The Evergreen State offers many online resources on how to get a small business license. The state of Washington’s Business Licensing Services provides a central online clearinghouse of forms, information, and resources for Washington businesses. The state offers a Small Business Guide
to aid business people in planning for their new ventures with helpful
step-by-step assistance. Each new business can also develop a customized
licensing checklist with the help of an online Business Licensing Guide
that can be tailored to your business activity, location, and other
information. Key general business licensing issues and resources for
Washington state are outlined below.
- General Business Licenses.
Typically Washington businesses are licensed on a state level and on a
city or county basis for unincorporated areas wherever you have business
locations. Many types of businesses can complete a state Business License Application
online. Aside from online options, you can also file your application
by postal mail or in-person at the Department of Revenue’s Business Licensing Office.
The state application will require information about the business
owners, locations, estimated yearly gross revenues, any employee hiring,
and any applicable insurance coverage, such as workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. Some local communities also use the state’s Business License Application along with a City Business License Addendum
so your business can apply for both at the same time. To determine if
your city or county participates, you can click on your applicable city
or town from a list of participating cities and counties.
After you have applied for a state business license, you will receive a
Unified Business Identifier (UBI) or tax registration number which
allows you to do business in the state. The UBI number can also be used
to identify your business to other key state agencies, such as the
Departments of Employment Security, Labor & Industries, and Revenue.
Once you determine your business structure, you must register your
business entity, including various kinds of partnerships, limited
liability companies, and corporations with the Office of the Secretary of State.
- Specific Licensing for Regulated Professions and Industries. Since
there are many different kinds of businesses, your licensing
responsibilities will vary depending upon the nature of your business.
Aside from your general business license, you may be required to obtain
additional professional and specialty licenses and permits. You can renew certain specialty licenses online, by mail, or in-person with the Business Licensing Service.
Other professional or commercial licenses can be renewed through the
relevant professional organization or regulatory agency that granted the
- Trade Name Registration. A
trade name or a “doing business as” registration is mandated for any
sole proprietor or partnership which operates a business under a name
other than the owner’s name. Similarly, a corporation, limited
partnership, or limited liability company must register a trade name
which uses a name other than its name registered with the Office of the
Secretary of State. You can register your trade name using the business license application online, by mail or in-person. You can search online for the state’s business licenses which provides links to other trade name databases to help you determine if your desired business name is available for use.