WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED!
Business Licensing ➝
Food Licensing/Permitting ➝
Manage your Business ➝
Buy Food Supplies ➝
Buy Packaging Supplies ➝
Local Food-Related Networking Groups ➝
Resources for Food Trucks ➝
Helpful Articles ➝
Small Business Resources ➝
GET EDUCATED AND GET FUNDING
The Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC), hosted by Washington State University and the U.S. Small Business Administration, has more than 30 expert business advisors working in communities across Washington state.
SBDC advisors provide one-on-one, confidential, no-cost advising services. They can help with strategy and business planning as well as advice on nuts-and-bolts operations.
Local Seattle non-profit Ventures (formerly Washington C.A.S.H.) provides access to inexpensive business training, capital, coaching, and hands-on learning opportunities for entrepreneurs with limited resources and unlimited potential.↑
WA Secretary of State
While the specific business structure you choose may vary based on a number of factors, about 80% of the food businesses we run across choose the structure of Limited Liability Company (LLC), and about 20% choose to Incorporate. Once you have decided on which structure is the best fit for your business, visit the WA Secretary of State website and register there first.
WA State Business License
All businesses in Washington State need a state business license to operate. Learn more here.
City of Seattle Business License
If you plan to operate in our kitchen or sell or produce food anywhere in the City of Seattle, you also need a city business license.
Get an EIN from the IRS
If you plan to hire employees or open a bank account, you will also need to obtain a free Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. ↑
King County Department of Public Health
Keep your business on the up-and-up by getting properly licensed. If you are planning to retail (as in, sell food directly to consumers), get licensed by the King County Department of Health.
King County Permit Login
If you have already paid for your permit but you either have not received a copy or lost your permit and need a new one, you can obtain a copy online instead of waiting for the health department to send you one. You will need your "PR" number to register for an account. If you don't know your PR number, call King County Environmental Health.
Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA)
If you are planning to wholesale your product (as in, sell to a company who is planning to sell it to consumers), you'll need to become a food processor and obtain approval from the Washington State (WSDA) for proper licensing
Food Handler Permits
Anyone who is handling food will need a food handler permit. Every worker in the kitchen should have one and they can be taken online 24/7.
For Mobile Food Vendors
The City of Seattle publishes some great information for mobile food vendors (for example, food trucks). Read about it here.
MANAGE YOUR BUSINESS
When I Work for Scheduling Employees
While there are a couple of great employee scheduling apps out there, we recommend When I Work because it integrates with the Payroll service that we love and will recommend below. Check out When I Work to schedule employees, track attendance, and collect job applications.
Gusto for Payroll
Gusto is one of the best, modern payroll service available on the market. Gusto makes onboarding new employees and processing payroll easy and we like it. If you decide to sign up, please use our referral link.
QuickBooks for Bookkeeping
Whether you plan to do your own bookkeeping or hire a bookkeeper or accountant, you should consider getting a QuickBooks Online (QBO) account. This is the most commonly used software for small business and all accountants and bookkeepers should be familiar with using it.
Business Insurance from C Don Filer Agency
Business insurance should not be complicated or expensive. 80% of our kitchen members use a local insurance company in Seattle called C Don Filer Agency (Shari Lofquist is our representative). We find that their insurance rates are competitive and affordable! Call Shari at 206-545-4800 and she will have you insured within days.
CONTENT from PNW SOUL PRODUCTIONS
Looking for great content to create a robust online presence? Check out PNW SOUL PRODUCTIONS for quality photography and video! PNW SOUL PRODUCTIONS filmed and edited our Virtual Tour Videos and took photos for our other content needs.
Branding from Hero Creative Media
If you don't have a logo, photos, promotional video, or a website yet, consider getting a quote from local Seattle firm Hero Creative Media.
Great Food Photography
Business Impact NW is a non-profit that specializes in small business loans and education.
If you have time to wait, you can typically get inexpensive printing (business cards, menus, and more) from Vistaprint.
LOCAL NETWORKING GROUPS
Don't go it alone! Check out these awesome local membership groups.
Good Food Forum is an online community that serves the mission of King County’s Local Food Initiative to build a stronger farm/sea-to-plate pipeline by connecting stakeholders across our regional food system in order to build a more sustainable, resilient, and just local food economy.
This is a free, business-to-business resource to facilitate new market opportunities, match resources, and share events, knowledge, and best practices between farmers, fishers, food manufacturers, restaurants, food service institutions, retailers, farmers markets, processors, distributors, food hubs, and food access, food recovery, and business support organizations who operate in or serve people or businesses in King County.
Seattle Restaurant Alliance is an active network of restaurant owners, operators and managers focused on the issues that impact the Seattle restaurant community.
RESOURCES FOR FOOD TRUCKS
Northwest Mobile Kitchens (NMK) custom builds high-quality Food Trucks, Catering Trailers, Promotional, and Mobile Business Vehicles.
If you have anything to do with food trucks in Seattle, this is an essential resource! List your food truck on SeattleFoodTruck.com,where customers can view daily schedules to find and book their favorite trucks.
The Washington State Food Truck Association was officially launched in April of 2015, as a 501c6 non-profit advocacy organization, hoping to help food trucks succeed in this very competitive industry. They aim to serve as a central hub of communication & information, a catering referral & information source and provide local and state-level proactive lobbying and advocacy. ↑
BUY FOOD SUPPLIES
If you're going to be feeding people, you'll need food supplies.
BUY PACKAGING SUPPLIES
Packaging, business cards, etc. - you may need it all.
More knowledge is better.
WA STATE SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES