment Development Department

    ›  Federal ID Number:  Internal Revenue Service

    ›  Consumer Affairs


If your business is located within the city's limits, contact the business permit and licensing department of your city's government.

For any further questions, please contact:


                                                                       Mary Cervantes, Business Assistance Manager

                                                   Merced Co. Dept. Commerce, Aviation and Economic Development

                                                                                         2507 Heritage Drive

                                                                                           Atwater, CA 95301

                                                                                        Phone: (209) 385-7686

                                                                                           Fax: (209) 383-4959