Starting Your Business in Washington | A Step-by-Step Guide

Start a Business in Washington

If you want to start an LLC in Washington, there are numerous factors to consider. Starting your own business is one of the most exciting and profitable things you can do in Washington. But where do you start? Follow our comprehensive guide on How to Start a Business in Washington. We will assist you in removing doubt from the process and investigate your success chances. It will begin with defining your business idea and progress to establishing, launching, and expanding your business. Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you every step of the way!

What Business to Start in Washington?

If you’re looking to start a business in Washington, consider starting a limited liability company (LLC). LLCs offer personal liability protection for their owners while also providing the flexibility of a partnership or sole proprietorship. Beyond that, here is the list of businesses to consider in Washington.

  1. Agricultural Products
  2. Electric Car Charging Stations
  3. Information Technology Services
  4. Ridesharing
  5. Commercial Fishing

Whatever business you choose to start, it’s important to conduct thorough market research and create a solid business plan before diving in. We reviewed some of the Best LLC Services and provided features as an add-on with their packages for you to check out.

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Starting a business can be a challenging but highly rewarding endeavor. By taking the time to research and plan, you can increase your chances of success. Whether you choose to form a corporation or start an LLC in Washington, it’s important to surround yourself with a strong team that will guide you. Don’t let fear hold you back, take that first step towards turning your business dreams into a reality.


How to Start a Business in Washington?

To form a business in Washington, you must follow a few steps that include creating a business plan, choosing a business entity type, determining your business costs, naming your business, registering a business, and lastly, marketing your business.

Please continue reading to learn more about the overall procedure and what new small business owners should keep in mind as they complete each step.

Step 1: Creating a Business Plan

When developing a business plan, many factors should be considered during the decision-making process. Your business plan in Washington serves as a road map for your company’s success.

A business plan should take into account the specific goals of your company. You should know the product or service you will provide in Washington. A well-thought-out business plan is essential for determining how your company will make a profit. If the purpose of the business plan is ambiguous and unrelated to the service you provide, it will impact the business you are forming. Make sure your business goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound). Also, researching your competitors’ services will help you determine your strategy for your state business. Finally, you should consider your company’s funding.

With this article’s assistance, you can better comprehend your business’s essential components and success strategy. You can apply for Washington Small Business Loans from banks and investor funding to help support your company in Washington.

Once you have the entire plan in your hands, you can work on the legal framework of your company. Legally, you can form an LLC for your ideal business.

Step 2: Choose a Business Entity in Washington

Selecting a business entity for your Washington company. When starting your own business, you must choose a business structure. How well your personal assets are secured, how much tax you pay, and how much paperwork you have to deal with will all be significantly impacted by the type of corporate entity you choose. Consider setting up a corporation, LLC, LLP, or sole proprietorship as your business entity in Washington.

Sole Proprietorships

Consider a sole proprietorship if you want to start a business in Washington by yourself. A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure in which a single individual owns and operates the entire business. The owner and the business are considered the same legal entity in a sole proprietorship. There is no legal distinction between the owner and the business, meaning that the owner has complete control over the business operations, profits, and losses.

Sole proprietorships are best suited for Washington small businesses with low risks and for individuals who want to maintain complete control over their business without the complexities of establishing a separate legal entity.

Limited Liability Company

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure that combines features of both partnerships and corporations, offering limited liability protection to its owners (called members) while allowing flexibility in management and taxation. An LLC is a separate legal entity from its owners, meaning the members are not personally liable for the business’s debts, obligations, or liabilities.

It is a popular choice for small to medium-sized businesses that want the liability protection of a corporation while maintaining management flexibility and simpler tax treatment. It’s essential to consult with a legal or financial professional to determine if an LLC is the best choice for your specific business situation.

Limited Liability Partnership

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is comparable to an LLC. However, it is usually used by licensed business professionals like attorneys or accountants. A partnership agreement is necessary for this kind of business entity. You can form an LLP in Washington if you are planning to.


Forming a Corporation in Washington reduces your personal liability for business debts as an LLC does. A corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners, known as shareholders. It is created under the laws of the state it is incorporated in and is considered a separate “person” under the law. The corporation can enter into contracts, own property, sue and be sued, and pay taxes separately from its owners.

A corporation can be taxed as an S-corporation (S-Corp) or a C-corporation (C-Corp). If a small corporation satisfies certain Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards, then S-corporation status is available, providing pass-through taxation. However, most larger businesses and startups seeking venture financing are taxed as C-corps.

To choose the right business structure in Washington, consider personal liability protection, taxation, management flexibility, administrative requirements, and setup costs. Consult a legal or financial professional to help you make the best decision.

