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How do i get a business license

how do i get a business license

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Master License

Washington requires that you file for a Master Business License when you start or make any changes in your business. Changes include moving, acquiring a specialty license, ownership changes, changing your trade name, hiring employees or changing your insurance coverage. Insurance changes that require updating your license include unemployment insurance.

Specialty License

To operate certain businesses in Washington, you will also need a specialty business license. Specialty licenses are required for businesses even if the operation's headquarters are not in Washington. If you have more than one location in the state, each location requires its own license, although the fees for additional locations are typically less than for the original license. You can use the Master License to apply for some specialty licenses.

City and County Licenses

Certain cities and counties in Washington require any business operating within them to receive a license before beginning operation. Your application for a Master Business License will contain information for city or county licenses in some locations, but for others you must contact the city

and county to discover their application process. To license a business in a city or county, you must learn and follow the laws within its jurisdiction.

Professional Licenses

Certain professionals must receive a professional license in order to do business in Washington. The professions requiring specific licenses include attorneys medical practitioners, including dentists, opticians and other doctors; cosmetologists; and architects. You cannot use the Master License application to apply for a professional license; you must apply through the state for any applicable license.


There are myriad of fees for licenses, depending on the type and location of your business. The application fee for a Master Business License is $15, and there is an additional $5 fee if you wish to register your trade name to prevent other businesses from using it. Specialty license fees vary from $10 for a house trailer community to $783 for an employment agency. Licenses expire after one year, and you must renew them to continue operating your business. Professional fees also vary, depending on your profession and the number of business locations you have.

Category: Personal Finance

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