Startup Business Guide

Going into Business in Lindsay

A guide to business start-up prepared by The Lindsay Chamber of Commerce

Table of Contents

Common Pitfalls
Business Plan
You Are Not Alone
Legal Structure
Fictitious Business Name
Licenses, Permits and Other Regulations
Public Library


Having your own small business can be the fulfillment of lifetime dreams. It can be confusing, intimidating, and frustrating. There are many things to think about-regulations, financing, taxes, permits, and more. We hope that this booklet will provide you with information and confidence to help you move through the maze.

Starting a business means taking a risk. Not all-small businesses succeed, but there are things you can do to minimize your risk. Again, this booklet can help you.

Two major areas will make a critical difference to your success. One is planning. You need to carefully plan your start-up, costs, and timelines, know what you have to do and where you are going with your business. The other is knowing how to get help. You do not need to be an expert on every aspect of small business operation, but you do need to know how to find the answers from people who are experts.

This booklet is designed as a resource to help you accomplish those two tasks-good planning and where to go for additional assistance. We don’t have all the answers here, each business has different needs and requirements, but there is enough information to get you to the organizations, agencies, books and other resources that can answer your questions and give you guidance.

Good luck in your exciting endeavor!

The Ten Most Common Pitfalls to Succeeding in a Small Business

1. Insufficient assessment of professional and personal skills
2. No business plan
3. Inadequate financing
4. Incomplete records
5. No marketing strategy
6. Inappropriate location
7. Not implementing good management
8. Hiring the wrong people
9. Poor customer service
10. Unwilling to ask for help

Business Plan

A Business Plan is your guide to your business. It assists you in analyzing the feasibility of a new business. It defines your customers and competitors and assists in determining your strengths and weaknesses. It details what your plans are for the future. Your Business Plan should be concise, factual, and easy to read. The finished product should have a separate paragraph or list for each aspect of your Business Plan with a heading that identifies the subject you are discussing.

I. Summary

A. Business Description

1. Name
2. Location and plan description
3. Product/service
4. Market and competition
5. Management experience/expertise
B. Business goals
C. Summary of financial needs and application of funds
D. Earning projections
II. Market Analysis

A. Description of total market
B. Industrial trends
C. Target market
D. Competition
III. Products or Service

A. Description of product line or service
B. Proprietary position
C. Comparison with competitors products or services
IV. Marketing Strategy

A. Overall strategy
B. Pricing policy
C. Method of selling, distributing and servicing products or services
V. Management Plan

A. Form of business organization
B. Board of Directors composition
C. Officers, organization chart and responsibilities
D. Resumes of key personnel
E. Staffing plan/number of employees
F. Facilities plan/planned capital improvements
G. Operating plan/schedule of upcoming work for two years
VI Financial Data

A. Financial statements (previous 3-5 years)
B. Five year financial projections

1. Income statements (profit/loss statements)
2. Balance sheets
3. Cash Flow
4. Capital expenditures
C. Explanation of projections
D. Key business ratios
E. Explanation of use and effect of new funds (loans, etc.)

You Don’t Have To Do It Alone

(Organizations, which provide assistance)

The Lindsay Chamber of Commerce offers a number of programs, seminars, and publications to assist the development of your business. Services include financial, marketing economic development and management assistance, including free technical advice from experienced professionals and business people, on an individual basis.

It acts as a resource center gathering business trade and educational data for dissemination to the business community serving as an advocate in such areas as trade development, legislation, civic and consumer affairs affecting city, county, and state economic and business vitality.

133 W. Honolulu St. Ste. E
Lindsay, CA. 93247
(559) 562-4929


(CCSBDC) is dedicated to serving the needs of the small business community. The CCSBDC helps new and existing businesses with financial, marketing, production, organization, and technical problems. The CCSBDC staff, consultants, and volunteers provide up-to-date consulting, training and research assistance in all aspects of business management and business start-up. Please call (559) 625-3051 for an appointment.

