Starting a Business

The Carlsbad Department of Development is here to assist your new or relocating business. Our team can provide direction, make key introductions, and help you to navigate the process of getting the appropriate business licenses. There are additional resources available to entrepreneurs and business owners, including assistance provided through the following agencies:

Call us for more information or assistance. You can also download this printable brochure (pdf) from the SBA.

City of Carlsbad Forms

City of Carlsbad building permit, business license, and zoning forms.

City of Carlsbad Code of Ordinances

City of Carlsbad "Municode" system.

State of New Mexico Forms

Incorporation applications and forms for the State of New Mexico.


Choose and Obtain Your Business Name

It’s not easy to pick the perfect name. You’ll want one that reflects your brand and captures your spirit. You’ll also want to make sure your business name isn’t already being used by someone else.

Market Research

Market research will tell you if there’s an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business. It’s a way to gather information about potential customers and businesses already operating in your area. Use that information to find a competitive advantage for your business.

Business Plan

Your business plan is the foundation of your business. It’s a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. You’ll use it to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice.


Your business plan will help you figure out how much money you’ll need to start your business. If you don’t have that amount on hand, you’ll need to either raise or borrow the capital. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to find the capital you need.


Your business location is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Whether you’re setting up a brick-and-mortar business or launching an online store, the choices you make could affect your taxes, legal requirements, and revenue.

Business Structure

The legal structure you choose for your business will impact your business registration requirements, how much you pay in taxes, and your personal liability.

Register Your Business

Once you’ve picked the perfect business name, it’s time to make it legal and protect your brand. If you’re doing business under a name different than your own, you’ll need to register with the federal government, and maybe your state government, too.

Federal and State Tax IDs

You’ll use your employer identification number (EIN) for important steps to start and grow your business, like opening a bank account and paying taxes. It’s like a social security number for your business. Some — but not all — states require you to get a tax ID as well.

Licenses and Permits

Keep your business running smoothly by staying legally compliant. The licenses and permits you need for your business will vary by industry, state, location, and other factors.

Business Bank Account

A small business checking account can help you handle legal, tax, and day-to-day issues. The good news is it’s easy to set one up if you have the right registrations and paperwork ready. Carlsbad has several local financial institutions that can assist you to include the following:

CNB Bank

Western Commerce Bank

Pioneer Bank

First American Bank

Financial Security Credit Union