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Starting A Business

This information is provided to assist those interested in establishing and conducting a business in the City of Oceanside.

Who needs a Business License?Any individual, corporation, sole proprietor, partnership, home-based business or other entity that has a business within the City of Oceanside must secure a business license. City law states that no person shall engage in business or transact and carry on a business, trade, profession, calling, or occupation in the City without having procured a license from the City.

What should I do before I apply? Contact the Business License Department to discuss the details of your particular business operation. Inquire about city zoning requirements for your type of business and its planned location. This information can be obtained from the Planning Department, visit In addition to obtaining the business license, you must also comply with all City, County, and State regulations for zoning, building, health, and safety. You can obtain an application at the Business License Department or visit

The Business License process takes approximately 15 working days; however, the process could take longer if a "change of occupancy permit" or a "co-permit" is required.

To get a business license application for the following types of businesses, please click on the following links:

If you are seeking locations for your business, you must ensure that the property is properly zoned for your particular use. You may obtain zoning information at the City's Planning Department at, or call(760) 435-4373 .

Most businesses can open with relative ease. However, in some cases the prospective business activity and/or building modifications will require the issuance of Planning and/or Building Permits, which will require additional time and fees. This is why you are urged to contact the City to find out what approvals are required for the prospective business beforeleasing a building.  Calls to several City offices are an essential part in due diligence research.  Contact information for City departments you may wish to contact: 

Where can I get permits and information from other county, state, and federal agencies?

  • If you are using a fictitious business name, contact the San Diego County Clerk’s Office and your local newspaper with regard to publication of notice, etc. You may wish to contact the clerk by telephone first at (760) 940-6858or visit their website at  Fictitious Business Name or DBA (Doing Business As) are one and the same.
  • Your business activity may require

    a Seller’s Permit (Retail Sales Tax Number) from the State Board of Equalization.  To obtain such a permit, you must apply in person at one of the local district offices.  You may wish to contact them by telephone first to determine if your business requires a permit.  You may reach them at (800) 400-7115 or visit their website at

  • Contact the Internal Revenue Service for a Federal Employer Identification Number.  The IRS provides Small Business Tax Workshops for new businesses.  Additional information and forms are available on their website at The IRS can be reached at (800) 829-1040 or Local San Diego office at(619) 615-9555 .
  • Contact the State Employment Development Department to obtain a State Employer Identification Number if you have employees and withhold State Income Tax, Disability, and Unemployment Insurance. You may reach the San Diego Office at(858) 880-2500or(888) 745-3886or visit their website at
  • Concerning your insurance requirements, such as liability and workers’ compensation, contact your insurance agent for information about your particular kind of business.
  • Contact the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board at (760) 471-4237 or  if you plan to sell or serve alcoholic beverages.  You will also need to contact the Planning Department at (760) 435-4373 to obtain zoning approval for sale of liquor.
  • Contact the Franchise Tax Board if you intend to have employees or to obtain a Form 540 for estimating State Withholding Tax for yourself.  You can reach them at (800) 852-5711 or visit their website at
  • If your establishment intends to prepare and/or sell food of any type, you must complete a Health Permit Application at the County of San Diego.  You may contact the County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health at (760) 471-0730if you have any questions regarding a Health Permit.

Helpful resources and links to help you get start on your new business:

  • Start with a business plan.  A business plan is a written document that clearly defines the goals of a business and outlines the methods for achieving them. A complete business plan should describe the money, management, and marketing strategies to be used in the business.  It explains how the business will function and depicts its operational characteristics. To learn more about writing a business plan, see the Business Start-up Guide below.

Business Start-Up Guide  (866 KB) Business Resource Guide  (529.62 KB)

Small Business Development Center

County of San Diego

Small Business Administration

Oceanside Library MiraCosta College Oceanside Chamber of Commerce 

Category: Business license

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