About business regulations

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

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

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 tax certificate 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 three types of licenses required for people in the business:

  • Entertainer license (required for people in the business)
  • Manager license (required for people in the business)
  • Premise license (required by the business for the building)

To obtain an adult entertainment regulatory license, you need the following:

1. A valid Seattle Business License Tax Certificate for entertainer and premise licenses only. To obtain, renew or make payments online related to the business license, please visit FileLocal: https://www.filelocal-wa.gov/. For information on how to renew a business license and file related tax forms, please visit the Business License Tax webpage. Payments can also be mailed to PO Box 94689, Seattle, WA, 98124-4689. Please include the customer number on the submission. New business licenses must be obtained at least three days before obtaining your adult entertainment regulatory license.

2. A completed fingerprint card if you are a new applicant for entertainer and manager licenses only. Applicants who have previously submitted fingerprint cards do not need to resubmit a new one. The following local businesses offer fingerprinting services. Please contact the law enforcement agencies and businesses for cost information and to learn whether an appointment is necessary.

Law Enforcement Agencies:
Seattle Police Department (Cash or Check only)
King County Sheriff’s Office

Alliance 2020 (Monday-Friday)
2033 6th Ave, Ste 901, Seattle
(206) 482-8898
8 a.m. – noon, 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.

304 Main Ave. S., Suite 101, Renton
(425) 275-8065, ext. 1
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Bellevue Fingerprinting Service
11900 NE 1st St., Ridgewood Corp. Building G, Bellevue
(425) 603-1033
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

3. Make an appointment with the City of Seattle’s Consumer Protection Division customer service by emailing consumerprotection@seattle.gov or call (206) 386-1267 during business hours. Please include your business license number with your appointment request. We are located on the 4th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Ave. Service is available by appointment only, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, 8:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. If you prefer to receive services in a language other than English for free, please let us know at the time of making your appointment.

4. Bring a completed regulatory license application (or complete one at the time of the appointment.)

  1. Entertainer/Manager License Application
  2. Premise Application and Premise Supplemental Application Questions

5. Bring a government-issued photo ID.

6. Bring payment for fees.

License type 2022 Cost Expires Half-year Cost (Jul -Dec)
Entertainers $170 Dec. 31, 2022 $85
Managers $216 Dec. 31, 2022 $108
Premises $905 Dec. 31, 2022 N/A
Fingerprint - New Applicant $58 N/A N/A
Background Check - Renewal Applicant $11 N/A N/A

7. Proof of completion of the Washington state “Know Your Rights” training for entertainers only.

Requests for copies of an adult entertainer (AE) and manager regulatory license may be sent to consumerprotection@seattle.gov.

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.

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

See Tip 5501, Seattle Marijuana Business Licensing Information.

License typeCost per locationExpires onHalf-year license
Business located in Seattle $3,500 June 30 No
Business located outside Seattle but doing business
in city limits
$2,000 June 30 No

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

As of September 15, 2021, food delivery platforms (UberEATS, Postmates, Door Dash, et al) must obtain written agreements with each restaurant prior to offering pick up or delivery services from those restaurants. These agreements must authorize the food delivery platform to take orders and offer delivery or pick-up of the food and/or beverages prepared by the restaurant.

Terminating an agreement

Restaurants can terminate an agreement with a food delivery platform by written request. Food delivery platforms have 72 hours upon receipt of termination request to remove the restaurant from the platform.

Filing a Complaint

If you are a restaurant owner, and a food delivery platform is offering pick up or delivery at your restaurant without an agreement, follow the instructions below to submit a complaint:

  1. Access the Request a City Service page.
  2. Use the drop-down menu or scroll down to select "Business Related Complaint."
  3. Enter the address the complaint/feedback is about, then click "Next Step."
  4. Select "restaurant food delivery agreements" in the complaint description list. Enter details about the complaint in the field "Briefly describe the incident."
  5. Enter your contact information, then click "Next Step."
  6. If applicable, enter additional comments and/or add attachments. Click "Next Step."
  7. Review the information you entered, then click "Submit."  

Read Ordinance 126367

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.

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.

It is unlawful for any person to own, operate, or maintain a public garage or parking lot without first having obtained a license to do so. To legally operate a parking garage or a parking lot in Seattle, an applicant must obtain both a Seattle business license tax certificate and a regulatory parking garage license.

Parking Garage License Cost

A public garage annual license costs $10.25 per 1000 square feet or $1.5375 per stall.

The parking garage license expires March 31 each year and shall be renewed annually. For a parking garage that opens October 1 or thereafter a half-year fee will be charged.

Business license branch location: $10 per each additional location.

Parking Garage/Lot Signage Requirements

All parking garages and parking lots must have all required signs posted as prescribed by the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) section 6.48.040 and any other information pertinent to the operation of the public garage or parking lot as specified by administrative regulations promulgated by the Director of Finance and Administrative Services.

Submit a Parking Garage/Parking Lot License Application

To apply for a regulatory parking garage license, fill out the parking garage license application. Mail the completed parking garage license application and documents to:

Consumer Protection
ATTN: Parking Garage License
P.O. Box 34214
Seattle, WA 98124-4214

Please do not send in license payment with your license application. Once your application is complete and approved by the City of Seattle, you will receive an invoice for the regulatory license fee. Payment received prior to receiving an invoice will be returned to the parking garage company.

If you have any questions regarding license application, please email consumerprotection@seattle.gov or call (206) 386-1267.

Businesses and non-profits that collect, haul, or process recyclable material and are located or operating in the City of Seattle must get a regulatory license called a Recycler License.

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

The Recycler License will be issued after you submit your Annual Recycling and Reuse Report to Seattle Public Utilities, due by March 31. For instructions on reporting your recycling activities, see the Annual Recycling and Reuse Report and Recycler License webpage.  

Failure to submit a complete and accurate Annual Recycling and Reuse Report and a Recycler License Application/Renewal by March 31 may result in fines and statutory fees of $500 or more. For legal details about recycling collectors and recycling processors license requirements, see Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 6.250.     

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 14-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 need a regulatory license. If you sell used goods, please contact us for license requirements.

Used goods license typeCostExpires onHalf-year license
Dealers $208 per year March 31 Yes
Pawnshops $208 per year March 31 Yes

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 6.288 for legal details about business license requirements for used goods dealers and pawnshops.

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.