Step 1) Pick a Name for your Washington LLC

Choose a Business NameUnder statutory requirements of the state of Washington, a Washington LLC must contain any of the following words or alternatively, any of the abbreviations as enumerated: ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Liability Co.’; or ‘L.L.C.’ or ‘LLC’.

The LLC name should also be distinctly unique or at least does not closely resemble any existing business entity licensed with the Secretary of State. This can be checked using the Washington business name database tool.

Should the name chosen be a valid one, it can be reserved for 180 days while processing for other requirements of the LLC incorporation. A Name Reservation application can be submitted to the Washington Secretary of State including the $30 filing fee.


Step 2) choose a Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentAs an LLC incorporation requirement, you must hire the services of a Washington Registered Agent that meet statutory requirements. The Registered Agent should a professional who resides in Washington or alternatively, a business entity that is registered with the state to conduct business.

A physical street address should be provided by the Washington Registered Agent where all the legal notifications will be sent. The agent must also accept to be the business’ representative to accept service of process in behalf of the company.

A Registered Agent service costs about $160 in a single year. However, if you incorporate an LLC with IncFile, you get free Registered Agent services.


Step 3) File the Certificate of Formation

Register an LLCYou need to file a Certificate of Formation to legally form a Washington LLC. This is filed with the Secretary of State, and the following information should be supplied:

The Certificate of Formation can be submitted through mail with a $180 filing fee or through an online application for a $200 filing fee.


Step 4) Request an ein

Get an EIN for Your LLCDuring the operations of your Washington LLC, a federal Employer Identification Number is an indispensable ID that will be required in almost all kinds of transactions you enter into. From the time you procure licenses and permits, file for tax returns, and even open a business bank account, an EIN will be asked from your business.

A free federal EIN can be easily obtained. You can apply for this ID online through the IRS website.


Step 5) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountThere should be a demarcation between your personal affairs and business dealings, and this should include keeping separate banking accounts for business and for personal finances. A business bank account allows you better management of business finances and expenses as well as easily file tax returns during tax season.

Recommended Resource: For some of the most viable options for business banking account, this resource list should be helpful.


To-Do After Starting a Washington LLC

Once the first five steps above are finished, you are now a legal Washington LLC. The subsequent steps below then are just additional business practices that help manage and operate your business successfully. Although not by any means mandatory, it can significantly contribute to the development of your business.

1) Draft a Solid Business Plan

Write a Business PlanThe process of writing a business plan in itself will already prove helpful in running your business efficiently.

Then, the document per se will be the blueprint of your business’ growth and success, coming up with effective business strategies to implement, devising contingency plans for possible problems, and forecasting business conditions that can affect your enterprise.

A business plan is not mandatory, but it is a vital part to business development. You can start with the link resources below to come up with one.

How to Write a Business Plan


2) Follow Through with Washington Business Tax Obligations

Small Business TaxesIn addition to state requirements, Washington business tax obligations should also be closely monitored to ensure that all deliverables are completed within the given time frame.

Business taxes is one of the state’s income, and it is closely monitored by the IRS. Check the Washington Department of Revenue for the details about paying your Washington business taxes.

Recommended Resource: To help better manage business finances, the small business accounting tool Xero can be used. With this tool, you don’t have to check every single receipt to keep track of expenses. Try Xero’s 30-day for free now!


3) Obtain the Required Washington Business Licenses

Business LicensesThe legal operations of your Washington LLC will not be completed without the requisite business licenses and permits specifically required of your business type. Failure to comply with these statutory requirements may lead to various fines and penalties.

Recommended Resource: As there are a number of business licenses and permits required of your LLC, you might need professional help to gather all these. This resource roundup is a good place to start with that help. Otherwise, this SBA resource roundup is also valuable.


4) Create an LLC Operating Agreement

Create an Operating AgreementIn a Washington LLC, an Operating Agreement serves as the internal rulebook of business operations as well as the internal agreements between its members. An LLC Operating Agreement contains various essential information about how to go about several aspects of running the organization.

From the operational and financial duties and responsibilities of each of the owners to protecting the limited liability of your LLC, there is a necessity to create an Operating Agreement. This Operating Agreement can be edited and customized to fit your LLC’s needs.


5) Make a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteBefore you go into business operations, make sure that you also have a business website. This website represents your business image and helps establish your online presence. With the help of Bluehost, and its one-click installation of WordPress, you can begin making a business website now.

Resource for Getting Started: This step-by-step guide should walk you through the basic steps of website creation.

Note that this is just an informational guide on starting an LLC in Washington. Always seek a business lawyer’s advice with regard to the intricate legal proceedings involved in forming an LLC in Washington. Further, please take note of Annual Report requirements for the continued compliance of your LLC’s operations. Check it here.

Need Help Forming Your LLC?

Have a reliable LLC filing service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom