Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Business in Everett

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Business is booming in Washington for entrepreneurs. In fact, the state was ranked second in the nation for entrepreneurial activity, making it a mecca for budding startups.

While starting your business is an exciting time in your life, turning it into reality can be complicated and overwhelming, especially as you’re navigating licensing, taxes, and various regulations. But we’re here to help lighten your load. We put together this guide to help you through the process of turning your idea into a full-fledged and successful business.

Permits, Licenses, and Regulations

Your business will need to be licensed at both the state and local level. Get a general business license from the state of Washington or a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number, which provides a tax ID number (sort of like a social security number for a business). You’ll also need to apply for a license in Everett, which permits you to conduct business in the city.

Some businesses also require industry-specific licenses, called specialty licenses. This list can be extensive and includes hair salons, child care, pharmacies, tattoo parlors, and car rental agencies, to name a few. To obtain a specialty license, you must fill out an application and meet the required criteria.

If you are in the food and beverage industry, you will also need to obtain a number of permits, including kitchen and food handler permits and a liquor license if you plan to sell or serve alcohol. Information about which permits you need can be found at the Snohomish County health district website.

Taxes and Insurance

As a business owner, you’ll pay Washington business and occupation tax (B&O) on your business profits. These forms will be mailed to you automatically. You’ll also pay federal taxes to the IRS.

While you’ll never be able to avoid taxes, the city of Everett has an attractive tax policy for businesses. It offers a number of incentives and tax breaks for business owners.

Insurance is also necessary for any business. At minimum, you’ll need worker’s compensation insurance, which covers medical bills and lost wages if an employee is injured on the job. Business liability insurance is also a smart idea and protects you against lawsuits. If you plan on providing health insurance for your employees, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange can help you locate a plan.

Zoning and Construction

Zoning establishes how specific areas of land can be used. If you plan on building a new facility for your business, you’ll need to make sure it meets specific zoning guidelines to make sure the area is zoned for the type of work you want to provide. New construction or modifications to existing structures also need to meet building and fire codes for safety.

If you have a home-based business, you’ll need to check Everett’s municipal code  to make sure you can operate that type of business from your home. For example, let’s say you want to run an auto repair business from your driveway and garage. Everett city code, however, states that auto repairs done in a residential neighborhood are only permitted on cars that are registered to the owner of the home or the owner’s family.

Business Solutions and Infrastructures

Once your business is licensed and you have a place of operation, you’ll need to set up the infrastructure needed to keep your business running smoothly. At minimum, this will include Internet connections and phone service. Depending on the services you provide, you may also want to offer Wi-Fi mobility for customers or waiting rooms, a full business phone system, or data back-up plans.

If You Need Additional Assistance

While this list may seem daunting, don’t be intimidated. If you need more help or have questions, contact the Everett Economic Development Division.

Photo by Prayitno via Flickr