D.C. Business Facts
Washington DC is a haven for many individuals who are working for the government. It has also been a great place for various private sectors. Some of the industries thriving in Washington DC are finance, education, and scientific research. Washington DC has a good business environment for telecommunications companies, service industries, computer firms, and information firms.
Major Companies Headquartered in Washington DC
Some of the major companies headquartered in Washington DC are Lockheed Martin, Danaher, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and Marriott International.
Washington DC provides various financial incentives to attract more businesses. Examples of these incentives are low taxes on property and income and a secured affordable place. The city also offers credits to technology companies.
There are 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Choosing a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from choosing the wrong name (you can always change it later but the less times you have to do that, the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Washington DC, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Washington DC databases:
Restrictions on Washington DC Business Name & Business Purpose
Corporations must have unique names that cannot be confused with other corporations. Corporate names may have the following approved designations:
The use of certain phrases and words in corporate names is “restricted” in the District of Columbia, which means they require special approval by the state. Examples of these words include:
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and picked your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Washington.
How to form an LLC in Washington DC
How to Incorporate in Washington DC
Considerations when incorporating or forming an LLC in Washington DC
TIP: Check our order form to see how long Washington DC is currently taking to process regular and expedited orders.
How to File a DBA in Washington DC
Sure, you could do all the steps above or you could spend 5-10 minutes on our order form and let us take care of it while you work on more important things.
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLC’s and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
TIP: We will obtain your EIN for you if you we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and inquire on the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork, b) your EIN and c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
Top 5 Major Banks in Washington DC
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including: a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years. View our “Accounting & Financial Management” section for help with setting up an accounting system and purchasing accounting software.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
TIP: We work with a company that can obtain and prepare business licenses and permits for you. Click here to learn more.
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both). View our “Employees & Payroll” section for help with hiring employees and processing payroll.
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy”. This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection. Click here to view our preferred provider of business insurance online.
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. This means have a method to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business. View our “Manage Your Company” section for help with systemizing and automating your business.
Now that you’ve set-up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer. View our “Marketing & Sales” section for help for more information.
DBA: Your Fictitious Business Name should be valid for 5 years (unless you change company name or other information listed on the FBN) at which point you’ll need to renew it with the county.
LLC: Washington corporations are required to file a Periodic Report with the Washington Secretary of State biennially on or before April 1, in addition to general taxation. Information on your business’ taxes can be found here. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need to periodically renew operating permits.
Corporation: Your business must keep corporate records at its principal place of business. Once every two years by April 1, an officer of your corporation must file an annual report. LLCs and Corporations will pay a filing cost of $300.
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 727-6306
Washington DC Startup Resources
1. Small Business Administration (SBA) Washington DC District Offices
3. Washington DC Legal Statutes
4. Washington DC Chambers of Commerce
6. Angel.co Washington DC Startups
7. Washington DC Business News
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