Business Licenses and Special Events

Edmonds City Code, Chapter 4.72.020, requires that you obtain your business license before starting business in the City of Edmonds.

In May 2019, the City of Edmonds partnered with the State Business Licensing Service (BLS) to connect Edmonds City business licenses to BLS. If your business paid a license fee to the City of Edmonds in January 2019, your business license is valid through December 2019. In 2020 and after, your Edmonds city license will renew at the same time as other local and state licenses. The renewal cycle may change for certain businesses, however, if you have other renewing state or city licenses supported by BLS.

Beginning May 16, 2019, you may apply for your Edmonds business license via BLS, which issues your state business license. BLS is the “one-stop shop” for business registrations and city licensing in Washington. Benefits include:

  • Intuitive licensing “wizard” for applicants
  • Faster online application and renewal
  • Multiple payment options
  • City limits locator (GIS) to ensure licensing in the appropriate city
  • On-demand license printing
  • No trip to city hall
  • Toll-free customer service 360-705-6741

My DOR is the new online portal for the Business Licensing Service. With My DOR, you can:

  • File a business license application
  • Renew a business license application or endorsement
  • Check on the status of a business account
  • View and pay outstanding licensing fees
  • Update account and business information
  • File an excise tax return
  • Download a reseller permit


Why online?

Applying for your business license with My DOR is the fastest way to get started.

  • Get your license quicker

Applications submitted through My DOR are processed in a few business days, compared to weeks for paper applications

  • Renew with ease

Renew your business license using My DOR

  • File business taxes

File and pay your business taxes with My DOR

  • Get a personalized guide

Our Business License Wizard gives you a customized list of licenses you may need. Use the confirmation number to save time when you apply for your business license.

  • Sign up for My DOR

Go to our website to get started. You’ll need to sign up for a Secure Access Washington user ID, if you don’t have one already.


Edmonds Downtown Business Improvement District

(also known as Edmonds Downtown Alliance or Ed!)

Businesses located within the Edmonds Downtown Business Improvement District, also known as the Edmonds Downtown Alliance, are required to pay a quarterly assessment. If you plan to open a new business within the Edmonds downtown area, please contact the City Clerk's Office or Development Services Department before you apply for your business license to obtain further information or visit the Edmonds Downtown Alliance website.


Business License Fees

New business license for commercial business: $125
New business license for a home occupation business: $100
Non-resident business license (business located out of the city): $  50
Annual renewal of any of the above business licenses: $  50
Non-Profit/Government: Exempt



Additional Information Required for Certain Business Types

After you apply for your business license through BLS, the City may require additional information to complete the review of your application, depending on your business type.

Commercial Locations:


  • Copy of the Internal Revenue Service documentation granting non-profit status.

Occupation Specific

1. Acupuncture:  Copy of the Washington State Acupuncturist License.
2. Adult Family Home: Copy of the Washington State Adult Family Home License.
3. Child Day Care: Copy of the Washington State Child Day Care License.
4. Massage Therapist: Copy of the Washington State Massage Practitioner License.

Washington State Tax ID Number (UBI NUMBER) Exemption

1. Copy of the Washington State Department of Revenue documentation granting exemption status.

Business License Information

Home Occupations


A home occupation is an economic enterprise operated within a residence, or building(s) accessory to the residence, incidental and secondary to the residential use, including the use of the residence as a business address in the phone directory or as a post office mailing address. The purpose in regulating home occupations is to maintain a residential atmosphere, guaranteeing neighboring residents freedom from excessive noise, traffic, nuisance, fire hazards, and other potential negative impacts. The City’s home occupation regulations are provided within Edmonds Community Development Code (ECDC) Chapter 20.20.

The City has adopted several criteria to determine appropriate home occupations. If your home occupation proposal meets criteria 1 through 8 below, the Planning Division can administratively review your proposal with your business license application, which is available from the City Clerk’s Office. Please be advised that no visits are allowed by customers, clients, or other persons purchasing goods or services from the home occupation unless a Conditional Use Permit is first obtained.

If your proposal does not meet these criteria, then you may be able to obtain approval for your home occupation through the Conditional Use Permit process, which is discussed on the following page.

Please note that your proposal may also require permits or licenses from other agencies such as Snohomish County or the State of Washington.



A home occupation is a permitted use in residential zones if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The home occupation is carried on exclusively by a family member residing in the dwelling unit; and
  2. Is conducted entirely within the structures on the site, without any significant outdoor activity; and
  3. Uses no heavy equipment, power tools or power sources not common to a residence; and
  4. Has no pickup or delivery by business related commercial vehicles which exceed 20,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (except the US Mail and standard UPS/FedEX sized delivery trucks); and
  5. Creates no noise, dust, glare, vibration, odor, smoke, or other impact adverse to a residential area beyond that normally associated with residential use; and
  6. Does not include any employees outside of the family members residing at the residence, including but not limited to persons working at or visiting the subject property; and
  7. Complies with all performance criteria established pursuant to ECDC section 17.60.010; and
  8. Does not park or store more than one commercial vehicle or any commercial vehicle over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight per dwelling unit pursuant to ECDC 17.50.100.

