If you looking into forming your own LLC in Washington state, you came to the right place. We’ve got a free, downloadable “do it yourself” kit you can use. In other words, the price you pay to purchase equals “zero.” That kit provides more information about LLCs and includes a couple of free LLC operating agreements. (We used to sell the kit but since the Covid-19 pandemic have simply given the kit away.).
If you don’t need all those bells and whistles but just need some help getting the proper documents filed, continue reading below (These instructions are up-to-date as of July 27, 2020):
1. Check if the LLC name you want is available
Your first step in setting up an LLC is to check if the name you want to use is even available. To do this, you can use the Washington Secretary of State’s corporations search form at:
By entering the name you want to use in the search form, you’ll be able to see if there’s another business already using the name that you want. You can’t use a name, by the way, that’s the same or deceptively similar to another existing LLC’s name.
2. Download the Limited Liability Company Certificate of Formation form from the Washington Secretary of State’s web site, and then print this form
The URL, or web page address, for this form is as shown below.
Note: You can also work with an online version of this form, which is also available at the Secretary of State’s web site at:
The online form looks and works in basically the same way as the paper form. All online applications are treated in an expedited fashion and are charged an additional $20 fee (total fees $200).
3. Indicate if you want regular or expedited service
After you download and print the LLC application form, you’re ready to fill the form out.
If you are electing to file your application with the paper form, you can see boxes at the top to check if you want your filing to be processed with normal service at $180 or expedited service for an additional $50, totaling $230. Expedited service requests sent by mail will be processed within 2 working days. (Write “expedite” in bold letters on the outside of the envelope.) Requests for expedited service hand delivered to the Corporations Division office will be processed the same day.
4. Identify the name you want to use for your new LLC
Enter your business or investment name into box labeled, “Name of Limited Liability Company.” As this box’s label indicates, the name must include one of the phrases or acronyms, “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Liability Co.,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.” For example, all of the following names should be acceptable:
- Evergreen Explosives Limited Liability Company
- Evergreen Explosives Limited Liability Co.
- Evergreen Explosives LLC
- Evergreen Explosives L.L.C.
5. Give the LLC’s street address
In the “Address of the Principal Place of Business” box, enter the street address and, if appropriate, the mailing address of the LLC.
6. Specify the effective formation date
Use the “Effective Date of Formation” box to specify whether the LLC should be formed on some future date or when the Secretary of State files the LLC application. Usually, you just want to form the LLC as soon as possible and so mark the “Upon Filing by the Secretary of State” box.
7. Define the desired tenure
Tell the state if you want your new LLC to be an ongoing entity (“Perpetual existence”) or if you plan for it to exist for only a limited time (“Specific term of existence”).
8. Indicate how your LLC will be managed
LLCs can be managed either by all of their owners, called “members.” Or they can be managed by only one or some of their members, who are in this case called managers or manager-members. To indicate how your LLC will be managed, mark the appropriate checkbox in box labeled “The Limited Liability Company is Managed By.”
Note: If you have multiple members or managers, ideally you’ll want to have an attorney draft an operating agreement. This operating agreement should describe who the manager is or who the managers are if you’re setting up a manager-managed LLC. If you’re a single-member LLC, you should probably also have an operating agreement because having an operating agreement and honoring its terms improves your liability protection. This kit provides excellent example operating agreements for you to consider when drafting your own.
9. Identify the registered agent
Washington State wants to know the name and contact information for a real person within the state of Washington that the state can contact if it has questions or concerns about an LLC’s operation. You can pay someone else to be this registered agent, but it’s really easiest and cheapest to just be your own registered agent.
Accordingly, enter your name and address information into boxes labeled “Name and Address of Washington State Registered Agent.” Then sign on the line labeled “Signature of Registered Agent.”
Note: If you are mailing your application, your confirmation or any questions regarding your application will be sent to your registered agent. If you are filing online, questions and confirmation will be directed to the “contact person.”
10. Identify the people forming the LLC
Washington State also wants to know the names and contact information for the person or people organizing the LLC. To provide this information, enter the names and addresses of the organizer or organizers into the boxes labeled, “Names Address, and Signature of Each Executor.”
If you’d like to double-check your work, our downloadable kit will show an example, completed Washington State LLC application.
11. Mail in the LLC application
After you complete the Limited Liability Company Certificate of Formation, mail the completed form and a check for $180 (or $230, if you have chosen an expedited delivery) to:
Secretary of State
801 Capitol Way S
PO Box 40234
Olympia WA 98504-0234
Processing lead times vary, but in general, it takes several weeks to get your LLC certificate back from the Secretary of State’s office.