Business Registration

The City of Encinitas administers a Business Registration Program. The purpose of this program is to provide a registry of businesses in the incorporated area.  It also provides an inventory of business and commercial activities conducted within the City; a method of determining compliance with safety regulations imposed on commercial activities within the City; and a mechanism whereby owners of commercial activities can be identified and notified by City officials.

The City of Encinitas uses a Registration Program in lieu of a Business License Program. The registry is a flat-fee based program intended neither to impose any taxation on the business community nor to collect any fees other than necessary to cover the administration costs of the program.

The Business Registration fee is $36.00 for the first year and $21.00 for annual renewals. Certificates are valid for a 12-month period. If not renewed prior to expiration, a new Business Registration Application form and $36 fee are required. 

Who should get a business registration?  The following is a list to help you determine if you need to register your business.  If any of the below describes your business, you must obtain a Business Registration:

  • The business is physically located in the City (e.g. home-based, retail, medical, office, or industrial facilities).
  • The business is physically located outside of the City and provides services within the City (e.g. contractor, plumber, electrician, carpet cleaner).
  • Rental income is collected from residential, industrial or commercial space located within the City.
  • A desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone is used at a home in Encinitas to communicate with global clients involving payments, products, correspondence or contracts for a business. 
  • The business owner/operator lives outside of the City of Encinitas and rents a post office box or mailbox receiving address (aka MRA) located in the City of Encinitas to receive payments, correspondence, or other business materials. 
  • Products are presented for sale at Farmer’s Markets, Street Fairs or other Encinitas events more than one (1) time per year.
  • Education, training, fitness, yoga, surfing, martial arts or other recreation services are provided at beaches, parks or in City of Encinitas buildings.
  • Personal services such as hairstyling, facial/cosmetic treatments, hair removal, massage therapy, acupuncture etc., are provided by renting a booth or using a room or space at a retail or medical center in the City of Encinitas.
  • Consulting services are provided with clients at an “Executive Office Suite” location by renting conference or office space in the City of Encinitas.
  • A mobile business operates in the City of Encinitas using a cart or vehicle which is stored elsewhere such as a home or parking lot.
  • A home in Encinitas is listed as a business tax deduction with the State or Federal government.
  • A non-profit business is conducted out of a home, church, office, retail, medical or industrial space in the City of Encinitas.  Non-profit businesses are required to pay the processing/renewal fees because the City of Encinitas has a fee-based versus a tax-based Business Registration program.

Steps to Obtaining a Business Registration Certificate

  1. Review the Business Resource information below to determine what type of additional permits you may need for your business. Contact any agencies required for your business before you apply for your Business Registration Certificate with the City of Encinitas.
  2. Complete the Business Registration Application, sign and date. Mail it to the City of Encinitas with the $36.00 registration fee.
  3. Upon approval, a Business Registration Certificate will be sent to your mailing address. In general, processing time is two (2) business days for out-of-city businesses and 3-4 weeks for in-city businesses. The Certificate must be displayed in a conspicuous area at the business location.

Please contact the Permit Administrator with questions at 760-633-2708, or [email protected]

Business Resources

The following resources are provided to help you through the process of opening a business. We strongly encourage you to thoroughly research what types of permits and licenses you will need in order to open your business. Any errors or omissions in the listing below do not excuse business owners of their responsibility or liability when establishing a business in the City of Encinitas.

 San Diego County Clerk
 Fictitious Name Statement
 141 E. Carmel Street
 San Marcos, CA 92078

 Sellers Permit
 California State Board of Equalization
 San Diego District Office
 15015 Avenue of Science, Suite 200
 San Diego, CA 92128
 (858) 385-4700

 Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN)
 Internal Revenue Service

 State Employee Identification Number (SEIN)
 Employment Development Department
 10636 Scripps Summit Court, Suite 202
 San Diego, CA 92131

 Food Permits or Hazardous Material
 San Deigo County Health Department
 5500 Overland Avenue, Suite 170
 Kearny Mesa, CA 92123

 State License Requirements - CalGOLD

 Alcohol Sales
 California State Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC)
 1350 Front Street, Room 5056
 San Diego, CA 92101

 U.S. Small Business Administration
 550 W. C Street, Suite 550
 San Diego, CA 92101

PLEASE NOTE:  On September 19, 2012, Governor Brown signed into law SB1186 which mandates a state fee of $1 on any applicant for a local business license or similar instrument or permit, or renewal thereof. The purpose is to increase disability access and compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements and to develop educational resources for businesses in order to facilitate compliance with federal and state disability laws, as specified. SB1186 was adopted by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature.

Under federal and state law, compliance with disability access laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies to all California building owners and tenants with buildings open to the public. You may obtain information about your legal obligations and how to comply with disability access laws at the following agencies:

The City of Encinitas collects a business registration fee and therefore is required to add the state mandated fee of $1 for every new registration and renewal beginning January 1, 2013.  The City is mandated to send 30 cents to the state and utilize the remaining 70 cents for the City’s Certified Access Specialist Program (CASp) which provides education of disability access for the public.