Licenses and Permits FAQ

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions from regarding the process of starting a business in San Antonio. For further questions, please call 210-598-6623 to schedule an appointment with the small business liaison.

Do I need a Business License?

The City of San Antonio does not have a general business license. The type of license or permit needed is based on the product or service you plan to provide.

Food Service – If you plan to prepare and sell food, call the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District at 311 or (210) 207-6000, or visit them at the Cliff Morton Development and Business Services Center, 1901 S. Alamo St.  Also, go to the website: www.sanantonio.gov/Health/FoodLicensing.aspx

Cottage Food Production Operation – If you plan to produce food at home and sell to the public, such as: baked goods, candy, coated and uncoated nuts, unroasted nut butters, fruit butters, a canned jam or jelly, a fruit pie, and dehydrated fruit or vegetables, call the Texas Department of State Health Services at (210) 834-6753, or go to the website: www.dshs.state.tx.us/foodestablishments/cottagefood/default.aspx

General Contractors – For contractor registration and construction/building permits, call Development Services Department (210) 207-1111, visit them at the Cliff Norton Development and Business Services Center, or go to the website: http://www.sanantonio.gov/DSD/Contractor

Peddler/Canvasser – If you plan to sell non-food tangible items via door-to-door, for future delivery, or from a vehicle in a public street, you will require a license. Contact the San Antonio Finance Department at (210) 207-8667, or go to the website: www.sanantonio.gov/Finance/taxeslicensesfees/permitslicenses.aspx

What is the first thing I need to do before opening a business establishment?

The first step to consider before purchasing a property or signing a lease is to determine the type of business activity that may be permitted on the property. You also need to verify the zoning and ensure that the property is platted. For more information and to schedule a free commercial consultation, call Development Services Department at (210) 207-1111. You can also visit them at the Cliff Morton Development and Business Services Center, 1901 S. Alamo St.

Where do I file to create a Limited Liability Company or a Corporation?

All businesses operating in Texas as Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, Professional Corporation, Professional Associations, and Non-Profit Corporations must file a Certificate of Formation with the Texas Secretary of State. The Texas Secretary of State provides a summary of requirements for the creation of these entities.  For more information call (512) 463-5555 or go to www.sos.state.tx.us/corp/index.shtml


What do I need to open a retail store?

First, verify the zoning on the property (see the first question). Additionally, any building being used or occupied as a commercial structure must have a Certificate of Occupancy. The type of proposed business will determine if you need an on-site inspection or simply a name change on the existing Certificate of Occupancy. Call Development Services Department (210) 207-1111, visit them at the Cliff Morton Development and Business Services Center, 1901 S. Alamo St.

Do I need a license or permit for a home-based business or home occupation?

No. A Home Occupation is defined by the Unified Development Code (UDC) as follows: “Any activity carried out for gain by a resident conducted as an accessory use in the resident’s dwelling unit.”  There are a number of conditions that apply if your home is located within the San Antonio City limits. For a complete list of conditions download the Small Business Resource Guide.

How do I Register a Business Name?

If a business will operate as a sole proprietor or a partnership, and it plans to operate under an assumed name, then an Assumed Name Certificate must be filed with the Bexar County Clerk Office.  For more information call the Bexar County Clerk Office at (210) 335-2223 or visit them at the Paul Elizondo Tower, 101 W. Nueva St., Suite 120. To obtain the Assumed Name Form, go to the website: https://gov.kofiletech.us/TX-Bexar/AssumedNames.aspx

How do I obtain a Texas Sales and Use Tax Permit?

Every sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or other legal entity going into business should call the Texas Comptroller’s Office to determine if a Sales and Use Tax Permit is required for the product you plan to sell, rent, lease or for the service you plan to render. THERE IS NO FEE FOR A SALES AND USE TAX PERMIT. However, you may be required to furnish a bond or security. Contact the Texas Comptroller’s Office at (800) 252-5555 or go to the website: https://comptroller.texas.gov/

How do I obtain a Federal Tax ID or Employer Identification Number (EIN)? 

A sole proprietor who pays wages must have an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Additionally, every partnership, corporation, non-profit organization, and other legal entities must have an EIN. To apply for an EIN call the Internal Revenue Service Business and Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933 or go to www.irs.gov

For assistance with licenses, permits, and business regulatory requirements needed to start a business in San Antonio, contact Hugo Villarreal, Small Business Liaison at (210)207-3903.