Step 1) Verify & Secure Your Brand Name

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in WA, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a free Business Entity Search through the state, and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your LLC name should contain the words ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Company’. Abbreviations for these words like ‘L.C.’ or ‘L.L.C.’ are also acceptable. If needed, you can file a LLC Name Reservation form with the Sec. of State that’s good for 180 days.

Filing Fee: $30

Step 2) Appoint A Registered Agent

Choose a Registered Agent

Your WA Registered Agent is a sort of legal representative of your brand, but not in a lawyer or attorney-sense. It’s their job to officially receive/process important business documents like state filings, legal notices, tax forms, and so forth. This is why they have to be either a WA resident individual or a registered business entity and be reliable during all regular business days/hours.

That said, you can hire 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a registered agent free of charge when you start an LLC with a service like IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.

Step 3) File Certificate Of Formation

Register an LLCDownload the Certificate of Formation form and file it with the Sec. of State through mail or the Online Application. It’s a declarative statement for the public records that includes:

  • Name and address of the LLC;
  • Name, address and signature of the LLC’s Registered Agent;
  • LLC’s effectivity date of formation;
  • Indication whether the LLC will be managed by a member or a separate manager.

Filing Fee: $180 mail or $200 online

Step 4) Request An EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLC

What’s an EIN, or Employer Identification Number? It’s almost exactly like a social security number but for businesses instead of flesh and blood individuals. You’ll need it to process taxes, set up business bank accounts, to legally hire employees and more. But don’t worry, it’s as easy to get one.

To get your free EIN, you can print out and mail in This IRS Form or apply online using the IRS Website.

Step 5) Setup A Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank Account

First and foremost, make sure that your LLC’s bank accounts aren’t mingled with any others of any kind. It’s a huge mistake you can avoid with ease, okay? Secondly, don’t just assume where you bank personally is the best choice. Is it convenient? Sure, but there are tons of places to build your brand’s financial foundation and many of them are likely offering much better deals and incentives.

To learn about some of these perks from the mainstream perspective browse this free Checking Account Guide.

Step 6) Draft An Operating Agreement

Create an Operating AgreementIn Washington, an Operating Agreement serves as the internal rule book of business operations that trumps the default state rules that take over if there isn’t one in place. It also defines internal agreements between its members in terms of financial/management duties and responsibilities. Very important! Even if you’re a solopreneur or two-man-band.

You can create your LLC’s document now with the help of an online Operating Agreement Template which can be fully customized to fit your specific circumstances.

Step 7) Handle Business Taxes & Licensing

Small Business TaxesThis is the step where we tell you that you should ideally work with a tax attorney/accountant or do detailed research yourself so that there’s no mistakes and your LLC is 100% compliant in terms of taxes, licensing, and any needed permits depending on the nature of your business.

If you’re doing this solo, bookmark the Seattle district office of the Small Business Administration and the state’s Small Biz Development Center because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. If you need additional help, there’s a Business License Service we recommend. They determine everything required on Federal, State, County and Municipal levels, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.

Need Help Forming Your LLC?

If you’d like help forming an LLC, here are two great options:

IncFile ($49 + state fees) is ideal if you’re on a budget but refuse to sacrifice quality. However if you’d like to have access to an attorney past LLC formation, Rocket Lawyer ($99 + state fees) is the best option.

Visit IncFile Or Visit Rocket Lawyer

Note that this article on how to form an LLC in Washington isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form an LLC in Washington or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.