General Business License Frequently Asked Questions

Did you receive a letter from the City of Escondido?

If yes, all businesses operating and/or conducting business in the City are required to have a Business License. Please refer to the letter you received for further instructions on how to proceed. If you have submitted the required form that was linked in the letter, or contacted our office at x4694, then no further action is required from you at this time. Please be assured that we are tracking all the responses.
Please note: Many letters were intended for specific people and/or businesses. Therefore, if the business does not belong to you, it may belong to a previous resident or owner. Please do not be alarmed of identity theft. 

Do I need a Business License?

All businesses in the City of Escondido are required to obtain a business license. Please Visit the main Business Page for information on how to obtain one.

My business is outside the City of Escondido, but I regularly conduct business in Escondido. Am I required to have a business license?

Yes, all outside businesses conducting business in the City of Escondido are required to have a business license.

How do I determine business license fees?

Business license fees are based on the annual gross receipts as reported on Federal Income Tax Form Schedule ā€œCā€.  Businesses located in Escondido are required to report all annual gross receipts earned by the business.

How do I determine business license fees for my outside business?

Outside businesses are only required to report annual gross receipts earned in the City of Escondido.

Can I submit my business license application on-line?

Yes, by using our new on-line portal.  Visit and follow the instructions.

Can I pay my business license fees on-line or by telephone?

Yes, you can pay business license fees on line by using our new on-line portal. Visit
The City of Escondido does not accept business license payments by telephone.

My Business moved, how do I change my address?

Change of address cannot be done online through the portal. Please contact Business License at 760-839-4659 or by email at

Is a permit required for signage at my business?

Signage in the City of Escondido requires an application and review by the Planning Division. Please contact the Planning Division at 760-839-4671.

Can I put signs in the windows of my business?

The amount of sign coverage allowed depends on the zoning of your property. Please contact the Planning Division at 760-839-4671.

Our business is planning a special event. Do I need a permit?

The Planning Division may require a Special Event Permit. Please contact them at 760-839-4671.

Do I need a permit or business license to have a garage/yard sale?

Garage/yard sales do not require a permit or business license. Garage/yard sales may take place four times a year and may last up to three consecutive days. The sale may take place between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Garage/yard sales are permitted only at single-family residences including mobile home lots. DIVISION 7. GARAGE AND YARD SALES 

Can I sell merchandise in public places?

Yes, as long as you have a valid City of Escondido business license.

NAICS Code and SIC Code Frequently Asked Questions

What is a NAICS Code?

A NAICS (pronounced NAKES) Code is a classification within the North American Industry Classification System. The NAICS System was developed for use by Federal Statistical Agencies for the collection, analysis and publication of statistical data related to the US Economy.

Where and how can I assign a NAICS Code for my business?

NAICS is a self-assigned system. Click on Find my NAICS Code and search for your business category (e.g., contractor, beauty salon, artist, etc). You will then get a six-digit code.

What is a SIC Code?

A SIC (pronounced SIK) code is a Standard Industrial Classification that contains a four-digit code classifying industries by the type of activity. It is used by the City to determine if further evaluation is required based on the type of business.

Where and how can I get my SIC Code?

Once you have your NIACS Code, you can do a crosswalk by going to Find my SIC Code and type your NAICS code, and the crosswalk will automatically find your SIC code.

Tobacco Retail License Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Tobacco Retail License (TRL)?

On November 18, 2020, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 20-29R, which created a program to regulate and license tobacco retailers within the City of Escondido. The regulations, which include obtaining a TRL, become effective for tobacco retailers in 2021. Starting July 1, 2021, a TRL is required in order to sell any kind of tobacco products in the City. The TRL application, issuance, and annual renewal is separate from your regular annual business license.

Do I Need a Tobacco Retail License?

Businesses that sell any Tobacco Products must have a Tobacco retail license, in addition to their main City of Escondido business license. Applications are accepted here:

Why is the City Regulating Tobacco Sales?

A recent survey showed that some Escondido businesses sell tobacco products to minors, including vaping devices and e-cigarettes, which is in violation of state law. The TRL program will help reduce the number of stores selling these products to minors. Tobacco retailers will be required to pay a licensing fee to cover the costs of administration and annual compliance checks. Compliance checks will review existing tobacco laws regulating underage sales, compliance with the STAKE Act, and a requirement that retailers refrain from selling drug paraphernalia.

How Much Does the TRL Cost?

$88 Annually.

What If I Do Not Get a TRL?

You will not be authorized to sell Tobacco products in the City of Escondido.

How Many Licenses Do I need?

Two business licenses. One business license for normal operations, and an additional license if Tobacco is sold. Note: Each location will need its separate licenses.

How Long Does TRL Process Take?

The process will take approximately two weeks as the Police Departments will need to do an assessment after the application is submitted.

What If my TRL Gets Suspended, Will I Be Able to Perform Normal Operations of My Business?

If your TRL is suspended, you will lose your Tobacco retail license, but may stay open for non-tobacco related items under your normal business license.

Is the Tobacco Retail License Treated the Same as a Regular Business License?

Yes, in that it would require an annual renewal. However, while your normal City of Escondido business license fees may be based on gross receipts and other requirements, the TRL is a flat fee of $88. Note: Your Tobacco Retail License will be aligned with your existing City business license to ensure both are renewed concurrently every year through separate processes.