Conditional Use


A home occupation which does not meet one or more of the criteria for administrative review (as listed above) may apply for a "Type II" Conditional Use Permit if the home occupation meets the criteria of ECDC 20.05 as well as proving that it will not harm the character of the surrounding neighborhood as evidenced by meeting all of the following criteria:

  1. The temporary and permanent keeping of animals associated with the home occupation must comply with all provisions of Chapter 5.05 (Animal Control) of the City Code and ECDC Title 16; and
  2. The home occupation will not include storage, display of goods, building materials and/or the operation of building machinery, commercial vehicles or other tools, unless it meets all of the following criteria: (a) Is wholly enclosed within a structure or building; (b) Does not emit noise, odor or heat; and (c) Does not create glare or emit light from the site in violation of the City's performance criteria; and
  3. Does not create a condition which injures or endangers the comfort, or pose health or safety threats, of persons on abutting properties or streets; and
  4. Does not include visits to the site from more than one non-resident employee per day; and
  5. Does not include visits from customers between the hours of 9:00 PM and 8:00 AM; and
  6. If visits to the site are made by either an off-site employee or customer, on-site parking shall be provided for at least three (3) vehicles; and
  7. No parking or storage is provided for more than one commercial vehicle or any commercial vehicle over 10,000 pounds licensed gross vehicle weight per dwelling unit pursuant to ECDC 17.50.100.

Please also review the Conditional Use Permit Handout and contact the Planning Division at 425.771.0220 for required application materials and applicable fees.

Artist Studios and Urban Farming


Urban farming is defined as the display or sale of edible farm products or fresh produce grown on-site.

An artist studio is defined as the display or sale of hand-made products (artwork) that are produced on-site. Items or artwork created off site are not included in this definition.

Home occupations for urban farming and artist studios also require Conditional Use Permit approval, subject to specific regulations provided in ECDC 20.20. Please contact the Planning Division at 425.771.0220 to discuss the specific requirements related to these types of home occupations.

Building Division

BUILDING DIVISION - 425-771-0220

Scaled Floor Plan 

All business license applications must include a scaled floor plan (preferred scale 1/4" - 1') of the proposed business space.  Each room or space shall be designated for the proposed use; for example: office, reception, retail, dining, storage, hallway, bathroom, etc.  Note the square footage of each room or space and the total square footage of leased space.  Include a parking plan showing the number of existing on-site parking spaces provided for customer and employee use, including the location of accessible parking spaces.  Special attention must be given to accessible building components such as:  ramps to gain building entry, entry door and room door widths, threshold heights, bathroom components such as toilet space, grab bars, sink height and faucet access.

Change of Business Use

Any change in the business “use” in an existing commercial building or a portion thereof, requires at a minimum, a Change of Use Permit; for example, an office to retail sales, a clock repair shop to a coffee shop, an auto repair shop to a deli, etc.  No Change of Use Permit is required when a business changes from an office to an office, retail sales to retail sales, a clock repair shop to a computer repair shop, etc.  If you are unsure if a Change of Use Permit is required for your business, please contact the Building Division at (425) 771-0220.  Businesses locating in non-commercial buildings (residential or multifamily) must schedule a meeting with Building Division staff to determine code requirements.  Please note:  even if the building is located in a commercial zone, but was originally constructed as a single family residence or apartment building, in order to locate a business within such a building a meeting with City staff is required.  At any time if remodeling is proposed, a building permit is required.


If remodeling or alterations are proposed, a Tenant Improvement building permit is required (fees are based on a licensed contractor’s bid for the work).  Tenant improvement means the completion, remodel or alteration of spaces within an existing commercial building.  Please note, installing plumbing fixtures, mechanical duct work, adding or removing bearing or non-bearing walls, installing windows, skylights or doors all require a building permit and City approval before work can start.  Obtain a Tenant Improvement handout for specific permit submittal requirements.

Miscellaneous Permits

Other permits may also be required for the following:  sign(s), re-roof, fence, mechanical, plumbing, fire alarm, fire sprinkler, etc.

Authorized Agent for Obtaining a Permit

When a building permit is required only the owner of the building or a State licensed contractor may sign for the permit and perform any permitted work.  A lessee or tenant, under State law, may not obtain a permit or perform work on a building that they do not own—regardless of lease contract language.  Failure to obtain the required permit shall result in a minimum of double permit fees being assessed or $205.00, whichever is greater.

Note: A Change of Use Permit, Tenant Improvement Permit or issuance of the City Business License is the verification that the proposed business space meets the minimum building code requirements for the intended use. Any alteration to a building with a TOTAL square footage that exceeds 4,000 sq ft, must have plans stamped by a licensed architect/engineer in the State of Washington.

