Get help to start a business in Washington State, get a Washington business license, Incorporate or form an LLC in Washington State, Washington Registered Agent, and other Washington Business services.

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Image of business desk used to depict Washington LLC and Starting a Business in Washington StateNeed some help starting a business in Washington State or making some changes to an existing Washington Business?

Starting a Business in Washington State can look very different from one business to the next.  You may have a million dollars or more in startup capital and you are ready to incorporate with expansion planning already underway for your fast-paced tech startup. You might also be selling collectibles online from your home office realizing its finally time to get that business license and a storefront.  With a vast number of ways to get there, exactly what you need to start a business in Washington State can be confusing.  We’re here to help you take control of your launch!

Cities, counties, the state and federal governments can’t wait to get their hands on your business, and that’s about the price you pay (literally) for the opportunity to own your own business, be your own boss and do the business thing your way.  We believe in you and we are here to help you in starting a business in Washington State.  Already have a business but not sure that legal foundation is rock solid?  We’ve got you covered there, too.

Choosing the right business structure is important.  There are financial and legal opportunities and obligations that come with each structure.  We help you examine the pros and cons of each structure and your specific business needs so you can make a solid, informed decision about the business structure that is best for your business.

There are several types of business structures and they are not created equally, nor by the same means.  Common business structures include:

  • Sole Proprietorships

  • General Partnerships

  • Limited Partnerships (LP)

  • Limited Liability Companies (LLC)

  • Corporations

If you would like to meet with an attorney at Compass Legal Services, P.S. to discuss your business we invite you to contact our office at 360.471.3300 to schedule a consultation.

Google processes up to 10,000 search requests each month for LLC Washington State.  Corporations and LLC’s offer many highly desired legal protections for their owners, shareholders and members that are not available to other types of businesses, making these business structures very popular.  If you have decided to incorporate as a Washington Corporation or plan on forming an LLC or other Limited Liability entity, additional steps are required to launch your business.  The Washington Secretary of State requires all Corporations and LLCs to register through the Corporations and Charities Division.  Additionally, the benefits of these business structures required definitive documentation to be created and specific administrative procedures to be followed to maintain the legal foundations on which these business structures are created.  Failure to meet these obligations can result in loss of legal protections and even dissolution of the business structure.

Compass Legal Services, P.S. provides documenting services to help business clients create the required documents for incorporation and formation of LLCs.  We walk our clients through the documenting process which actually creates the legal framework of the Corporation or LLC and provide them with legally solid, polished documents they can rely on with confidence. To schedule a consultation, call our office at 360.471.3300.

Corporate ByLaws and Shareholders Agreement

In addition to registering your Washington State Corporation or LLC with the Washington Secretary of State, you are required to create specific documents to form the legal basis of your entity.  For a Washington State Corporation, at minimum you must create the Corporate By Laws outlining the structure and administration of your corporation.  Like a parachute when jumping out of an airplane, it is also strongly suggested that Corporations also create a Shareholder’s Agreement, even if there is only one Shareholder.  The Shareholder’s agreement will outline the Shareholders relationship to the corporation itself and the Shareholder’s relationship to one another.  Additional information such as shares at the time of incorporation and how shares may or may not be transferred are also included in the Shareholder’s Agreement.

The Limited Liability Company (LLC) Operating Agreement

When forming an LLC in Washington State, an Operating Agreement is required.  The Operating Agreement sets forth the legal structure of the Limited Liability Company.  It also outlines the operating policy and its management structure and members.  It sets forth the relationship between members and management.

Each of these documents is fundamental to the legal business structure of your corporation or LLC.  Legal protections afforded to these types of businesses fail when the required documents are not in place or when the documents do not meet the necessary criteria to legitimately form the business structure.  At Compass Legal Services, P.S. we have thoroughly researched and developed a rock-solid foundation for creating the formation and incorporation documents our clients need to operate their businesses: the same foundation we use ourselves.  We work with you to tailor your documents to meet the specific needs and requirements of your business.

If you need assistance creating your formation or incorporation documents, please contact our office at 360.471.3300.

