FAQs about Starting a California Sole Proprietorship

What qualifies as a sole proprietorship in California?
In California, a sole proprietorship begins when an individual starts business activities.
Do you need a business plan to start a sole proprietorship in California?
It’s not required by California law, although it’s a good idea to have one to make it easier to plan where you want your business to go and how to grow it.
How much does it cost to start a sole proprietorship in California?
Starting a sole proprietorship in California can be as little as $26 for filing fees if you don't rent office space or have employees.
Can sole proprietors in California hire employees?
If your sole proprietorship hires employees, you need to register for an employer identification number (EIN) with the IRS. To register for an EIN, you can go on the IRS website.
How do I look up a sole proprietorship in California?
Do sole proprietors in California need a license?
California doesn’t require a statewide license for operating a business. However, depending on the goods or services you provide, you might also need a professional or occupational license required by your county or city.
Is a DBA required for California sole proprietorships?
A DBA is a legal requirement to operate your business with a trade name or a name different from your registered legal name. If you’re doing business under a different name than your own, California requires a DBA. The only exception to this rule is if a sole proprietor incorporates his or her last name into the business name.
Are there any alternatives to starting a sole proprietorship in California?
If you're concerned about liability issues, opening a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation can be the way to go. This way you mitigate any personal losses if you're sued.


Sole proprietoship in California is one of the most popular business models to start with. And it's no surprise. The small amount of paperwork it requires as well as its inexpensive filing fees make it easy to set up. Now that you have a background on what it takes to run a sole proprietorship, take stock of your business needs and start taking action to improve and safeguard your business. 

About the Author

Sarah Sharkey

Written by: Amalia Santa Maria

Personal Finance Content Writer and Editor

Copywriter and content creator writing technical articles on finance that allow an average person to easily understand and connect with financial concepts.

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