DISCLAIMER: This document was written by me, Renee Giugliano. I do not have all the answers! If you have any questions about your business & what is required, PLEASE use the contact info listed below for the organizations that were created to help you.
This is something everyone needs to adhere to who has a “business”. In order to be taken seriously as professionals, we must be responsible and adhere to good business ethics. A business license is only one of the first steps in good business management and professionalism.
Please note that this may not apply to some direct sales businesses, such as Mary Kay, Scentsy, Pampered Chef, etc. Because these types of companies may fall under different categories, they may only be required to have a license at a certain level of income. Please contact your sales directors, higher ups, and/or corporate personnel for info.
But for everyone else, you must have a state & if applicable, a *city license to have a business, whether it is run out of your home, just a website or not. If you are charging for your services, whether you make cakes, hair bows, jewelry, pottery or are a photographer, you must have a state and city business license. You must collect sales tax (as applicable) and remit it back to the state/city as required.
Not sure where to start? Here are few sites with phone numbers, email, etc. help you out:
US Small Business Administration
- website: http://www.sba.gov/
- phone: 1-800-827-5722
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
State of WA Business Licensing Service
- website: http://bls.dor.wa.gov/
- phone: 1-800-451-7985
- email: BLS@dor.wa.gov
City of Oak Harbor Business License Information
- website: http://www.oakharbor.org/page.cfm?pageId=286
- phone: 360-279-4505 (Dina Nichols)
- email: email@example.com
Please remember, that each business is different. You must call to make sure you have all the necessary licenses & permits required for YOUR business. *Each CITY has their own set of rules/regulations for businesses. Please contact your local City Hall and/or Business Administration for exact requirements for YOUR area. For photographers in the city of Oak Harbor, you must have a license if you are within city limits. If you are outside city limits but travel in the city at ANY TIME for business-related purposes, such as taking pictures at a client’s home, a local park or vending at a commercial store/event (including bazaars), you MUST have a city business license as well.
I have helped several people with the process of applying and obtaining their business license. But if I can’t help you, the Washington State Department of Revenue is VERY helpful!
Personally, I would love to network, endorse and potentially work with other businesses on our island. But I cannot do that if you are not a legal business. I just don’t think it’s fair to those who are legal, paying taxes, & obtaining additional licenses/permits as required – whether they have storefronts on a well known street or work from their home (like me).