WA State Licensing: Plan your business

Plan your business

Before starting your business, be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What type of business would you like to open?
  • What types of activities will you be performing?
  • When do you plan to start your business?
  • Where will your business be located?
  • What business structure type will you have?
    For more information, see Types of business structures.
  • What do you plan to call your business?
    Make sure that the name you have chosen isn’t already taken. Search in the following locations:
    1. Search business licenses. If your search result is “No matches were found for your search,” try spelling the name differently or leave out abbreviations or punctuation such as Inc, LLC, etc.
      • You can also search this database by mail. The cost is $4 to search up to 3 names. To request a search by mail, send a letter with your return address, a list of the names you want to research, and a check or money order to pay the fee to:
        State of Washington
        Business Licensing Service
        PO Box 9034
        Olympia, WA 98507-9034
    2. Department of Revenue — All trade names may not be included.
    3. Secretary of State Corporations Registration Data Search — Corporation and limited liability company names.
    4. U.S. Patent and Trademark Commission — Search for federally registered names.

Additional resources for planning a business