Step 2 - License/Registration


Now that you’ve thought about your business plan, it’s time to license your business and register as a construction contractor.
Answer the questions below, then follow L & I’s step-by-step guide to complete both licensing and registration.

Do you need to be licensed with the City of Kennewick?

If your business is located within city limits OR you are conducting business activities in Kennewick: 

You will need to be licensed with the City of Kennewick as well as the state.

City of Kennewick Licensing
The City of Kennewick partners with the State of Washington Business License Service’s (BLS) combined licensing program. This saves time by combining renewals and applications into one process!
*If you open another location or work outside the City of Kennewick, you may need a business license for that city too. The state BLS processes business license applications for many cities, including Richland and Pasco. If you don’t see yours listed, contact that city directly.

Will you operate your business out of your home or commercial location?

If you will operate a Home-Based business: Make sure you meet the conditions for operation. Review Kennewick’s Home Based Business to learn about operating out of your home in Kennewick.

If you will operate at a Commercial location: Make sure your business activities are allowed at that location. View Kennewick’s Commercial Zoning page to check the zoning and permitted uses of your desired location.

Will you be a general or specialty contractor?

*You must register if you do, offer to do, or submit a bid for someone else for these types of work: construct, remodel, alter or repair; develop residential property; “flip” homes; move, wreck or demolish; or related work, such as, painting or floor coverings.

As a general construction contractor: You can perform all trades that don’t require additional certification (electrical or plumbing) and can also subcontract work.

As a specialty construction contractor: You can only perform one building trade or craft in which you are registered and can only subcontract to others if your specialty job makes it necessary, such as, a plumber re-installs a toilet after you tile the bathroom. View the contractor specialty list to learn about the specialty contractor classifications for the purpose of contractor registration.

Electrical and Plumbing Specialties
Electrical and plumbing are not specialties of a construction contractor. They are their own trades with their own certification and license requirements. Learn more about becoming an Electrical Contractor or getting your Plumbing Certification on L & I’s website.

Did you know you have to be bonded and insured to complete your contractor registration?

The bond amount is different depending on your registration type: The bond amount is $6,000 for a specialty contractor and $12,000 for a general contractor. Visit L & I’s Information You Should Know to learn more about contractor surety bonds and alternatives to a bond.

Get proof of insurance from your insurance agent: You will need the $50,000 property damage policy and a $200,000 public liability policy OR $250,000 combined single limit policy.

Understand your costs before you dive in.

Estimated Cost
Approval Time
Washington Secretary of State
Register your Business Structure
2-14 business days
Washington Business Licensing Services (BLS)
State Business License
Variable fee2-14 business days
Trade Name
$5 per name
2-14 business days
Kennewick Business License
2-14 business days
Kennewick Employee Fee
$5 per FTE
2-14 business days
Other Jurisdiction Business Licenses
Federal International Revenue Service (IRS)
IRS Employer Identification #
Same day online or up to 5 weeks by mail
Your Insurance Agent
Bond and Liability Insurance
Washington State Labor & Industries (LNI)
New or renewal registration
$113.40 for two years
Same day in person or 2-4 weeks by mail
Certificate of registration reinstatements
Upon request
Duplicate certificate of registration
Upon request
Request for Certified Letter
Upon Request

*Print the Time and Cost table to take with you.

Are you hiring employees?

Be prepared to answer this question when you license and register.  If you note on your business license application that you will be hiring employees, information will be forwarded to applicable state agencies to set up required accounts.  Review the Run Your Business chapter of the WA Small Business Guide to learn about your quarterly filing responsibilities.

Are you registering as a contractor for the first time or renewing/reinstating your contractor license?

If you are registering for the first time: Visit L & I’s website for a step-by-step process for
Registering as a Contractor for the First Time.
If you are renewing/reinstating your contractor license: Visit L & I’s website to Renew Your
Contractor Registration
or to Reinstate Your Contractor License.

These tools are provided for guidance purposes and should not be used as a substitute for codes and regulations. The user is responsible for compliance with all requirements, regardless of whether they are referred to or contained within these documents.