PUBLIC HANDOUTS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF CITY HALL OR CALL THE BUILDING DIVISION AT (425) 771-0220.  The purpose of this handout is to provide general information.  All applicants are advised to meet with City staff for specific information and requirements.

Fire Prevention Services


General Requirements for Businesses

Fire Extinguisher: Every occupancy is required to have access to a minimum of one fire extinguisher. They shall be located so that one is within 30 feet travel distance from any point in a building. The minimum size is 2A:10B:C. Larger fire extinguishers may be required in hazardous areas such as kitchens, gas stations, repair garages, manufacturing areas, etc. All fire extinguishers require annual service in order to ensure proper operation when required.

Extension Cords: Extension cords are permitted only with portable appliances or fixtures while in IMMEDIATE use. Power taps (strip plugs with integral circuit breakers) can be used for small appliances at all times. Power taps must be plugged directly into a wall outlet.

Waste Containers: Provide metal waste containers instead of plastic receptacles in lunchrooms and break rooms. Provide at least one metal container with a tight fitting lid for the safe disposal of cigarette ends and ashes, where smoking is permitted.

Address: Post and maintain the building address in a contrasting color to the building and in a conspicuous place near the principal entrance, visible from the street. Numbers shall be easily legible and no less than six inches high.

Fire Permits: Fire permits are required for the following occupancies: public assembly, dry cleaning plants, repair garages, wrecking yards, etc. Fire permits are required for certain potential hazardous processes: flammable and combustible liquids, spraying operations, compressed gasses, hazardous chemicals and similar storage or handling.

During the business license review process, Fire Prevention Services will inspect your business and advise you of any additional requirements. Fire prevention inspections will be conducted annually for all commercial and multifamily residential occupancies. Some home businesses may require annual inspections. If you have questions about the above requirements or wish more information regarding Fire Code regulations, please contact the Fire Inspector at 425-775-7720.

Planning Division

PLANNING DIVISION - 425-771-0220

It is highly advisable to contact a Planner to discuss the following issues in detail prior to applying for permits:


Prior to applying for a City of Edmonds Business License, you should always verify that your business is an allowed use in the zoning district in which it is located, and that the minimum number of parking stalls required by the code is available for your type of business. The City’s zoning code explains the permitted uses for each zone district, described in Edmonds Community Development Code (ECDC) Chapter 16. Please be aware that some proposed uses first require a Conditional Use permit and public hearing. The City’s parking regulations are described in ECDC Chapter 17.50, with parking for downtown businesses described in ECDC 16.43. Note that you may need to provide a floor plan and/or site plan showing the number of existing stalls to determine parking code compliance.

For home occupations proposed in residential zones, please refer to the attached Home Occupation permit handout (#P42). In order to maintain a residential atmosphere, note that no visits to the home by customers or employees are permitted.


Proposals for new structures, additions, remodels, and exterior changes (such as color, landscaping, signs, lighting, street furniture, etc.) must first receive design review approval by either the Architectural Design Board (ADB) or administratively by staff. Please contact a Planner to verify if design review is required for your new business. The City’s Design Review regulations are described in ECDC Chapter 20.10.


Please be aware that any signage you believe will be required to run your business will first require the review and approval of a sign permit (a type of building permit). Your sign permit will need to be applied for, reviewed, approved, and issued before signs can be mounted on the building or placed on-site. The Planning Division will review your sign application for design and bulk standards pursuant to ECDC Chapter 20.60, and some signs are also subject to review by the Architectural Design Board (ADB). Even temporary signs are subject to size and duration of display requirements, per ECDC Chapter 20.60.080. Please contact the Planning Division to discuss the specific sign requirements for your site prior to applying for your sign permit. A Planner can help you determine how large your sign can be for your specific location, and answer your permitting questions for permanent and temporary signs.

Police Department

POLICE DEPARTMENT - 425-771-0200

The Police Department is charged with conducting background investigations of business license applicants. Certain information is required of applicants in order to facilitate this process. Without the information, the investigation cannot be completed and the license will not be issued.

Following is a brief synopsis of information necessary for completion of the investigation, as well as some information regarding additional licensing requirements for certain types of businesses.

Sole Proprietorship: The owner must supply complete identifying data; i.e., last name, first name, middle initial, and birth date (month/day/year).

Partnership: List the names and other requested identifying information of both partners. Again, this information is required in order for the application to be processed.

Corporation: List all corporate officers as requested, and identify each by last name, first name, middle initial and date of birth.

Emergency Notification: Emergency contact persons must be willing to respond to the business at odd hours in case of emergency, and should be owners or management personnel who have access to the business, can shut off alarms, and will know if anything is out of the ordinary. Persons living within close proximity to the business can respond more quickly in case of a burglary, fire, or other problems at the business. They may be asked to open the business to allow officers to search for burglars, shut off an alarm, or inspect for damage. It is important that they be willing and able to address these areas.