Starting a Business? Start Here

Starting a new business is exciting yet can be challenging, but we’re here to make it easy. The City of Vancouver offers an array of services to smooth the way for you. As with any big life move you should seek legal and financial assistance to assure that you think through all of the risks and challenges. Once you’re ready to move forward there are a few basic items of which you need to be aware. 

  1. You will need to register with the state of Washington. Department of Revenue Washington State has a great website that provides a step by step guide to assist you in deciding what types of licenses and registrations may be required. For information on additional occupation-specific licenses and certifications required by the State of Washington, please visit the Department of Licensing.
     
  2. The City of Vancouver requires a business license for operating within the city limits. Our application process is quick and easy, visit our Business and Special License web page for information or call (360) 487-8410 ext. 3.
     
  3. Before you sign a lease contact our Business Assistance Coordinator, Rebecca Kennedy or at (360) 487-7896 to schedule a Pre-lease walk-through at your potential business location with City staff to help make sure it’s a good fit for you with no costly surprise.
     
  4. If you plan to operate a small business out of your home, contact our planning staff at (360) 487-7803 or review the City’s Home Occupation ordinance to determine if your business meets the criteria.
     
  5. If you plan to operate a food or beverage business, please contact the Clark County Public Health Food Safety division and the Washington State Liquor Control Board for information on additional requirements and approvals.

There are a number of local entities that can assist you with all facets of your business. Visit the Vancouver Business Resource.org site for help with starting, maintaining, and expanding your business. This site also offers an assortment of resources and mentors to help you along the way.

The City of Vancouver supports and facilitates creation and expansion of all businesses – large or small. If you have any questions, contact the Business Assistance Coordinator, Rebecca Kennedy or at (360) 487-7896.