About business regulations

The City of Seattle regulates some business activities. These businesses require:

  • A standard business license.
  • A regulatory endorsement added to the business license.

The application process varies for the different business types requiring a regulatory endorsement. Review the information below for details about license fees and renewal dates. If you need to apply for a business license that requires a regulatory endorsement, please contact us.

Business types we regulate

Adult entertainment businesses need a regulatory license. Adult entertainment businesses provide performances of a sexual nature. There are two different license types required for people in the business: entertainer license and manager license. The business also needs a premises license for the building.

License typeCostExpiresHalf-year license
Entertainer $150 per year Dec. 31 Yes
Manager $152 per year Dec. 31 Yes
Premises $755 per year Dec. 31 Yes

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.270 for legal details about adult entertainment license requirements.

Businesses that monitor alarm systems need a regulatory license. Alarm system monitoring companies that provide the monitoring service pay license fees based on the total number of accounts monitored. See the table below for the fees.

To apply for an alarm system monitoring license, contact the RCCP Alarm Group at FAS_FalseAlarm@seattle.gov. Also see our alarm system monitoring page for additional information.

Alarm system monitoring fees for central stations

Monitored alarm systemsAnnual license feeLicense expiration date
1 to 100 $105 Dec. 31
101 to 200 $209 Dec. 31
201 to 500 $420 Dec. 31
Over 500 $523 Dec. 31

Alarm system monitoring companies that maintain a service contract with a customer and then subcontract with another alarm system monitoring company to provide the actual monitoring service pay fees based on the number and type of systems monitored. Fire alarm system fees are determined by building size.

Alarm system monitoring fees for dealers

Type of systemAnnual license feeLicense
expiration date
Burglary, Property, Panic, Robbery $10 per alarm system Dec. 31
Fire alarm:
1-2 stories and <200,000 sq ft
$76 per alarm system Dec. 31
Fire alarm:
3-4 stories and <200,000 sq ft
$223 per alarm system Dec. 31
Fire alarm:
5+ stories or >200,000 sq ft
$693 per alarm system Dec. 31

False alarm fees

Alarm system monitoring companies must pay a fee each time there is a false alarm. There is no false alarm fee for fire alarms. For more information, see the Seattle police department false alarm program.

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.10 for legal details about alarm system monitoring license requirements.

All-ages dances, which admit youth under 18-years-old, need a regulatory license.

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
All-Ages Dance $120 per year Sept. 30 Yes


You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.295 for legal details about all-ages dances license requirements.

Amusement devices need a regulatory license. Amusement devices include pool tables, shuffleboard tables, jukeboxes, arcade games, pinball machines, kiddie rides and any other entertainment device that the public can pay to use.

Amusement device license typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Non-coin $500 per year Nov. 30 Yes
$0.25 to $0.50 to play $50 per device Nov. 30 Yes
$0.51 to $1.00 to play $100 per device Nov. 30 Yes
$1.01 to $1.50 to play $150 per device Nov. 30 Yes
$1.51 to $2.00 to play $200 per device Nov. 30 Yes
$2.00 or more to play minimum price per play multiplied by the number of devices (max $1,500 per machine) Nov. 30 Yes
Darts, countertop devices $25 per device Nov. 30 Yes
Shuffleboard, pool, billiards $25 per device Nov. 30 Yes
Jukebox or other music device $50 per device Nov. 30 Yes


You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 5.32 for legal details about amusement device license requirements.

Businesses that sell burglar alarm systems need a regulatory license. Additionally, these businesses must register with the Seattle Police Department.

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Burglar alarm dealer $79 per year Dec. 31 Yes


You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.08 for legal details about burglar alarm dealer license requirements.

Horse-drawn carriage businesses need a regulatory license.

Horse-drawn carriage license typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Carriage $60 per year March 31 No
Driver $20 per year March 31 No
Horse $60 per year March 31 No


You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.315 for legal details about horse-drawn carriage license requirements.

City law requires marijuana businesses located in Seattle and those that come into Seattle to engage in marijuana business activities to obtain a Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) license as well as a Seattle marijuana business license and a Seattle business license tax certificate. No marijuana businesses is allowed to operate in Seattle without a marijuana business license.

More information will be added here soon. See Tip 5501, Seattle Marijuana Business Licensing Information.

License typeCost per locationExpires onHalf-year license
Business located in Seattle $1,500 June 30 No
Business located outside Seattle but doing business
in city limits
$750 June 30 No

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 6.500 for legal details about marijuana business license requirements.

Mobile home parks need a regulatory license.

