How to Get Business License and Permits in Washington


Steve Goldstein
Steve Goldstein
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Get Business License and Permits in Washington

One of the critical aspects of setting up a successful business in Washington is navigating the process of obtaining the necessary licenses and permits. These legal prerequisites ensure that your business operations comply with Washington regulations, protect your investment, and minimize potential liabilities. Business licenses and permits are as important as registering your business. If you want to start a business in Washington, you must obtain diverse licenses and permits to run the business.

One must know that registering the business and applying for licenses are not the same in Washington. There might be some businesses that need to be registered but do not need any licenses or permits. For example, for a graphic designing business, if you create an LLC in Washington, you must register your LLC with the secretary of state. Still, you don’t mandatorily need to obtain a business license. Washington, popularly knowns as The Evergreen State, has some rules and regulations when it comes to starting a business. You need to apply for state and federal licenses. In many states, you might also need local licenses based on the nature of your business.

In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of applying for business licenses and permits in Washington. To ensure a smooth application process, we recommend reading this article in its entirety before proceeding with your license applications.

What is Business License and Permit in Washington

If you’re running a business or are willing to start one, you must know about the licenses and permits. A business license is permission from the government to operate a business of any nature in Washington. Typically, as a driver’s license allows you to drive your car, a business license allows you to run your business.

Business licenses are different from business registration. The registration process depends on the structure of your business, for example, Washington LLC. But a business license depends on your industry. For example, a graphic designer may not need to get a license but must register their business in Washington. So, your LLC might not need a specific license, but if you are selling medical cannabis, you must get the proper license for it.

Most states in the United States need a general business license. Washington is one of those states where businesses must get this license. Besides, you must get state and federal licenses.

What Do You Need Before You Apply For Business Licenses and Permits

If you’re in the initial step of forming an LLC or any business, you must wait until your business registration in Washington is done. Once you are done with all the steps to file your business in Washington, you must be ready with the following documents to apply for the business licenses,

You may need other types of documents before you apply for the business licenses, depending on the business nature. Checking with the local city/county authorities for better information is recommended for clearer information.

LLCBuddy Editorial Team

How to Apply for Business Licenses and Permits in Washington

In Washington, applying for business licenses and permits is easy. Before applying for it, check with the local authority for license requirements. Here, we have shared three broad categories of licenses. One, State permits and licenses. Two, federal licenses, and finally, a professional license.

Step 1: Get State Licenses and Permits in Washington

Obviously, the state where you will conduct your business must have some license requirements. You need to search for the required permits and licenses in the state. Businesses must apply to the Washington Secretary of State for state licenses. You can search for business licenses in several ways. Read about how to do a business license search to know the process and requirements.

In some states, it is mandatory to get a privileged license. Washington is no doubt a business-friendly state. It is one of the states that do not need to get the privilege license. Businesses must go to the official website of the Washington Secretary of State and search for the licenses and permits they require based on their business.

Step 2: Get Federal Licenses and Permits

Once you’re done applying for State licenses, it is time to apply for Federal business licenses. Following are the licenses one must have if they are conducting business in the following fields,

  • Agriculture: License issued by The U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Aviation: License issued by The Federal Aviation Administration
  • Alcohol & Tobacco: License issued by The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  • Ammunition, Explosive, & Firearms: License issued by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
  • Radio & Television (Broadcast): License issued by The Federal Communications Commission
  • Mining & Drilling: License issued by The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
  • Commercial Fisheries: License issued by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service
  • Wildlife & Fisheries: License issued by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Nuclear Energy: License issued by The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Transportation by Sea: License issued by The Federal Maritime Commission

If your business belongs to any of the industries mentioned above, you must obtain state as well as federal licenses.

Step 3: Search for Other State Permits and Licenses in Washington

Apart from general business licenses and privilege licenses, there might be other licenses and permits that businesses must obtain in Washington. As I mentioned, business licenses solely depend on the type of industry you are in. Different states have different licensing policies. You must go to the official website of the Washington Secretary of State to find out the special licenses your business needs.

You will also find the probate offices in Washington through the Washington Secretary of State website. You can drop by the probate office and find out the details about your licenses. Some common permits, such as building permits, health permits, signage permits, zoning permits, and environmental permits, are required if you’re in a related industry.

Step 4: City-based Permits and Licenses in Washington

Now, it’s time to consider local authority requirements. Once you’ve completed federal and state formalities, you should check with your local city authorities for any additional permits that may be required. In some cases, certain permits might be issued by local government offices rather than state or federal agencies. As a result, it’s essential to visit your local government office soon after setting up your business to apply for any necessary permits.