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Step 3: Determine your Washington Business Cost

In Washington, you should determine the cost of your business. You should consider paying the Certificate of Formation fee, business licenses fee, office supplies and equipment, payroll, rent, utilities, transportation, and taxes.

Usually, filing an initial Washington Certificate of Formation fee costs $200, while the LLC annual fee costs $60 in Washington. In terms of filing Washington Articles of Incorporation, the costs usually range up to $180 for online and by mail filing.

If forming an LLC is your ideal business, consider knowing the LLC Cost in Washington.

Step 4: Name your Business in Washington

Naming your business doesn’t take a lot of time. With the help of Washington Business Name Search, you can acquire a name for your business. If you form an LLC in Washington, you must follow the below rules while naming your business-

  • The name should not be confused with a government entity.
  • The name should be unique.
  • The name should be available to use.
  • Any other business does not use the name.
  • The new name must include “LLC” if it is a limited liability company.

In Washington, if you do not wish to file your business right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your business name. You must file a name reservation application in the Washington Secretary of State to keep the name.

If the business name is available, you may choose to reserve it for a specific period of 180 days. The online name reservation fee is $30 and the mail name reservation fee is $30. If your business plans to operate under a name other than its legal name, you may also need to register a fictitious or “doing business as” (DBA) name.

The DBA filing can be done in three methods, online, by mail, and in person filing, which you can file in Washington Secretary of State. You can check out how to file a DBA in Washington for clearer understanding.

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Step 5: Register Washington Business

To register a business in Washington, you need to file it with the Washington Secretary of State. Before that, you must have a Washington Registered Agent for your business. The Registered Agent is a person who is responsible for receiving important legal documents on your behalf.

You can serve as your own Registered Agent, or you can appoint a friend or family member, or you can check the Best Registered Agent Services in Washington.

Apply For Certificate of Formation

After you have a Registered Agent, you need to file the Washington Certificate of Formation, if you want to have an LLC structure, or you need to file the Washington Articles of Incorporation if you want to have a Corporation.

Request For an EIN

In addition to the paperwork, your Registered Agent should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in Washington. An EIN will serve as the tax ID for your professional corporation. EIN can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. EIN, however, is distinct from SSN. It is only used for business-related activities, particularly for submitting general taxes. The form must be completed and uploaded to the IRS website. You can obtain the EIN for free from the IRS.

The application of an EIN in Washington can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone (for International Applicants)– International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

After you have your EIN number, you can benefit in several ways. It will give your LLC the absolute advantage necessary to operate at full capacity without encountering legal or judicial issues.

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

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Step 6: Apply for Business License and Permit

Business licenses and operating permits are necessary to run any business in Washington. Before launching your new business, request any required business license or permission. Most Washington businesses need licenses or permits to operate. Federal, state, and local governments may all require businesses to have licenses and permits. The business license fee depends on the type of license you are applying for. It can start from $25 till going up to $100+. However, in Washington, the business license fee ranges from $50 – $300.

Step 7: Obtain a Bank Account

Your business dealings in Washington might be simpler with a US business bank account because it boosts your company’s legitimacy and liquidity. Opening a separate bank account for your Washington business is essential for maintaining a clear separation between your personal and business finances.

You can check out the Best Banks in Washington, which offers the best fees, services, and convenience for your business needs.

Step 8: Market your Business in Washington

Now that your Washington business is registered, you can market it with an ideal marketing plan. An ideal marketing plan can help a start-up business to become known. Making a comprehensive social media network like META, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube falls within this category. While creating an SEO campaign for your company website, you may also look at specialized communities on Facebook and LinkedIn.