Do you need a Washington State Business License?  For most businesses the answer is yes, and you may need other state, county or city licenses, permits and endorsements to operate your business.  Your Washington State Business License is issued and renewed through the Washington Department of Revenue’s Business Licensing Service.  The process to get a Washington State Business License can range from very simple licensing for an average sole proprietorship outside of city limits to significantly more complex for Corporations or LLCs, especially when professional endorsements are required and/or multiple city licenses or contractor’s licenses are required.  Additional requirements apply to businesses who already have or will hire employees.

Many city licenses may be acquired when filing the Master Business License Application; however, other cities, including Bremerton, require business owners to apply for licenses and operating permits directly through the city.

Our staff takes the guess work and hours of research and phone calls out of the equation for our clients.  We’ve been helping clients license and launch businesses for many years (we’ve started a few businesses of our own as well).  We work to ensure our clients’ businesses are properly licensed with the State and any county, city or other municipality that may require licensing or permits to do business there.  We ensure required endorsements are listed and specialty licenses are acquired.  Where accounts with Labor and Industries and the Employment Security Department are necessary, we also handle creation of these accounts as we process business licensing applications for our clients.

If you would like help acquiring your Washington State Business License or are not certain of the business licensing requirements for your specific business and location, we invite you to contact our office at 360.471.3300 to schedule a consultation.

Not every new business requires a Federal EIN number.  Some businesses will use the primary business owner’s social security number as their federal tax ID number.  There are benefits to having an EIN and some businesses must have an EIN.  Even if you are starting a sole proprietorship, you might consider getting and EIN to separate business finances from personal finances and may need one for banking purposes.

While we regularly complete the EIN application process for our clients who need the number for other business documents, we rarely suggest hiring us for this purpose alone as it is cost prohibitive and there is no fee from the federal government to apply for the EIN on your own.

Business Contracts are created for a wide range of purposes from sales contracts to leases to services contracts.  Business Contracts memorialize agreements between our clients and theirs, protecting  the parties to the contracts. Our attorneys personally create each contract requested by our clients.  Contracts are drafted to meet specific legal requirements for legitimacy in addition to outlining the detailed provisions required by our clients.

We are unable to provide real estate contract services; however, we are happy to provide you a referral to a qualified real estate attorney.

If you need assistance producing or reviewing a contract, we invite you to contact our office to schedule a consultation.  Please note that requests for creating business contracts or reviewing business contracts are processed within the attorney’s normal calendar.

Only Corporations and LLC’s are required to have a Washington Registered Agent and the primary owner, other partner or employee may serve as Washington Registered Agent for the Company.  There are specific benefits and reasons that most companies choose not to retain a registered agent in house.

As a Commercial Registered Agent registered with the Washington Secretary of State, Compass Legal Services, P.S. serves as the primary point of contact between our clients  and the Secretary of State.  We receive all communication, mail, email or otherwise from the Secretary of State and some other agencies on behalf of our clients.  Additionally, if a lawsuit is filed against our client’s business, service of process is made at our firm rather than the home or business office of the client.  When documents or service is received at our office for a client, we then forward the documents to them privately.  Most businesses, especially home-based businesses, do not want process servers showing up at the front door.

For more information about Washington Registered Agent Services from Compass Legal Services, P.S. please contact our office at 360.471.3300

We provide renewal services for all of our business clients, regardless of their business structure.  Not all businesses will need to regularly renew their business license at all, but business licenses that include endorsements and specialty licenses typically require an annual renewal.

Washington Corporations and LLC’s are required to file an Annual Report each year in the anniversary month of their incorporation or formation.  Additionally, Corporations are required to hold an annual meeting of the shareholders and of the board of directors. These meetings must be memorialized. Though LLCs are not required by law to have annual meetings or to memorialize such a meeting, it is strongly advised to do so to strengthen the legal protections afforded by the LLC structure.

At Compass Legal Services, our staff maintains a detailed calendar of the deadlines and requirements for each of our clients to ensure renewals, reporting and documenting is never missed.  If you are interested in the added peace of mind that comes from having your attorney’s office manage these renewals for you, please contact our office at 360.471.3300.

Resources for Starting a Business in Washington State

Get Help Starting A Washington State Business:  Incorporation or Forming an LLC; Get a Washington Business License; or Registered Agent Services.

If you need help starting a business in Washington State, Incorporating Business or forming an LLC, getting a Washington State Business License or managing your annual business licensing renewal and Annual Report, we invite you to call our office at 360.471.3300 to schedule a legal consultation.

Starting a Business in Washington State? Check out our Business Blogs