Keep in mind that you may come across some licenses that may not seem directly related to your profession. For example, you might not think you need a health permit as a hairstylist. However, it might be a requirement in your city. Such permits help protect you and your fellow Washington entrepreneurs from potential legal issues.

Step 5: Home-based Business Licence in Washington

The licensing is different if your business is home-based in Washington. An initial inspection takes place based on the type of business you are conducting from your home. For example, if you are selling homemade edibles, then it is necessary to check the place’s hygiene. Washington state and local authorities will visit your home to check if things are good and hygienic. Based on that, you will get the permit or license to run a home-based business in Washington.

Home-based business licenses are issued on the basis of the nature of your business. Issuance, expiration, and renewal of this type of license are different from conventional state and federal licenses. To know more about home-based business license requirements, do pay a visit to the local revenue office.

Step 6: Get a Professional License in Washington

This is a special type of license. A professional license is issued only to those with special education, training, and degree. For example, teachers, nurses, doctors, and engineers are eligible to get this license.

In Washington, professionals like doctors, engineers, teachers, and nurses obtain this license to start working independently in these fields. Professional Licenses are issued by the Washington Secretary of State and only to those with special education, degree, and/or training.

How to Maintain Your Business Licenses in Washington

In Washington, businesses typically need to maintain two types of licenses: general state and federal licenses and professional licenses. General state and federal licenses usually expire after one year and are automatically renewed, provided the business is in good standing. Once expired, entrepreneurs must pay the annual fees to renew these licenses.

The rules for professional licenses in Washington are slightly different. In order to maintain or renew a professional license, individuals often need to complete continuing education requirements. For example, a doctor with a professional license must continue studying and training to stay up-to-date with new medical technology and treatments. The professional can renew their license after finishing the required training or education.

FAQs

What is a business license?
A business license is a document issued by the government that allows a business to legally operate in the state of Washington.
What type of business licenses are available in Washington?
Depending on the type of business, different business licenses may be required in the state of Washington. Common types of business licenses include a retail sales license, a contractor’s license, a professional license, a food establishment license, a seller’s permit, and a liquor license.
What is a seller’s permit in Washington?
A seller’s permit is a document issued by the Washington State Department of Revenue that allows a business to collect and pay the sales tax on items they sell in the state.
Is there a fee to apply for a business license in Washington?
Yes, there is a fee associated with applying for a business license in the state of Washington. The amount of the fee will vary depending on the type of license being applied for.
How do I apply for a business license in Washington?
The process of applying for a business license in the state of Washington will depend on the type of license being applied for. Generally, applications can be submitted online, by mail, or in-person.
How long does it take to get a business license in Washington?
The time it takes to receive a business license in the state of Washington will depend on the type of license being applied for. Generally, most licenses can be processed within 30 days.
What is a business permit in Washington?
A business permit is a document issued by the government that allows a specific type of business to legally operate in the state of Washington. There are various types of business permits that may be required depending on the type of business.
What type of business permits are available in Washington?
Depending on the type of business, different business permits may be required in the state of Washington. Common types of business permits include zoning permits, building permits, health permits, and signage permits.
Is there a fee to apply for a business permit in Washington?
Yes, there is a fee associated with applying for a business permit in the state of Washington. The amount of the fee will vary depending on the type of permit being applied for.
How do I apply for a business permit in Washington?
The process of applying for a business permit in the state of Washington will depend on the type of permit being applied for. Generally, applications can be submitted online, by mail, or in-person.
How long does it take to get a business permit in Washington?
The time it takes to receive a business permit in the state of Washington will depend on the type of permit being applied for. Generally, most permits can be processed within 30 days.
What is the difference between a business license and a business permit in Washington?
A business license is a document issued by the government that allows a business to legally operate in the state of Washington, while a business permit is a document that allows a specific type of business to legally operate in the state of Washington. A business license may be required in order to obtain a business permit.
What is a liquor license in Washington?
A liquor license is a document issued by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board that allows a business to sell alcohol in the state of Washington.
Is there a fee to apply for a liquor license in Washington?
Yes, there is a fee associated with applying for a liquor license in the state of Washington. The amount of the fee will vary depending on the type of license being applied for.
How do I apply for a liquor license in Washington?
The process of applying for a liquor license in the state of Washington will depend on the type of license being applied for. Generally, applications can be submitted online, by mail, or in-person.
How long does it take to get a liquor license in Washington?
The time it takes to receive a liquor license in the state of Washington will depend on the type of license being applied for. Generally, most licenses can be processed within 30 days.
How do I check the status of my application for a business license or permit in Washington?
You can check the status of your application for a business license or permit in Washington by contacting the relevant licensing agency.
Do I need to register my business name in Washington?
Yes, you will need to register your business name in the state of Washington in order to obtain a business license or permit.
What is the Washington State Business Licensing Service (BLS)?
The Washington State Business Licensing Service (BLS) is an online service that allows businesses to apply for, renew, and manage business licenses and permits with multiple agencies in one convenient location.
Do I need a professional license in Washington?
Depending on the type of business, a professional license may be required in the state of Washington. Common types of professional licenses include medical, legal, engineering, and teaching.
What is a food establishment license in Washington?
A food establishment license is a document issued by the Washington State Department of Health that allows a business to operate a food service establishment in the state.
Is there a fee to apply for a food establishment license in Washington?
Yes, there is a fee associated with applying for a food establishment license in the state of Washington. The amount of the fee will vary depending on the type of establishment being licensed.
How do I apply for a food establishment license in Washington?
The process of applying for a food establishment license in the state of Washington will depend on the type of establishment being licensed. Generally, applications can be submitted online, by mail, or in-person.
How long does it take to get a food establishment license in Washington?
The time it takes to receive a food establishment license in the state of Washington will depend on the type of establishment being licensed. Generally, most licenses can be processed within 30 days.
How do I renew my business license or permit in Washington?
The process of renewing a business license or permit in the state of Washington will depend on the type of license or permit being renewed. Generally, renewals can be submitted online, by mail, or in-person.
Is there a fee to renew a business license or permit in Washington?
Yes, there is a fee associated with renewing a business license or permit in the state of Washington. The amount of the fee will vary depending on the type of license or permit being renewed.
Where can I get more information about getting a business license or permit in Washington?
For more information about getting a business license or permit in the state of Washington, please contact the relevant licensing agency or visit the Washington State Business Licensing Service website.
What permits and licenses are required to do business in Washington?
Depending on the type of business, you may need to obtain specific permits and licenses from both state and/or local government agencies. Generally, you will need a Business License issued by the Department of Revenue and any applicable trade or professional licenses from the Department of Licensing.
How do I get a business license in Washington?
To obtain a Business License in Washington, you must first register a business name with the Secretary of State. You must then register your business with the Department of Revenue and file for any applicable trade or professional licenses with the Department of Licensing.
Is there a fee for a business license in Washington?
Yes, there is a fee associated with obtaining a business license in Washington. The fee will depend on the type of business and its location.
What other permits and licenses may be required to do business in Washington?
Depending on the type of business, you may need to obtain additional licenses and permits from local government agencies such as the city or county. Common examples include a food service establishment permit, a building permit, or a sign permit.
What forms of payment are accepted for business licenses in Washington?
Generally, the Department of Revenue accepts credit cards, checks, and money orders. Some local government agencies may also accept cash.
Can I apply for a business license online in Washington?
Yes, you can apply for a business license online through the Department of Revenue’s website.