What is required to start a business in Washington?
To start a business in Washington, you need to register for a business license with the Washington State Department of Revenue.
Is it necessary to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to start a business in Washington?
Yes, it is necessary to get an EIN to start a business in Washington.
What is the procedure to get an EIN in Washington?
You can get an EIN for your business in Washington by filling out an application online through the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) website.
What does it cost to register for a business license in Washington?
The cost to register for a business license in Washington varies depending on the type of business you operate, the number of employees you have, and the annual revenue of your business.
What taxes must I pay to the state of Washington as a business owner?
Business owners in Washington may be required to pay federal, state, and local taxes, as well as sales tax on certain products and services.
Do I need to register for any other permits or licenses to start a business in Washington?
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to register for an additional state license or permit, such as a food service establishment permit or liquor license.
Are there any steps I need to take to protect my business name in Washington?
If you want to protect your business name in Washington, you should register for a trademark or service mark with the Secretary of State’s office.
What is the minimum wage in Washington?
The minimum wage in Washington is currently $13.69 per hour.
Are there any requirements for offering employee benefits in Washington?
Washington businesses that offer employee benefits must comply with state and federal regulations, such as the Affordable Care Act.
Must I have workers’ compensation insurance in Washington?
Yes, if you have employees in Washington, you must have workers’ compensation insurance.
Is it mandatory for Washington businesses to have a general liability insurance policy?
While it is not required by law, having a general liability insurance policy is recommended for all Washington businesses.
How do I file my state taxes in Washington?
You can file your state taxes in Washington either electronically or by mail using the state’s Department of Revenue website.
Am I required to collect sales tax on my products or services in Washington?
Yes, depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to collect sales tax on your products or services in Washington.
Are there any restrictions on what items can be taxed in Washington?
Yes, certain items such as groceries, prescription drugs, and most services are exempt from sales tax in Washington.
What is the corporate tax rate in Washington?
Washington does not have a corporate income tax, but businesses may be required to pay other taxes such as the Business and Occupation (B&O) tax.
Where can I find resources for small businesses in Washington?
The Washington State Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) provides resources for small businesses, including certification programs and access to loans and assistance.
How do I know which licenses and permits I need for my business in Washington?
You can find information about the licenses and permits required for your business in Washington on the Department of Licensing website.
What is the process to apply for a liquor license in Washington?
To apply for a liquor license in Washington, you must fill out an application with the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Are there any specific environmental regulations I need to adhere to in Washington?
Yes, Washington businesses must comply with environmental regulations enforced by the state’s Department of Ecology.
How can I find funding for my Washington-based business?
The Washington State Department of Commerce provides resources and offers grants and loans to support businesses in Washington.
Is it necessary to have a business plan to start a business in Washington?
While not required, having a solid business plan detailing your goals, products or services, marketing, financial cost projections is highly recommended.
What associations are in Washington that assist small businesses?
Examples of Washington organizations supporting small businesses include the Greater Seattle Business Association, Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective, and several chapters of the Small Business Association (SBA).
How can I register my business for taxes in Washington?
Visit the Washington State Department of Revenue’s “business licensing” website to be able to fill out all required forms to get your business registered for taxes.
Do businesses in Washington have to register with the Secretary of State’s office?
Yes, most businesses must affiliate their entity within the State Department. Filing your structure with the Corporations Division also protects your name and provides various levels of legal recognition for investment abilities.
Can I change my business name or structure in Washington?
Yes. To change your business name you need to A) register a new trade name, or B) update your articles of incorporation to reflect your preferred name. For changing your business; create a new structure, such as changing your sole proprietorship to a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
What kind of entity is ideal for a small business seeking to build credit but also cut taxes?
LLCs are great options for those wishing to have legal and financial separation necessitating no direct exposure of personal assets, legally convertible into a corporate entity, and both recognized by both the state and IRS.
Can you create a business without having articles of incorporation on file?
Yes! Depending on your business’s entity as simple partnerships and sole proprietorships disregard such legal guidelines, begin assessing proper taxing procedures towards startup to avoid regulatory surprises.
Is my LLC registration private?
No. Filling concerning LLC state identification, stamped and receives stored in a public record. Subsequently, personal descriptions including names where if disclosed, act as principal agents and recognizable affiliated individuals record.
How do I register a business in Washington?
To register a business in Washington, you must first file a Washington Business License Application with the Secretary of State.
How much does it cost to register a business in Washington?
The filing fee for a Washington Business License Application is $15.
Do I need a business license in Washington?
Yes, most businesses in Washington are required to have a business license.
How do I find out what type of business license I need in Washington?
Visit the the Washington State Business Licensing Service website to find out what licenses and permits your business may need based on your business activities and location.
How long does it take to get a business license in Washington?
Typically, it takes about four weeks to receive your Washington Business License after submitting your application.
Can I operate a business without a business license in Washington?
No, it is illegal to operate a business without a valid business license in Washington.
Do I need to collect sales tax in Washington?
If you sell tangible goods or provide services in Washington, you may need to collect and remit sales tax.
How do I register to collect sales tax in Washington?
You can register for a Washington State Seller’s Permit through the Department of Revenue website.
How often do I need to file sales tax returns in Washington?
If you are registered to collect sales tax in Washington, you must file sales tax returns on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis depending on your business’s sales volume.
Do I need to provide my employees with workers’ compensation insurance in Washington?
Yes, employers in Washington are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage to their employees.
Where can I find information on starting a small business in Washington?
The Washington Small Business Development Center has resources and services to help you start and grow your small business.
What are the requirements for hiring employees in Washington?
Employers in Washington must comply with state and federal employment laws, including minimum wage and overtime requirements, anti-discrimination laws, and workplace safety regulations.
How do I obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) in Washington?
You can apply for an EIN from the IRS online, by mail, fax, or phone.
Do I need to register my business name in Washington?
If you want to use a name for your business other than your own personal name, you must file a Trade Name Application with the Secretary of State.
How do I apply for a business loan in Washington?
You can apply for a business loan from a financial institution or through the Small Business Administration (SBA).
How can I find resources for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington?
Visit Washington State Coronavirus Response website for updates and resources for small businesses during the pandemic.
How can I protect my business under Washington law?
Consult with an attorney to determine what legal protections are available to your particular business type, such as liability insurance or forming a limited liability company (LLC).
Do I need to register my business as a Non-Profit Corporation in Washington?
Yes, if you want to operate a non-profit organization in Washington, you must file Articles of Incorporation as a Non-Profit Corporation with the Secretary of State.
Can I sell products online in Washington without collecting sales tax?
If you sell products to customers in Washington, you may need to collect and remit the state sales tax, regardless of whether the transaction took place online.
How do I register a trademark in Washington?
Trademark registration is managed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), not Washington State.
Do I need a business plan to start a business in Washington?
A business plan is not required to start a business in Washington State, but it can be helpful in organizing your thoughts and setting goals.
How can I apply for a business grant in Washington?
Business grants may be available from federal, state, or local government entities, or from private corporations and foundations. You can look for grant opportunities online.
What are the requirements for a home-based business in Washington?
If you plan to operate a home-based business in Washington, you may need to obtain a Home Occupation Permit from your local county or city government.
How can I form a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Washington?
To form an LLC in Washington, file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State and prepare an Operating Agreement.
Can I be self-employed in Washington?
Yes, you can be self-employed in Washington as long as you comply with state laws and regulations regarding business operations and licensing.
Can I sell food from my home kitchen in Washington?
Washington has a Cottage Food Laws which allows the sale of non-perishable foods made in a home kitchen.
How can I get training and education in starting and running a business in Washington?
The Washington Small Business Development Center offers low-cost training and education for entrepreneurs.
Do I need to obtain zoning approval for my business location in Washington?
Depending on the type of business and your location, you may need to obtain zoning permits from your local city or county government.

