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How-To Start a Business in Washington

If you are going to start a business in Washington State, it is a big job. There are so many items to research and track of, which can get overwhelming fast. With a lawyer practiced in Seattle business strategies, however, the process can become much smoother. When do you hire a lawyer though, and what steps do you need to complete in order to set up a business in Washington?

Make a Business Plan

Depending on what type of business you plan to start, your business plan may be up to 50 pages in length and can include subjects like

  • What type of business you plan to run
  • What activities you will be performing
  • How you will receive your funding and capital
  • How well you project the business will do
  • How much your renting space and utilities will cost
  • What your plans for growing your business are

A business plan is often needed to get a small business loan or to gather capital from investors. This is the foundation of business setup in the Seattle area and throughout Washington State. A business litigation attorney, as well as an accountant, can help you start putting together this plan in a way that will make it professional and attractive to lenders.

Licensing and Business Structures

Your next steps, according to the State of Washington Business and Licensing Service, are deciding the legal structures of your business and acquiring necessary licenses. Talk with a lawyer specializing in business planning about what business structure would be best for you if you’re unsure. The most common types of business structures for small to large businesses include

  • LLC (Limited Liability Company)
  • LLP (Limited Liability Partnership)
  • Corporation

Along with determining your business structure, you must also file for a business license. On top of a standard business license, you may also need specialty licenses for things like liquor, vehicle sales, and gambling. If you don’t need a specialty license, you can simply file your business license when you file your business formation papers with the Secretary of State. This service is also available online. In addition to this, it’s likely you’ll need city and county licenses as well. These can be filed at the same time as your business license application. For small cities, you may need to file the papers directly at the city hall.

Hiring Employees

Finally, you want to look at the procedures for hiring employees. According to the State of Washington Business and Licensing Service, when you hire employees in Washington, you must sign up for worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance. Thankfully, you automatically register for both of these when you complete your business license application. A lawyer who specializes in business strategies can help you understand more about what you need to do to be in compliance with L&I laws and how unemployment insurance works.