CA Business License concern

Hello all, I have been debating whether or not to get my own feet off the ground and take a stab at window cleaning. I have done it for my current employer but want to venture off on my own, as cleaning windows can be fun, but cleaning for someone else at an hourly rate is not worth it.

I live in an unincorporated part of Monterey County, and apparently I don’t need a business license to work in such places, but for establishing my own business, you would think I would need a license with the state, or county at the very least.

I finally went to my nearest City Hall, and they said I would need a business license for EVERY city I work in. Now I have seen a couple of topics here and there on these forums that are a few years old, but I was wondering how many of the people who clean windows in CA abide by that and gets a license for every city they service. I tried calling around to figure out pricing a while ago, and some people wouldn’t come out to my area, even if it is easy to get to and is no more than 15 miles away from their office. I placed my cards that they were too busy or just didn’t think my area was worth jack to them.

So I am thinking maybe this business license for every city thing could be causing that issue (even though you don’t need one for my town). If so, looks like I am going to be working for someone else for a while longer. I’ve always thought this business license issue would be the thing to discourage me.

there are many costs involved with operating a legitimate business, that is but one tiny part

Yes, you are supposed to have a license for every city you do business in. Thats true.

That’s your call if you want to follow the law or not.

I doubt it’s the reason why others in the area won’t service 15 miles away. Usually, established outfits know the hot zones and can sniff out a newbie trying to call for fake prices or whatever. Why? We all did it.

There IS a license for construction cleans that is a state license.

Out of curiosity, what made you want to go out on your own?

Thanks for the response.

I wanted to go out on my own mainly because I am tired of working for other people for pennies. Mainly worked retail, fed up with it.

I work for a small business that does a lot of janitorial stuff, but hardly any core workers, mostly get subcontractors for distant or big jobs. If I wanted a decent paycheck I’d have to work many split shifts, out almost all day for a month plus, hitting 13 hour days, unpredictable schedule changes and cancellations.

I asked for less work or a more predictable schedule with at least a day off in the week. 13 hour work days were taking a toll on me, heck even 10. Now I have hardly any work. Yeah, that made me want to go out on my own. I also did windows with the company I work for, but its not worth what I was getting paid! Windows were kind of fun!

I figured, if I am going to work like this, I might as well have my own business and potentially get more money than I was, get what I thought my time was worth. Figure a slow month would bring me around what I already made before work was cut.

How much does a licence cost?Maybe buy one licence for now and start working part time for your own business.Start building a nest egg to buy more licences

Eventually you’ll be in a positon to walk away from the company and run your own business.I know it seems like a slow way to climb the ladder but it might be your best option if you re not in a position to walk away from your current job.Is approaching your bank for a business loan an option you could take??

I doubt you need a license in every city you work in. If that were true we would need to manage dozens of licenses. That requirement is probably if you have a commercial store or office.

Maybe it is different in California though.

Well, California is pretty weird in its own ways lol.

Dotsy, I believe it is a possibility for me to get a loan. I’ve had to charge a lot to credit cards for major car repairs though. Either way, and I dont know if they would do it, if I go for a loan it would be a rather small one, probably enough for a run down truck for transporting ladders more efficiently.

I was indeed thinking worse comes to worse, I’ll try getting what money I can, then invest it in more licenses for the areas I want to work. I do find it hard to believe that somehow someones enforcing such a thing for every mobile business in every city. But no one likes a surprise fine!

I don’t know anything about business license enforcement in CA but I do know that when you start getting payments from your clients and you get to keep 100% you will be happy.
Yes, you will have to spend money to run your business but you will be spending money on your stuff that you own and that is a good feeling.
So get out there and get some clients!

1 Like

Thanks! I’ll get the ball rolling! I’m going to check out Thumbtack (kinda sad last month I saw 12 requests while I was just snooping the site, and nothing this month), post of Craigslist, and go door to door for a bit. Should I have no luck I’ll be back here asking for help with residential clients!!!