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Business Licensing

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As of January 2, 2018, the City of Walla Walla requires an annual business license. The City of Walla Walla partners with the State of Washington Business License Service (BLS) to process new business licenses and renewals. Visit the BLS website for more information and to register or renew your business.

Mobile Vendors and Peddlers

Mobile vendor is defined as a "vendor or seller of merchandise or food from a motorized vehicle or other motorized conveyance upon the public streets, alleys, public property of the city, or upon private property."

A street vendor is a "vendor selling food, non-alcoholic beverages, and/or other goods or services within a public or private parking lot, pedestrian plaza, public street, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way, or public property using a non-motorized cart or temporary structure."

A City business license is required for all mobile vendors and street vendors pursuant to WWMC 5.04.020.

Pawnbrokers and Secondhand Dealers

The following definitions for pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers are provided in the City of Walla Walla Municipal Code under Chapter 5.09.

"Pawnbroker means every person engaged, in whole or in part, in the business of loaning money on the security of pledges, deposits, or conditional sales of personal property" (WWMC 5.09.010).

"Second-hand dealer means every person engaged in whole or in part in the business of purchasing, selling, trading, consignment selling, or otherwise transferring for value, secondhand property including metal junk, melted metals and precious metals, whether or not the person maintains a fixed place of business within the city" (WWMC 5.09.010).

A business license is required in the City of Walla Walla for all pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers. Pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers licenses must be approved by the Walla Walla City Council. The approval process takes a minimum of sixty business days; please allow sufficient time for the processing of all license applications.

Carnivals, Circuses, and Fairs

"Carnival" is defined as "any entertainment which includes sideshows or riding devices, but does not include any carnival held within the structural walls of a church, private school, public school, and/or public building, which is sponsored by an affiliated group of such church, private school, public school, and/or public body.

"Circus," shall mean any entertainment which includes wild animals or acrobats, but does not include a rodeo.

"Fair" shall mean a collection of sideshows and amusements, often set up temporarily on open ground and traveling from place to place, and may also include a market for the sale of produce, livestock, etc, with or without sideshows, and/or an exhibition of goods.

A City of Walla Walla business license is required for all carnivals, fairs, and circuses; please refer to the application packet included below.

Business License FAQs

  • When did the City of Walla Walla decide on a business licensing and who does it apply to?

    The City Council repealed business registrations and implemented business licensing December 7, 2016 with an effective date of January 1, 2018. Ordinance No. 2016-41 applies to any business operating within the City of Walla Walla, including outside contractors. The ordinance exempts the following entities from the $50 license fee but still requires a BLS application for tracking purposes:

    • Non-profits
    • Businesses with $5,000 or less gross revenues
    • Universities
    • Public and private schools
    • Churches

  • Why did the City of Walla Walla implement business licensing?

    The City of Walla Walla implemented business licensing with annual renewals to:

    • Accurately count businesses located and operating within the city limits, improving the City’s knowledge of our business sector.
    • Gain accurate knowledge of the number of employees/jobs within the city limits.
    • Provide for improved policy analysis and development. The City will be able to survey the business sector and learn about the issues business owners face and the services they need.
    • Increase community safety by ensuring all businesses open to the public have annual fire inspections.
    • Provide revenue for efforts to support local businesses, including funding for the Downtown Ambassadors program and Chamber of Commerce activities.
    • Provide a comprehensive emergency contact list to Dispatch for the business sector.
    • Create a comprehensive business directory that will be on the City’s website.

  • What is the cost of a City of Walla Walla Business License?

    Ordinance No. 2016-41 establishes an annual $50 business license fee. As noted above, the City of Walla Walla has partnered with BLS to process new business licenses and renewals. When a business owner applies for the City license (and other endorsements as applicable) through BLS, a first-time fee of $19 applies. Upon renewal of business license and other endorsements, a fee of $11 applies. If a business currently has another endorsement through BLS or has a corporation registered through the Secretary of State’s office, then you already pay the $11 BLS fee.

  • How does business licensing apply to existing businesses within the City of Walla Walla?

    Businesses within the city limits of Walla Walla will be required to obtain a business license that is annually renewed. When the City of Walla Walla goes live with BLS on January 2, 2018, a city license will be added to your existing state license and other endorsements. You do not need to do anything right now. The expiration date of the city license will align with your other endorsements. BLS will send a letter with information about the renewal process approximately 45 days prior to the expiration of your license and other endorsements.

    Here are two examples:

    • A corporation files an annual report with the Secretary of State every May 2018. BLS converts a Walla Walla general business license to this account with an expiration date of May 2018 to match the annual report. Every year, this account will renew and allow the customer to renew both the corporation and Walla Walla business license at the same time.

    • An account with a domestic winery license expires January 2018. BLS converts a Walla Walla general business license to this account with an expiration date of June 2018. In May 2018 (approximately 45 days prior to the June 30 expiration date), the customer will get a prorated renewal without an $11 BLS processing fee for the Walla Walla business license to match the existing domestic winery license, which expires January. In December (approximately 45 days prior to the January 31 expiration date), the customer will receive a renewal notice for both licenses and a single $11 processing fee will be assessed and continue to have the January expiration date.

  • What if I conduct business within Walla Walla but do not have a physical office location within the city?

    Under the previous municipal code, a business had to have been physically located within the city limits for a business registration to be required. With the adoption of Ordinance No. 2016- 41 repealing business registrations and implementing business licensing, businesses that do not have a physical office location but do conduct business within the city limits of Walla Walla are required to obtain a business license that is annually renewed. For example, this applies to contractors who have their office in Kennewick but are on a job site within the city limits of Walla Walla.

  • Questions?

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