Business Consulting
    • Business Loan Packaging
    • Marketing & Advertising
    • Strategic Business Planning
    • Export/Import
    • Cash Flow Management
    • Business Expansion
    • Government Procurement
    • Business Structure
    • Presentation Training/Corporate Training
    • Workshop & Seminars-Training is offered on topics of interest and importance to entrepreneurs, business owners, and managers.
    • Reference Library
        • SBA publications
        • Videos on a variety of subjects designed to assist in successfully running a business.
The Central California Small Business Development Center
Visalia satellite office-Visalia Chamber of Commerce
220 N. Santa Fe Ave
Visalia, CA. 93292 (559) 625-3051
Fresno Office
Manchester Center
3302 N. Blackstone Suite 225
Fresno, CA 93726 (559) 230-4056

Information: consulting and technical assistance are provided at no charge to the client. There are nominal charges for classes and seminars.

SCORE, the Services Corps of Retired Executives, is a non-profit association, which provides free business counseling by men and women who have had successful business careers as company executives or owners of their own businesses. These volunteers are willing to share their knowledge and experience at no charge to people wanting to start their own business.


2719 N. Air Fresno Drive, Ste. 200
Fresno, CA. 93727
(559) 487-5791
Toll free call (800) 359-1833 then press 6


    • Confidential business counseling
    • Business management seminars/workshops
    • Business plan guidance
SCORE -Visalia Satellite Office
220 N. Santa Fe Ave
Visalia, CA. 93292
By appointment only
(559) 487-5791
Sponsored by U.S. Small Business Administration Fresno District (SBA)
Office 1-800-359-1833, option 6

The Tulare County Economic development Corporation (EDC) focuses on the needs of developing prospects, local businesses and assists companies to locate in Tulare County using up-to-date information to support community economic development. Through cooperation with other agencies, the EDC offers the following services:

    • Building and site availability
    • Economic development database information
    • Regional economic development studies
    • Topographic mapping
    • Geotechnical reports
    • Water and soil analysis
    • Labor information
4500 S. Laspina
Tulare, CA. 93274
(800) 718-2332

The Employment Connection is a full-service employment and training organization. The Employment Connection provides many services to county businesses such as employee recruitment, screening, and training. The Employment Connection also offers job placement, occupational skills, job-search training, and educational assistance. Additionally, the Employment Connection offers small business financing assistance, business seminars, and current labor market information.

4025 W. Noble, Ste. B
Visalia, CA. 93277
(559) 713-5000

The City of Lindsay has established a Storefront Enhancement Program (STEP) for property owners within targeted areas to receive matching grants up to $10,000 for single business unit façade rehabilitation and $20,000 for multi-unit façade upgrades. Information and assistance regarding the City’s economic development programs and activities is available from the Community Development Department or the City Manager’s office.

150 N. Mirage
Lindsay, CA. 93247
(559) 562-7117
251 E. Honolulu
Lindsay, CA 93247
(559) 562-7103


There are a number of outside professionals with whom a businessperson will want a relationship.


An accountant should be consulted to set up a good bookkeeping system for your business. Inadequate recordkeeping is a principal contributor to the failure of a small business. Make sure that you understand the bookkeeping system you are using.


An attorney’s services are not only essential in the planning of your business, but throughout the life of the business. The attorney can assist you in choosing your legal structure, drawing up agreements and contracts, and providing information on your legal rights and obligations. A Lawyer Referral Service, sponsored by the Tulare County Bar Association, is available at 208 W. Main St. Ste. 2 in Visalia, CA. (559) 732-2513.


The capital requirements of a small business make it essential that a good working relationship be established with a local banker. Bankers are a good source of financial information and for obtaining financing. It is recommended that you establish a relationship with your banker prior to applying for a loan.

Insurance Agent/Broker

An insurance agent or broker can advise you about the type and amount of coverage that is necessary for your business. The agent may be able to tailor a package that meets your specific needs at reasonable rate.