Also Read

Why Washington Licenses Permits is So Important

One of the primary reasons why Washington licenses and permits are so important is because they help maintain public safety. By requiring individuals or businesses to obtain specific licenses or permits before engaging in certain activities, the state can ensure that those entities are adhering to necessary safety regulations and standards. For example, businesses that handle hazardous materials are required to obtain permits to ensure they are following proper protocols to prevent accidents and protect the environment.

In addition to public safety, licenses and permits also help promote fair competition and protect consumers. By regulating certain industries through licensing requirements, the state can prevent unqualified individuals or businesses from entering the market and potentially putting consumers at risk. This not only helps maintain a level playing field for businesses but also ensures that consumers are receiving high-quality products and services from reputable providers.

Moreover, licenses and permits are essential for protecting the environment and natural resources. Washington is renowned for its stunning landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and abundant wildlife. By implementing regulations that require permits for activities that could potentially harm the environment, such as construction projects or mining operations, the state can ensure that these activities are conducted in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Furthermore, licenses and permits can also help generate revenue for the state. In many cases, businesses are required to pay fees in order to obtain the necessary licenses or permits to operate legally. This revenue can then be used to fund essential government services, infrastructure projects, or conservation efforts that benefit the community as a whole.

Overall, Washington licenses and permits are a critical component of our state’s regulatory framework. They serve a variety of important functions, from promoting public safety and fair competition to protecting the environment and generating revenue for the state. Without these regulatory measures in place, the state would be at risk of potential harm and abuse, putting the well-being of its residents and natural resources in jeopardy. It is crucial that individuals and businesses comply with these requirements to ensure a safe, fair, and sustainable future for Washington.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the business licenses required in Washington largely depend on the nature of your enterprise. While some state-specific requirements may exist, the type of business ultimately determines the necessary licenses. Some businesses might not need any licenses or permits to operate. To ensure compliance, it is strongly advised to consult with local authorities about any required licenses and permits for conducting business in your specific city or county within Washington.

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