Apply For A Business License San Marcos, California

Are you looking to open a business in San Marcos, California?

Opening a business in San Marcos, CA requires that you apply for and be issued a business license.  You will need to apply for one of two licenses, either the in-city or out-of-city license. If you are opening a business in the city, you are strongly urged to contact the Planning Division to discuss your business plans before leasing or purchasing a business property. This step may save you time and money due to the fact that not all areas of the city are zoned for all business activities. Being certain that the property that you wish to use is zoned for business before purchasing or leasing will ensure that your business will be in compliance with zoning regulations and that you will be paying for a property that is able to be used for business activities. The Planning Division can be reached by calling (760) 744-1050 extension 3204.

What information is required on the in-city San Marcos business license application?

If your business is based inside the city limits of San Marcos, you will need to either request an in-city application from the City Clerk’s Department at 1 Civic Center Drive or by printing one from the City of San Marcos website. The application for an in-city business license needs to be filled in completely using only blue or black ink. It has a series of questions and sections of information where you will provide information about your business and the owner(s) of your business. You will need to provide information such as the physical address and mailing address of your business, the contact phone numbers, and a name for your business. The type of ownership, whether you are the sole owner, or you are involved in a partnership, a non-profit organization, part of a larger corporation or part of a LLC or LLP, will need to declared. The number of employees that you plan to hire and your business start date should be given and if applicable, your FEIN, seller’s permit number, and/or state contractor’s license number and class. The name of the primary owner, and any other owners or managers, all contact information, a social security number and valid driver’s license number will need to be provided. By signing the application, you are agreeing to comply with all federal, state, and local codes and laws pertaining to operating a business, and that all the information you have provided is true and complete to the best of your knowledge.

What information is required on the out-of-town San Marcos business license application?

The out-of-town business license is for those whose business base is located outside the city of San Marcos, but who are entering the city to do business, such as would be the case for a contractor or delivery service. The application is very much like the in-city application, except that there are no supplemental questionnaires or zoning information such as those are found on the in-city applications.

Do you plan to open a San Marcos business using your residence as its base?

If you plan to operate a home-based business, you will need to fill out a home occupation supplemental questionnaire in addition to a business license application. The home occupation supplemental questionnaire is found with the business license application online at The City of San Marcos website. The questionnaire is a short document that is mainly made up of ‘yes or no’ questions that will serve to gather information about the type of business you plan to run from your place of residence. You will need to include your name and home address and answer questions such as whether your home business may require more parking spaces, whether you will be generating traffic in excess of what is normally expected for a residential neighborhood, if you plan to store any equipment or materials, etc. You will need to familiarize yourself  with what constitutes a ‘home occupation,’ as defined in Section 20.16.610 of City of San Marcos Ordinance number 71-197. Your signature on the application denotes you have provided only true and complete information.

Is there other information that you may find useful?

  1. Upon receiving your San Marcos business application, the city of San Marcos will forward it on to other local entities who may need to review and approve it. Some of these agencies include the health or water department, the fire department, police department, planning department, etc. You may need to acquire additional permits or licenses from these agencies, and/or other agencies, such as the Alcoholic Beverage Control department or the IRS. You will be notified by local departments as to whether you will be required to obtain any additional permits or licenses. The state and federal licenses may be your responsibility to obtain, but note that if you are not in compliance with all federal, state and local regulations, you may have your business license revoked or denied. 
  2. If you plan to operate certain businesses, you may need to obtain a regulatory permit. Some of these businesses include: pawn shop, massage therapy, transportation services, dances, and game centers. This is not a complete list. Check with the Finance Department to discuss your business to determine if you will need a regulatory permit.
  3. You may need to fill out a hazardous materials questionnaire when you fill out your business license application. This application is found with the San Marcos business license application online and has many questions pertaining to the use, storage and disposal of potentially hazardous materials that you may use during the operation of your business activities. If you are planning to handle any of these materials, or answer yes to any questions on the hazardous materials questionnaire, you will need to contact the San Diego County Department if Environmental Health Hazardous Materials Division at (619) 338-2222.

What fees will you be expected to pay for a San Marcos business license?

The fees for a business license are based on the business type and the number of employees that you plan to hire. If you plan to have 0-5 employees, you will be expected to pay a fee for the processing of your business license, if you are planning to hire 3001-5000 employees, your fee would be more. General contractors and subcontractors will pay a different fee. All of this information can be found on the second page of the business license application.  Contact the Finance Department for questions concerning fees and costs or check the San Marcos website.

How can you contact the San Marcos Finance Department for more information?

Visit the Finance Department at 1 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos, CA 92069 or call (760)744-1050 ext 3101 for more information.

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