You may need:

    • Liability Insurance
    • Basis Fire Insurance
    • Extended Coverage
    • Vandalism and Malicious Mischief Coverage
    • Theft Coverage
    • Automobile Insurance
    • Product Liability Coverage
    • Business Interruption Insurance
    • Worker’s Compensation

Legal Structure

Most small businesses start out as either sole proprietorship or a partnership but many eventually explore the transition to a corporation or an “S” corporation. Contact an attorney and/or accountant to learn the advantages and legal requirements for each to decide which form is best for you.

Sole Proprietorship

This is the simplest and least regulated form of organization with minimal legal start-up cost. One person owns and operates the business and is responsible for procuring financing. The sole proprietor has total control, receives all profits, and business income is taxed as personal income. The major disadvantages include unlimited personal liability for the owner for all claims, taxes, and debts against the business and potential dissolution of the business upon the owner’s death.


A partnership is relatively easy to form and can provide additional financial and managerial resources. Each partner is an “agent” for the partnership and can individually hire employees, borrow money and operate the business. Profits are taxed as personal and the partners (who act as co-owners) are still personally liable for debts and taxes. Personal assets can be attached and liquidated if the partnership itself cannot satisfy creditor claims. A special arrangement called a “limited partnership” allows partners to avoid personal asset liability. The IRS has special income tax rules for limited partnerships and they must be registered with the offices of the County Clerk and the Secretary of State. Limited partnerships also must pay a franchise fee. When entering into any partnership, a written agreement is essential.


The most complex of business organizations, the corporation acts as the legal entity, which exists separately from its owners. While limiting the owners from personal liability, this creates a “double taxation” on earnings (corporate tax and personal tax). Corporate structure may be advantageous because it allows capital to be raised more easily through the sale of stocks or bonds and can continue to function as a business even with out key individuals. It also enables employees to participate in various types of insurance and profit sharing plans. It cost $900 to incorporate and an annual “Statement of Domestic Incorporation” must be filed with the Secretary if State. The corporation must also prepay its annual minimum franchise tax of $800 to the Secretary of State. A special type of corporation, an “S” corporation, allows owners to overcome the double tax and shareholders to offset business losses with personal income. “S” corporations are subject to an annual surcharge.

Fictitious Business Name Statement

File a Fictitious Business name Statement only if the business name you have chosen is different from your own legal name. For example, if your legal name is Joe Smith, and you have chosen a name that includes your last name (“Joe Smith’s Auto Repair” or “Smith’s Auto Repair”) then you do not need to file.

In general, if a business name does not have the last name of its owners, differs from the incorporation documents, or implies greater ownership, a fictitious name is involved. Adding words such as “and company””, son/daughter” and “associates” implies greater ownership and is treated as an assumed name. (You should first look up your proposed business name to make sure that no other business is using that name.)

Your Fictitious Business Name Statement must be published in a newspaper or general circulation in the county where the principal place of business is located once a week for four successive weeks and an affidavit of publication filed with the county clerk within 30 days after publication.

County Clerk
Tulare County Courthouse
221 S. Mooney Blvd. Rm.201
Visalia, CA. 93291
(559) 733-6418

The Foothills Sun-Gazette
P.O. Box 7
120 N. E St.
Exeter, CA. 93221
(559) 592-3171
Porterville Recorder
115 E. Oak
Porterville, CA. 93257
(559) 784-5000
Visalia Times Delta
330 N. West St.
Visalia, CA. 93279
(559) 734-5821

Licenses, Permits and other Regulations

One of the most confusing aspects of starting a business is the maze of government regulations. While this process may be intimidating, it is important to do it correctly since noncompliance can result in costly penalties. It is your responsibility to adhere to all regulations applicable to your business. If you are not sure about something…ASK!


In order to operate a business within the City of Lindsay, whether it is from a store, office, factory, your vehicle, or your home, you must have a valid business license. The type of license depends on the nature of your business and is renewed on a quarterly or bi-annual basis depending on the nature of your business. Take your receipt of fictitious business name with you when you apply for your license. The Finance Department will guide you through the process.

