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Give Your New Business a Good Start

Hundreds of entrepreneurs dream of opening new businesses in Pierce County every year. That’s great! Staff at your city and county agencies can help you realize those dreams.

Before you build or open a food establishment or water recreation facility, do your homework to find out which permits and licenses you’ll need. This will save you time and money in the long run.

The path to a successful business start

The type of business you plan to open will determine which agencies you’ll need to contact and when. This list of state, county, and city agencies is a good place to start:

  • State Business Licensing Service—Get a unified business identifier (UBI) number or a tax registration number, which allows you to do business in the state.
  • City or county business license—Allows you to operate a business in a city (or in a county if outside city limits) and determines the zoning codes for your business.
  • Building department—Building permits, grease trap requirements and how to obtain electrical permits.
  • Fire department—Permits for fire prevention systems including fire alarms, sprinkler systems and commercial cooking range hoods.

Your local health department can help you with a range of needs depending on the type of business you plan to open. The health department is the place to go for information about and permits for:

  • Drinking water—To connect with approved public water systems.
  • On-site septic systems—If city or country sewer services are not available, learn about the installation of a new septic system or how to remodel an existing system if needed.
  • Food safety—If you plan to sell food or beverages.
  • Water recreation facility—For businesses that will have pools, spas, spray parks or flotation tanks.

Beyond the basics, some businesses have special considerations. Check out these resources if you plan to:

Set yourself up for success. Make sure you talk to the right people in your city and county and get the proper permits before you open your doors.


Agency Resources—Information for business owners in Pierce County.