NOTE: Do not sign a lease until you've checked with the city to make sure the building can be used for your type of business.
There are many differences between business property types to consider before starting your business. Some businesses, such as restaurants, need a commercial property. Other businesses can be home based or mobile. It is important to look at all the options when deciding on a property type. Keep in mind, it is easier to open your business at a location where the former business is the same. To open a restaurant in an old office building costs more and takes longer than to open your restaurant in a commercial property that was a restaurant before.
This is a business you operate out of your home. You will be asked on your business license application whether you are a home-based business. A home based business may have less costs compared to a business located in a commercial property.
If you choose to be a Home Based Business you must make sure your business type is allowed in your home. You can find more information about what is allowed on our Zoning page.
Also, if you plan on being a home based business and you currently are renting or leasing an apartment or space, we recommend checking your lease to make sure you can operate a business out of the rental space.
If you choose Home Based Business you must check if your business type is allowed in your home location. Call the Zoning Hotline or visit the Zoning Desk on the 4th floor of City Hall.
Coworking spaces provide a professional alternative to the loneliness of a home office. These spaces offer a community of startup founders, entrepreneurs, professionals, freelancers, and remote workers. You may find opportunities to network, people to bounce ideas off of and maybe do business with in a coworking space. They have many basic business needs: access to high-speed internet, professional meeting space, and flexible work spaces from private offices to open seating. If you operate your business out of a co-working space you will need to get a business license.
If you are a mobile business such as a gardener, housecleaner, or operate a mobile food truck you will need to get a business license. If you do not own a commercial property in Long Beach, your home address in Long Beach can be used as the business address. If you are a mobile based business and your home or commercial property is located outside of Long Beach, you can use either address as your business location. Some benefits of owning a mobile based business may be less business expenses than a commercial property and the ability to work at multiple locations throughout the city.
A commercial property, also known as a “brick and mortar” property, is a physical location such as a storefront or office building. Many businesses require a commercial property to conduct their business. If you do not purchase the commercial property, you may need to sign a lease. There are a lot of things to take into account before signing a lease or owning a commercial property. Consider the following as you select a location for your business:
Consider the size of the property you need for your business: How much square footage do you need? Is there room for expansion? Check the city rules and fire codes to see how many people are allowed per square foot. What is an appropriate sized space based on expected customer volume and equipment?
Each property has parking spaces allotted to it. Ask the landlord how many spots come with the property. Parking minimums depend on the business type you are opening. If you are a new business replacing an old business your parking minimum may be different. Even if it is the same kind of business. When parking requirements change, old businesses are 'grandfathered' into the new requirements. This does not happen often. Call the Planning Department to learn about the specific rules for parking. Ask "how much parking am I required to have for my type of business?”
Consider the internet connectivity of your location, some properties have weaker internet connections.
Pick a location that your target customers can easily reach. Check out Walkscore to assess your property’s walkability, bikeability, and access to public transit.
Your location should also try to be disabled access compliant under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Read on below about ADA requirements.
Make sure that you can afford the rent based on the revenue and cost expectations from your business plan.
You may need to do repairs or remodeling to the property before moving in. If you need help, the Development Services Department can provide inspection services for a fee. Keep in mind how much you might need to spend on this work before you can open your business. You can hire a licensed architect for tenant improvement plans. The architect can also provide a fairly accurate cost estimate for the improvements. It is possible to negotiate the cost of improvements as part of the lease/rent agreement. A licensed, professional contractor can help with advice and repairs. The State of California has a page to help you figure out what kind of contractor to hire and how to select one. They also have a site where you can check if a contractor has a license with the state.
Federal and State standards require businesses to be accessible to people with disabilities “ADA compliant”. Depending on the specific property and your renovation plans, you may need to make accessibility upgrades from widening aisles to changing bathroom fixtures. Ask your landlord if the space is ADA compliant and discuss who will be responsible for any costs that are associated with accessibility upgrades. You may also consider having a Certified Access Specialist Professional (CASP) to inspect the property and identify what changes are necessary to make the property ADA compliant.