Finance Department
251 E. Honolulu
Lindsay, CA. 93247
(559) 562-5927

Business License Processing Fee- All applicants are required to pay a one-time application fee. Cost: $30.00

Professional Services– Costs: $1.25 per $1,000.00 of gross receipts; the minimum tax is $10.00 per quarter; maximum tax is $30.00 per quarter.

Service Nature– Costs: $1.00 per $1,000.00 of gross receipts; the minimum tax is $10.00 per quarter and the maximum is $50.00 per quarter.

Retailing Nature– Cost: $0.70 per $1,000.00 of gross receipts; the minimum tax is $10.00 per quarter and the maximum is $217.00 per quarter.

Wholesale and Manufacturing Nature– Cost: $0.40 per $1,000.00 of gross receipts the minimum tax is $10.00 per quarter and the maximum is $124.00 per quarter.

Outside Business– Not, having a fixed place of business within the city who engages within the city shall pay a business tax at the sane rate prescribed for persons engaged in the same type of business from a fixed place within the city.

Establishments Selling Beer, Wine and/or Distilled Spirits

    • Beer Bars: $10.00 to $60.00 per quarter
    • Cocktail Bars: $20.00 to $90.00 per quarter
    • Bona Fide Restaurant Serving Beer and/or Wine $20.00 to $65.00 per quarter
    • Bona Fide Restaurants Serving Distilled Spirits $45.00 to $115.00 per month

Cost of a license in each category is computed by square footage of establishment and amount of entertainment conducted on the business

Retail Service Vehicle- Every person not having a fixed place of business within the City of Lindsay, who delivers goods, wares or merchandise by vehicle, or who provides any service by the use of vehicles in the city, shall pay a semi-annual license tax of $15.00 for the first vehicle, and $7.50 semi-annual for each additional vehicle.

Contractors- Every person engaged in the business of contracting and not otherwise licensed pursuant to the provisions shall pay the following license tax:
Electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and general contractor, $50.00 semi-annually
All others, $30.00 semi-annually

Home Occupation Permit– If you are opening a business out of your home, you may be required to apply for this permit in addition to the business license. Once you have completed the initial paperwork at the Finance Department, go to the Community Development Department (Planning Division).

Public Works Planning & Building
150 N. Mirage
Lindsay, CA. 93247
(559) 562-5945

Liquor License– You will need a license to sell liquor in your business. Your must fill out a pre-application and, if accepted, pay the following:

Beer/Wine for full restaurant:

Application Fee: 300.00
Annual Fee: 304.00
Finger Printing 63.00

Off Sale Liquor (fee varies):

Application Fee: 12,000.00
Annual Fee: 200.00

These are issued once a year in September on a lottery

Alcohol Beverage Control Department
3640 E. Ashlan Ave.
Fresno, CA 93726
(559) 225-6334

Food Permit-If you are producing, handling, or distributing food products to the public, you may need this permit. Fees vary depending on the type of business. Retail food facility fee from $230 to $754 dollars per year.

When starting a restaurant or food facility or making changes (such as remodeling) it is necessary to get a Plan Check. Fees for Plan Check Services are $100.00 filing fee, plus $100.00 per hour for the review.

Tulare County Environmental Health Department
5957 S. Mooney Blvd.
Visalia, CA 93277
(559) 733-6441

Call the Planning Department if you need information on permits or zoning.

City of Lindsay Planning Department
150 N. Mirage
Lindsay, CA 93247
(559) 562-5945

Call the Building Department if you need a plan check, building, inspections, or questions regarding handicapped access.

City of Lindsay Building Department
150 N. Mirage
Lindsay, CA 93247
(559) 562-5945

Call the Public Safety Department if you need a certification of occupancy permit or a fire inspection clearance.

Public Safety Department
185 N. Gale Hill
Lindsay, CA 93247
(559) 562-2511

Professional Businesses must be licensed, for example, doctors, nurses, veterinarians, contractors, and auto repair. Call for information.

