Engineering consultants give expert advice on a variety of design and construction issues. Even a consulting firm of one is a business. Many consultants operate out of their homes and make the mistake of assuming they can run their businesses license-free. However, most cities and states require business tax registration and licensing for all businesses, of all sizes – and some require Home Occupation Permits for home-based businesses.
Being one of California and the nation’s major cities means San Diego is home to many businesses. However, the city’s licensing systems are fairly decentralized requiring business owners to apply to numerous departments including the city treasurer, planning and development and the police. Additionally, licenses from San Diego County, the state and sometimes the federal government are required in certain industries. San Diego's major industries include defense, international trade, shipping, tourism, manufacturing, research and real estate. The city's close proximity to Mexico and large natural harbor make it a gateway to commerce with Asia and Latin America.