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Mobile home park $55 per year (plus $12.50 per space over 10) July 31 Yes

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 22.904 for legal details about license mobile home park requirements.

Panoram or peepshow businesses need a regulatory license. Panorams and peepshows show live or recorded entertainment to a viewer in a booth or stall.

Panoram license typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Device $85 per year Dec. 31 Yes
Location $85 per year Dec. 31 Yes

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.42 for legal details about panoram license requirements.

Retail stores or businesses that use scanning devices to determine the price of a product by using the universal product codes need a regulatory license. Retailers use the price scanning equipment to determine the sale price for products within the store and ensure the price charged matches the price advertised. For more information, see the Weights and Measures Overview page.

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
3 or fewer devices $158 per year March 31 Yes
4 or more devices $315 per year March 31 Yes


You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 7.04 for legal details about price scanning license requirements.

Public bathhouses and reducing salons need a regulatory license.

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Public bathhouse $340 per year Dec. 31 Yes

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.36 for legal details about public bathhouse license requirements.

Parking lot and parking garage businesses need a regulatory license. You must also charge and collect the Seattle commercial parking tax.

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Public garage or parking lot $6 per 1,000 sq ft, or $0.90 per parking stall March 31 Yes

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.48 for legal details about public parking lot and parking garage license requirements.

Businesses that collect or process material that can be recycled need a regulatory license.

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Collection and processing of recyclables $105 per year March 31 No

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.250 for legal details about recycling collectors and recycling processors license requirements.

Rental housing agencies need a regulatory license.

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Rental housing agency $5,000 surety bond Last day of February No

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.222 for legal details about rental housing agency license requirements.

Residential sellers need a regulatory license. Residential sellers travel from house to house (or door to door) selling goods or services.

Residential sale license typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Agents $53 per year May 31 Yes
1 or more employees $237 per year May 31 Yes

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.260 for legal details about residential sellers license requirements.

Short-term rental operators and platforms must obtain a regulatory license. A short-term rental is a type of lodging where a home, or a part of a home, is rented for a fee for fewer than 30 consecutive nights. Examples of short-term rentals are those rented through platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO. For more information, see the short-term rentals page.

Operator licenses

License typeCostExpiresHalf-year license
Short-term rental operator $75 One year from issue date No
Bed and breakfast operator $75 One year from issue date No

Platform licenses

Licensing fees for short-term rental platforms are quarterly fees based on the total number of nights booked for short-term rental use through the platform. The City will invoice each licensed short-term rental platform on a quarterly schedule for fee remittance.

For legal details about short-term rental license requirements, see Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 6.600.

Taxis, taxi associations, for-hire vehicles and transportation network companies (TNCs) need a regulatory license. Vehicles affiliated with TNCs need a regulatory endorsement. For more information, see the taxis, for-hires and TNCs page.

Taxis and for-hire vehicles

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Taxicab or for-hire $500 per year June 30 Yes
Taxicab association $1,000 per year Dec. 31 No

Transportation network companies

Licensing fees for TNCs and affiliated drivers and vehicles are paid via a 10-cent charge on each TNC ride that originates within the Seattle city limits. The City will invoice each licensed TNC on a quarterly schedule for remittance of the fee.

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.310 for legal details about taxi, for-hire and TNC license requirements.

Towing companies that work within Seattle need a regulatory license. Learn about applying to be a licensed tow company.

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Tow company $525 per year Dec. 31 No

Trade shows need a regulatory license. Trade shows are temporary events such as home shows, street fairs, community festivals, hobby shows and business fairs. To be considered a trade show, the event must

  • Last no more than 14 days.
  • Have at least 25 participants.

The organizer of the show is responsible for obtaining a trade show license and listing all show participants on the license application. Please submit both your completed application and license fee at least one business day before the show opens. There is a 10 percent penalty for submitting the application late.

You may have to pay admission tax if you charge a fee to enter the trade show. For more information, see the admission tax page.

Download the trade show license application.

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Trade show $10 per unlicensed participant Varies No

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.20 for legal details about trade show license requirements.

Pawnshop businesses and scrap-metal businesses need a regulatory license. If you sell used goods, please contact us for license requirements.

Used goods license typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Dealers $137 per year March 31 Yes
Scrap dealers $137 per year March 31 Yes

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.288 for legal details about pawnshop and scrap metal business license requirements.

Weighmasters and weighers need a regulatory license. Weighmasters and weighers use scales to correctly weigh products and commodities. For more information, see the weights and measures overview page.

License typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Weigher None April 30 No
Weighmaster $40 per year April 30 Yes

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 7.04.565 for legal details about weighmaster and weigher license requirements.