Department of Consumer Affairs
1625 N. Market Blvd. Suite N112
Sacramento, CA 95834
(916) 445-1254
Bureau of Automotive Repair
1625 N. Market Blvd. Suite S202
Sacramento, CA 95834
(916) 255-3145
Contractors License State Board
9821 Business Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95821

CERTIFICATION– It may be to your advantage to be certified if you are a minority, women or disabled veteran owned business or a small business owner and want government contracts.

Caltrans Civil Rights Program: ( 916) 324-1700 or 1-866-810-6346
Civil Rights Small Business/DVBE Program
1823 14th Street MS 79
Sacramento, CA 95814

Small Business of Certification and Resources DVBE (916) 322-5060

For Employers


Information regarding wage claims, minimum wage, hours and working conditions.

Employment Development Department
2523 S. Mooney Blvd.
Visalia, CA. 93277

Information on workers’ benefits for employees, work-related disabilities, illness, or fatalities.

Workers Compensation
2550 Mariposa
Fresno, CA. 93721
(559) 445-5051

For regulations regarding computation and employee withholding.

Social Security Administration
505 N. Court St.
Visalia, CA 93277
(559) 732-7892


You have a legal, as well as, a moral obligation to provide a safe working environment for your employees. You must operate your business in compliance with California and federal OSHA requirements. Contact the U.S. Department of Labor for information on federal OSHA and Cal-OSHA for information regarding state requirements.

U.S. Department of Labor
2981 Fulton
Sacramento, CA. 95821
Cal-OSHA (occupational safety and health)
Consultation Service
2500 Mariposa Room 4000
Fresno, CA. 93721
(559) 445-5302


Being an entrepreneur does not preclude you from paying taxes to the IRS or the State of California.

Sellers Permit- If you sell a product you must pay a sales tax. You do not have to pay a tax on services. There are regulations that govern certain types of businesses that are not “clear cut”. For example, tailors offer both a service and a product. At a certain point, they must share tax on labor. If you are in doubt as to whether or not your business falls under these types of regulations, call and inquire.

Board of Equalization
5070 N. 6th St. Ste.110
Fresno, CA. 93701
(559) 248-4217

If you sell cigarette, alcoholic beverages, energy, motor vehicle fuel or hazardous substances you must pay an exercise tax.

Excise Tax Unit
(800) 400-7115

For forms to file individual state income tax. In addition, you must register here if you are a corporation.

Franchise Tax Board
2550 Mariposa
Fresno, CA. 93701
(800) 852-5711

For employers’ guides, disability insurance tax, state withholding tax, unemployment insurance tax:

Employment Development Department
2523 S. Mooney Blvd.
Visalia, CA. 93277

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The IRS has many free publications to assist the business owners. Below is a partial listing.

#15 Circular E: Employers tax Guide
#334 Tax Guide for Small Business
#505 Tax Withholding & Estimated Tax
#509 Tax Calendar
#534 Depreciation
#535 Business Expenses
#538 Accounting Periods & Methods
#587 Business Use of Your Home
#529 Miscellaneous Deductions

Other forms you may need:

Schedule C – Profit or Loss from Business
Schedule SE – Social Security Self-Employment
Form SS-4 – To apply for an Employer ID Number. (An employer ID number is mandatory if you have employees.)
Form W-4 – Employees withholding allowance certificates.
Form 730 – Taxes on wagering, for example if you sell lottery tickets.
Form 941 – Employers quarterly federal tax return, also social security tax, federal unemployment tax, and FUTA
Form 940 – Employers annual federal unemployment tax return.
Form 720 – Exercise tax, quarterly exercise tax return.
Form 1040-ES – Estimated Tax for Individuals
Form 2290 – Use of highways by certain trucks, tractors, and buses.
Form 5630.5 – If you produce, sell, or import gums, tobacco, alcohol products; or if you manufacture equipment for their production.
Form 8190 – Federal tax deposit coupon book. (You may pay taxes by depositing your payments in an authorized financial institution.)

