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
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.
Filing Fee: $180 mail or $200 online
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.
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.
In 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 this savvy Operating Agreement Tool which can be fully customized to fit your specific circumstances.
This 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.
You’ve got some kind of plan, right? Or are you completely winging it? If so, that’s okay, it’s normal, it’s also a contributing factor to why so many startups fail inside the first year or two. But the moment you bump shoulders with a serious operation, they’ll show you a streamlined presentation-ready plan that helps them get from goal to goal.
Just take the plan you have, and dig in. Get real with the core fundamentals – marketing, competition, pitch, forecasts, budgeting, etc. If you’d like some help, check out these resources below.
QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING
Now that all the paperwork is done, it’s time to build the initial digital foundation of your LLC. No 21st century business can survive without an online presence for a variety of inescapable reasons. And no one’s saying it has to cost a mountain of time or cash, but there needs to be at least a basic-responsive store/site in place.
Business website builders like Wix, SquareSpace, and Weebly have taken the process to a whole new level. If you’re interested, check out our reviews and grab a free trial to the one that catches your eye. These three are a few of our favorite resources on building a business website.
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.