Congratulations on deciding to get licensed to cater in Los Angeles. Owning your own business is very rewarding. But before you can begin filling out the license form, some decisions need to be made.
To get licensed to cater in Los Angeles, you will need to:
- Decide what form of ownership will your catering business be? For example, will it be a Sole proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, LLC or Trust? If you take no legal steps, you're automatically a sole proprietorship, but you must mark a choice on the license form.
- Next you must register your catering business with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office. This is called Fictitious Name Filing or DBA (doing business as). This is the time you get to officially claim the creative name of your new business. The form for filing can be accessed at lavote.net.
- The business license form also asks for a social security number or employer identification number (EIN). You can use your social security number if you register as a sole proprietorship, or apply for an EIN online at irs.gov.
- Now you are ready to get your L.A. catering business licensed and permitted. The business licensing office for Los Angeles has the form (called Business Tax Certificate) online at finance.lacity.org. You can fill it in and submit it by email. Depending on the services you plan to offer other permits might be needed, for example, if you plan on serving alcohol or having employees. You can find all the different requirements for the Federal, State, County and city by visiting CalGold.ca.gov.
- Your catering business will also need a Public Health Operating license from the L.A. County Environmental Health and Safety Department. This is a program unique to Los Angeles. The Department of Health is responsible for the grade system patrons find comfort in when visiting a restaurant. Getting an "A" has a whole new meaning in the food business.
Once you have your business license from the city and your permit from the Health Department you are ready to start doing what you set out to do. Feed the hungry people of Los Angeles.