You can search for California business licenses on the Secretary of State's website if it appears as an LLC, corporation, or partnership. Just type “crane” to search for corporations or LLC's. You can also use the CA commercial license search tool on this website. However, California business licenses and permits are more complicated.
Your company may need several and you may need to file an application at the local, state, or federal government level. And, you need to know what they are and where to get them. Before you can apply for licenses on behalf of your company, you must create your company in the state of California. Any business purchasing merchandise with intent to resell must obtain a California resale certificate to avoid paying taxes to suppliers.
However, if the federal government regulates your business activities, you must apply for and obtain appropriate federal business licenses and permits. CalGold is the best place to find information about the business licenses required by your type of business, as well as links to issuing agencies. Some businesses need to obtain special licenses and permits from the state, but most only need a general business license from their local county and perhaps their city. Every county in California has its own rules and regulations, so check with your local city or county government office to determine what state licenses your new business might need.
The California CalGold online resource, from the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, provides guidance on the types of permits your type of business may need. An LLC and a business license are not the same thing, although both are often part of creating a new business in a state. Typically, you pay a fee to get a local business license in California, but some cities exempt very small businesses from paying fees. That's true even if you're a one-member company, in which case you'll form a single-member LLC in California.
Information relevant to professional licensing can be found on the CalGold website and on the California Business Portal. That means you don't need to have a license from the State of California just to run your business in the state. While the state does not issue or require a commercial operating license, it regulates and requires licenses or permits for some business activities. If you are a sole proprietor and do business under your own name, you can simply use your name as the name of the business entity.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a list of federally regulated businesses and contact details for government agencies to which you should submit an application. The business licenses your company requires depend on where you are located and the type of services you provide.