Annual Income Tax Returns– Every business must file an annual income tax return. Which form depends on how your business is organized. Sole proprietor: Schedule C: Form 1040: Partnership: Form 1065: Corporations: Form 1120S

217 S. Locust
Visalia, CA. 93277
(800) 829-1040 (information and assistance)
(800) 829-3676 (forms)

State of California (contact EDD)

#DE 4525 – Employer’s Guide
#DE 44 – Personal Income Tax Withholding Guide


Keeping accurate and up-to-date records is crucial to a successful business. Records are the most important management “tool” you possess.

There are many different systems for recordkeeping. The important point is that you understand whatever system you decide to use. It is very helpful to consult an accountant to help you find a system that is best for your needs.

Be sure to open a business bank account and keep all your business transactions separate from your personal finances. Deposit all receipts promptly. Decide on who will sign the checks. Pay all expenses by check. Open a tax account to keep tax collections (sales, Social Security, income) and estimates separate from sales revenues.

It is also important that you distinguish between income received from business transacted within and outside the City of Lindsay. The City taxes receipts for business within the city only. If you are unable to show which receipts are for business in Lindsay, you will be taxed on total receipts, which could be considerably higher. The City can call for an audit any time. For information, contact City of Lindsay Finance Department, 562-5927.

HOTLINES (In English only)

U.S. SBA Small Business Answer Desk: (800) 827-5722
Office of Small and Minority Business: (916) 322-5060
Small Business Help-Line: (800) 421-2300
State Consumer Insurance Hotline: (916) 927-4357
U.S. Department of Commerce: (202) 482-2000
Small Business Ombudsman of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: (800) 368-5888


Sufficient capital is essential for both start-up and expansion of a business. In fact, inadequate financing is one of the major causes of business failure. In order to avoid this pitfall, you must not only have enough money but also the knowledge to manage it well. Planning is essential. Constantly review and update your Business Plan. It should include budgets, investments and expenditures, operating leverages, loans, risks, equities, assessments, sales, profits and cash flow schedules and management.

When starting a business, it is good to have at least a 12-month financial cushion so you can handle all of your expenses with no revenue from the business. This will allow you to minimize your risk while establishing your business.

A good business plan can help you get a loan. Borrowers should also provide profit/loss statements, tax returns and a current balance sheet. Be prepared to demonstrate the ability to repay and the capacity to manage funds effectively. Borrow prudently and do not over extend yourself.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of loan programs to eligible small businesses. They offer programs and services to help you grow and succeed. For more information, call (559) 487-5791 or (800) 359-1833 Press 6

The Tulare County Economic Development Corporation, which services Tulare County, was established to make loans available to small businesses, which would otherwise be excluded from bank financing. Contact the Tulare County Economic Development Corporation, (800) 718-2332

Tulare County Public Library

The Lindsay and Visalia Branches of the Tulare County Library are excellent resources for your small business information needs. Go to the library information desk with your questions if they do not have the specific answers, they can point the way to people and the places in the community that may help you. You can also call the Information Desk with your questions, Lindsay, 562-3021 or Visalia Library, 733-6950. The library provides a board variety of resources including:

Reference Materials
Reference materials are highly used information sources, some of these books offer a variety of information such as:

Franchise Opportunities Handbook. U.S. Department of Commerce. 1991.

The library has books on most subjects relating to business formation and operation. There are books on how to write your Business Plan, working with employees, marketing, computers, bookkeeping and much more.

Specialized Business Information
Ask the information desk for specialized information. (E.g. Doing Business in California: a guide for establishing a business. By California Commission for Economic Development. 1988.)

There is an extensive video collection at the library.

Some videos of interest include:

    • The Business Plan: Your road map to success.
    • In Search if Excellence
    • Marketing: winning customers with a “workable” plan.

While we have attempted to identify many of the requirements that apply to starting a small business, we cannot guarantee that this compilation is complete. This publication does not relieve people of the duty to ascertain what laws apply to their activities or the manner in which they must comply with those laws. All requirements and fees are subject to change.

Prepared by the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce