Starting a business is always an exciting and nerve-wracking venture, but choosing the right location can make all the difference. In recent years, Santa Clarita has become a hot spot for entrepreneurs and small business owners. With its booming economy, prime location, and supportive business community, Santa Clarita, California offers a unique opportunity for new businesses to thrive. If you’ve been thinking of starting a new business, now is a great time to establish one here.
Advantages of Basing Your Business in Santa Clarita, CA
California at large is home to many of the most innovative businesses, not to mention small businesses across virtually every industry and category. Among California’s cities, Santa Clarita has several unique advantages for business owners:
- Growing Economy: Santa Clarita has a population of over 220,000 residents, and the number of residents steadily grows each year. The sheer number of people living in and around the city supports many businesses across an array of industries, including (but not limited to) aerospace, healthcare, entertainment, education and hospitality.
- Prime Location: Santa Clarita is located just ~35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles and is accessible via several major highways, including the 5, 14, and 210. With a convenient location, the city draws in customers from both the immediate and surrounding areas. Drivers coming from the North are especially likely to stop here.
- Supportive Business Community: Santa Clarita has a vibrant and supportive business community that offers a range of resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The city’s Economic Development Division provides free business assistance and resources, including workshops, seminars, and one-on-one consultations. Additionally, the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce offers networking opportunities, marketing assistance, and advocacy for local businesses.
- Minimal Local Taxes: Although California is known for its generally high taxes, Santa Clarita is an exception. The city doesn’t have any local business license fees, utility users tax, gross receipts tax or payroll tax. There aren’t even any paid parking garages or metered street parking.
- Special Zones and Programs: The city participates in multiple special zones and programs. Depending on your business’ qualifications, you might make use of the city’s Foreign Trade Zone, Recycling Market Development Zone, Use Tax Rebate Program or yet another program.
- Quality of Life: From a personal perspective, Santa Clarita is simply a beautiful city with a high quality of life. You should enjoy living wherever you establish a business, and Santa Clarita’s parks, arts and nearby hiking appeal to many residents. These perks can also be a consideration if you’re trying to hire from outside the immediate area.
Award-Winning Business Environment
These advantages have garnered Santa Clarita attention from several associations in Los Angeles and California. The city has recently been named:
- “Most Business Friendly City in Los Angeles County” (Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation)
- “Best City for Industrial Development” (Los Angeles Business Journal)
- “One of the Top REtail Markets in California” (California Retail Survey)
Explore the city’s opportunities and business programs, and you’ll likely see what the papers and associations are clamoring about.
Why Now is the Right Time to Start a Business
Many successful entrepreneurs have recently started their businesses in Santa Clarita, and it remains a great time to do so.
First, you can still take advantage of comparatively low interest rates (if you need a business loan), as rates are still much less than their historical average. There’s also a good amount of funding still available, through grants, loans and private investment.
Second, if you need a physical space for your business, you’ll find some spaces that are usually occupied still available. Santa Clarita doesn’t have as much vacant space as most other cities currently do, but there are desirable retail, food service and office locations still available.
Of course, there are properties both for lease and for sale of all types. You can secure retail, office, industrial or just about any other type of space that a business might need.
Third, if you intend to buy a property for your business, you’ll find that property values have cooled off in recent months. There’s not as much competition for properties, so you’re less likely to be outbid or need to offer above asking.
Finally, a rising city helps all businesses. The city programs in Santa Clarita, growing population and growing economy, and generally positive atmosphere create a context where many businesses can (and are) succeeding. Start a business here, and you can grow with all of the other successful businesses here.
Start a Business in Santa Clarita
If you make the decision to become a business owner in Santa Clarita, CA, the process of forming your business is straightforward but multi-step. You’ll need to:
- Develop a Business Plan: A business plan outlines your goals, objectives, and strategies for your business. It also includes financial projections and market analysis. Developing a business plan is an essential step in starting any business, and it can help you secure financing and guide your decision-making.
- Choose a Legal Structure: There are several legal structures to choose from when starting a business, including sole proprietorship, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC). Deciding to start an LLC means opening an LLC in California, as state rules apply. It’s important to understand the unique CA requirements before launching.
Of these, sole proprietorships and LLCs are the two most common structures for new businesses. Sole proprietorships are easy to set up, but they don’t offer legal protection if you’re sued. LLCs can offer legal protection against personal (not business) lawsuits, and they sometimes also have tax advantages. Consult an accountant or lawyer if you’re unsure which one to choose.
- Register Your Business: After choosing a legal structure, you need to register your business with the State of California. This process involves filing Articles of Organization with the California Secretary of State, and obtaining a tax identification number. You’ll also have to designate a registered agent, but this can be yourself
You can go through these steps yourself, or you can have a service file everything for you. The DIY method is doable and incurs fewer fees, so long as you don’t mind spending some time wading through the various forms.
- Obtain Permits and Licenses: Depending on the nature of your business, you might need to obtain permits and licenses from the city and state. There’s no fee for a business license in Santa Clarita, but some businesses might still have to purchase permits.
The city clerk is a great resource for information about licensing and permitting. They’ll be able to tell you about Santa Clarita’s requirements, and can also connect you with state agencies if necessary.
- Secure Financing: If you’re borrowing money to start your business, there are several financing options available. Consider loans, grants and crowdfunding as a few of the most popular options.
- Hire Employees: If your business requires employees, you need to follow California labor laws and regulations. This includes obtaining workers’ compensation insurance, complying with minimum wage and overtime laws, and withholding payroll taxes.
You might not need to hire an employee until your business is well established and growing, but some businesses require employees from day one. If you do need to hire employees, be sure to place job postings so that you have plenty of time to receive applications, review applications and interview applicants before beginning operations.
- Market Your Business: Once your business is up and running, market it so that you grow your customer base. Make sure you have a website and social media presence, and encourage customers to tell others about your business. You might also need business cards and/or other physical marketing material.
Start Your Business in Santa Clarita Today
Santa Clarita is an excellent place to start your business. If you’ve long dreamed of working for yourself, why wait? Begin forming your business today, and you could soon be working for yourself in one of California’s greatest cities.