Permits and Licenses Required to Start a Business in Everett, Washington

Starting a business in Everett, Washington, requires understanding and complying with various local regulations. This comprehensive guide provides business persons and emerging entrepreneurs with detailed information about the necessary permits, licenses, and approvals required by Everett’s statutory authorities, ensuring a smooth and legal business launch.

Key Permits and Licenses for Businesses in Everett

Below is a detailed breakdown of the essential permits and licenses you will need to start a business in Everett:

1. Business License

All businesses operating within Everett must obtain a Business License from the City of Everett’s Licensing Division. This license is mandatory and must be renewed annually. The application process involves providing detailed information about your business and paying the applicable fee.

2. State Business Registration

Businesses must register with the Washington Secretary of State. This registration is necessary for legal recognition of your business and involves providing detailed information and paying the applicable fee.

3. Sales Tax Permit

Businesses that sell goods or taxable services need to obtain a Sales Tax Permit from the Washington State Department of Revenue. This permit allows businesses to collect sales tax on taxable sales, which must be remitted to the state.

4. Zoning Compliance

Before starting your business, you must ensure that your business location complies with local zoning laws. The City of Everett’s Planning Division issues zoning compliance permits to confirm that your business activities are permitted in the chosen area.

5. Building Permits

If your business involves new construction or significant renovations, you will need to obtain building permits from the Everett Building Division. These permits ensure that all construction meets safety standards and building codes.

6. Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy is required for any business operating out of a commercial space. Issued by the Building Division, this certificate confirms that your premises meet all zoning and building codes and are safe for business activities.

7. Health Permits

Businesses involved in food preparation, handling, or sales must obtain health permits from the Snohomish Health District. These permits ensure that your business complies with health and safety regulations.

8. Sign Permits

If you plan to install signage for your business, a Sign Permit is required from the Everett Planning Division. This permit ensures that all signs meet local regulations regarding size, placement, and safety.

9. Fire Department Approval

Businesses that present fire risks, such as restaurants or facilities handling flammable materials, must pass an inspection and obtain approval from the Everett Fire Department.

10. Environmental Permits

Depending on your business activities, you may need environmental permits from the Washington State Department of Ecology to ensure compliance with state environmental regulations.

11. Special Licenses

Certain businesses, such as those selling alcohol or providing professional services like healthcare, require additional licenses from relevant Washington state agencies. These licenses ensure compliance with specific industry standards.

Steps to Obtain Business Permits and Licenses in Everett

1. Identify Required Permits: Determine which permits and licenses are necessary for your business type by consulting with the City of Everett and relevant state agencies.

2. Complete Applications: Fill out and submit all required application forms to the appropriate city or state departments. Ensure all forms are accurately completed to avoid delays.

3. Pay Applicable Fees: Pay all fees associated with your permit and license applications. These fees vary depending on the type of permit or license.

4. Schedule Inspections: Arrange for any necessary inspections with city or county officials to ensure compliance with building, health, and fire safety regulations.

5. Maintain Compliance: Once your permits and licenses are issued, maintain compliance by adhering to local laws and renewing your permits and licenses as required.


Understanding and securing the necessary permits and licenses is crucial for the legal operation and success of your business in Everett, Washington. By following this guide, you can ensure that your business meets all local and state requirements, providing a solid foundation for growth and sustainability. For further assistance, consider consulting with a local business advisor or legal expert specializing in Washington business regulations.

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