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Why You Should Start Business in Washington

One key aspect of Washington that stands out is its strong economy. With a diverse range of industries, including technology, aerospace, and agriculture, the state offers ample opportunities for businesses of all kinds to thrive. The presence of major companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing not only boosts the economy but also creates a supportive ecosystem for startups and small businesses.

Washington is also known for its business-friendly environment. The state offers a range of amenities for entrepreneurs, including access to venture capital, low taxes, and affordable real estate options. Additionally, the workforce in Washington is highly educated and skilled, making it easy to find talented employees to help your business grow.

Another benefit of starting a business in Washington is its strategic location. Situated on the west coast of the United States, the state offers easy access to major international markets in Asia and Europe. This can be a huge advantage for businesses looking to expand globally or tap into new markets.

In addition to its economic and strategic advantages, Washington also boasts a high quality of life. The state is known for its natural beauty, with stunning landscapes ranging from the rugged coastline of the Pacific Ocean to the snow-capped peaks of the Cascade Mountains. In addition, Washington offers a range of recreational opportunities, from hiking and skiing to wine tasting and shopping, making it an attractive place to live and work.

One of the key reasons entrepreneurs should consider starting a business in Washington is the state’s commitment to innovation. Washington is home to some of the most innovative companies in the world, thanks in part to the presence of major research institutions and a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship. For startups looking to push the boundaries of what is possible, Washington is an ideal place to be.

Finally, Washington offers a supportive ecosystem for businesses of all sizes. From networking events and mentorship programs to incubators and accelerators, entrepreneurs in the state have access to a wealth of resources to help them succeed. The state government also offers a range of incentives and programs designed to support small businesses and foster economic growth.

In conclusion, Washington is a fantastic place to start a business for a multitude of reasons. From its strong economy and business-friendly environment to its strategic location and high quality of life, the Evergreen State offers a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs. If you’re looking to launch a startup or grow your existing business, Washington should definitely be on your radar.


Starting a business in Washington has unique advantages and challenges since it offers a large and diverse market, access to skilled talent, and numerous networking opportunities, making it an attractive location for entrepreneurs. However, business owners must also contend with a high cost of living, intense competition, and potentially complex regulations.

Ultimately, whether starting a business in Washington is the right decision depends on the entrepreneur’s specific needs, goals, and industry. It is crucial to conduct thorough research and consider factors such as taxes, regulations, workforce availability, and target market when choosing a location for a new business. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions and set themselves up for success in the competitive Washington business landscape.

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