Starting a Business in Oceanside
This information is provided to assist those persons 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 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: www.ci.oceanside.ca.us/gov/dev/planning/default.asp. 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: www.ci.oceanside.ca.us/gov/finance/revenue/license.asp.
- 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 - www.ci.oceanside.ca.us/gov/dev/planning/default.asp or call 760-435-4373.
Most business 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 money. This is why you are urged to contact the City to find out what approvals are required for the prospective business before leasing a building. Calls to several City offices are an essential part in due diligence research. Where can I get permits and information from other county, state and federal agencies?
Below are the telephone numbers and addresses for various City departments you may wish to contact:
- 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 760-940-6858 or visit their website at http://arcc.co.san-diego.ca.us/arcc/services/fbn_info.aspx 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 www.boe.ca.gov.
- 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 www.irs.gov/. 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 858-880-2500 or 888-745-3886 or visit their website at www.edd.ca.gov.
- 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 www.abc.ca.gov 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 www.FTB.ca.gov.
- 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 760-471-0730, if you should have any questions regarding a Health Permit.
Here are some 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 (980.8 KB)
Business Resource Guide (529.6 KB)
Small Business Development Center
County of San Diego
Small Business Administration
Oceanside Chamber of Commerce