Ten Step Guide to Starting a Business

  1. Develop a Business Plan:

    A business plan is the first step to starting a successful business. This plan will help you evaluate your idea, estimate costs and determine the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal.  
  2. Determine Your Business Structure:

    It is important to determine the structure of your business for operating and business reporting purposes. Will you operate your business as a sole proprietor, partnership (2 or more owners), LLC, or corporation (1 or more stockholders/officers)? Determining this will clarify what formational documents are required by the State.  
  3. Location, Location, Location:

    Conduct research and find the best location for your business. Not all spaces are suitable for certain types of business uses. City zoning exists to protect you and your neighbors from incompatible uses.
  4. Register a Fictitious Name:

    If you create a name for your business that is different than your own legal name, you need to register the business name with WA State Department of Licensing at http://bls.dor.wa.gov/file.aspx and get your UBI number. This step needs to be completed before obtaining a Business License from the City of Bremerton. 
  5. Tax Reporting:

    All businesses are required to file both state and federal tax returns. Contact the state Washington State Department of Revenue and the federal Internal Revenue Service to learn more about specific requirements. Will you sell a product? The Department of Revenue can assist you in determining whether you need a Re-Seller’s Permit. You may also be required to collect sales tax. To do so, the Department of Revenue will need to issue you a resale number in order to report that sales tax. Whether you are self-employed or an employer with one or more employees, you must also pay Social Security taxes.
  6. Apply for a City of Bremerton Business License:

    The basic business license fee is $75 per year for most commercial businesses located in Bremerton. Home-based businesses are also required to apply for a business license and require zoning approval. In addition, businesses that are located outside of Bremerton, but doing business in Bremerton (such as vendors, consultants and contractors) are required to apply and pay for a Bremerton business license. Visit the Business & Landlord License Center to learn more. You must obtain all necessary approvals &/or permits before the City issues your new Business License. These are based on the kind of business you are going to operate and may include those from Land Use Planning/Zoning, Building & Safety, Environmental Health, Fire, and Police (if fingerprinting is required).
  7. Other Bremerton Permits & Licenses:

    They include the following: Solicitor/Mobile Vendor Permit if you are interested in engaging in business activities from house to house, place to place, along the streets within the City or any other type of mobile vending services/activities; Sign Permit from the Community Development Department, if your business would like to display a sign that is visible from outside a building; and Taxi Driver Permits.
  8. Other Agency Permits & Licenses:

    Depending on the type of business, you may be required to obtain permits or licenses from the following county, state or federal agencies. Contact these individual agencies directly if applicable.
    • Liquor or Cannabis (WSLCB) License: No person may directly or indirectly, on any pretense, sell, barter, charge for possession or otherwise dispose of alcoholic beverages as part of a commercial transaction without having obtained the proper license or permit. To learn more about these requirements and apply for a permit, contact Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board.
    • Import/Export Permit: If your business will involve the import or export of products with other countries, you may need to obtain an Import/Export Permit from the United States Customs Service.
    • Restaurants, Food Vendors, Salons and Tattoo Parlors: A health inspection is required for restaurants and food vendors, as well as for salons and tattoo parlors. Contact the Kitsap County Health Department.
    • Retail and Wholesale Business Permits: If your business will involve sales, you will need to obtain a Seller’s Permit from the State Department of Revenue.
    • Child Care Center or Family Child Care Home License: Licensing of all child care centers and family child care homes in Washington is required and can be obtained through the Washington Department of Early Learning. In addition, large family day care homes with 9-14 children must also obtain a business license from the City of Bremerton.
  9. Gaining or Expanding Your Workforce:

    If you hire employees, be sure to register with the Washington Employment Security Department. They will provide you with the necessary forms and answer any questions regarding your responsibilities. As an employer, the State requires you to do the following:
    • State tax and wage report,
    • Withhold State disability insurance,
    • Pay unemployment tax,
    • And, pay for any employment training costs.
    You must also register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in order to receive an Employer Identification Number. The IRS offers many services to new business owners and will provide a package of helpful information explaining the types of forms used and due dates for these forms. As an employer, you are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. You may obtain this insurance through the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (SCIF).
  10. Bremerton Incentives:

    Additionally, Puget Sound Industrial Center – Bremerton (PSIC – Bremerton), Bremerton’s Super Site, offers developers multiple incentives via the Certified Evergreen Building Permit Fee Rebate Program.
    • The PSIC – Bremerton  Evergreen Building Permit Fee Rebate Program supports the City of Bremerton’s goals for sustainable development, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, conservation of natural resources and increased energy efficiency through a financial incentive.
    • Pilot Program: The Evergreen Building Permit Fee Rebate program is a pilot program that is limited to the PSIC Subarea only. The City of Bremerton will assess the effectiveness of this program and, depending on the observed outcomes, may amend the program in the future, including possible expansion to other parts of the city.
    • Through this program, the City is providing an optional financial incentive commensurate with public benefits. New PSIC Evergreen Certified developments may be eligible for a rebate between 75% and 100% in building permit fees only. The criteria and process for receiving a fee rebate are here.