Start or run your business

Running (or starting) a business in Washington? Here's what you need to do:

Number One If you are starting a new business in Washington:
Submit Washington's Master Business License application.
How to apply: For more information:


Note: some cities and counties require additional licenses. Please contact any city or county you will be performing work in to find out the requirements.
  If you'll be hiring minors: For more information:
Important! Be sure to display the posters required by L&I and other agencies. See "Workplace Posters: Required and Recommended."
Number Two If you have employees:
Cover your employees in case of on-the-job injuries.
How to do it: For more information:
  • Open an industrial insurance (workers’ compensation) account with L&I.
    The information on your Master Application showing that you have employees will be automatically forwarded to L&I when DOL processes your application.
  • File your quarterly report of workers' hours and pay your industrial insurance premiums. You can file by mail or file quarterly reports online.
Important! Be sure to display the required poster "Notice to Employees — If A Job Injury Occurs." (99 KB PDF)
Provide a safe workplace for your employees.
How to get started: For more information:
Important! Be sure to display the required poster: "Job Safety and Health Protection." (461 KB PDF / 1.4 min)
Ensure the wage, hour and other working condition rights of your workers.
What you need to do: For more information:
Important! Be sure to display the required poster "Your Rights as a Worker in Washington State" (119 KB PDF)
Small business owners: Need help learning how to meet L&I's requirements?
Number Three If you are in the construction trades:
Get registered, licensed or certified by L&I.
Electricians, plumbers and construction contractors: For more information:
  • Go to the Licenses & permits section of this website to find out how to get registered, licensed or certified by L&I.
Get help downloading files. (en español)

Other state and federal agency requirements

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