Business Certificates

The City of Poway welcomes your business. A business certificate is required in the City of Poway for any person who transacts, engages in or carries on any business within the city limits.  

Home Businesses

For home-based businesses, a Home Occupation Permit is required.

Application for Business Certificate

To obtain a business certificate for a new business or to renew your certificate, submit a completed application online or fill out a Business Certificate Application (PDF) to file in person or by mail.

Apply Renew Online Opens in new window

Apply Renew by Mail

Storm Water Industrial Permit (SB 205) Notice

Senate Bill (SB) 205 requires a person or entity conducting a business operation that is subject to the State Industrial General Storm Water Permit (IGP), 2014-0057-DWQ, to demonstrate enrollment when applying for an initial business certificate or business certificate renewal.  

Starting on January 1, 2020, applicable facilities are required to prove their compliance with the industrial stormwater permit when applying for or renewing their business certificate.  For more information regarding the State Industrial General Storm Water Permit (IGP), view our Guidance Handout or visit the website of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Storm Water Industrial Permit Opens in new window

Change of Address, Owner, or Business Name

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

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.

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.

Processing Time

The normal processing time for a complete application is approximately 10 working days.  Applications are reviewed by Building, Planning, Stormwater/Engineering Divisions and the Fire Department. 


The total initial application cost  is $147.42. The total biannual renewal cost is $52.42. These costs  are non-refundable and includes a Storm Water Processing Fee (SB-205), and a  State Disability Access and Education Fee (SB-1186).  Credit cards are required for online applications or renewals. When applying in person, cash, checks, and money orders are accepted.

The business certificate fee recovers a portion of the administrative costs of processing the application for the issuance or renewal.   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.

City Municipal Code Requirements

The City of Poway’s business certificate requirement is available in the Poway Municipal Code Title 5, Business Licenses and Regulations. If you need additional information, please call 858-668-4401.

Additional Information