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Business Licenses

Congratulations on your decision to open your Auburn business! The City of Auburn wants you to know that you are not alone in your enthusiasm to make your business venture a success. To assist you in your new endeavor we have developed many tools and resources to help your business to success.

Please feel free to contact us directly with any questions you may have. For general business information, where to locate and other valuable resources please contact Business License Services. If your questions are more specific regarding how to physically create a facility and get your doors open, or questions on fees, forms or process, please contact our staff at the Community Development Services Department. Whatever your needs, we are open for business and available and eager to assist you.

Business License Information
If you have already done your advanced planning and simply need information on Business Licenses you have come to the right place. Please click the arrow on the following topic list to make a selection:

Why do I need a business license?

Business Licenses are required under Auburn City Code (ACC) and all rules and requirements may be found online as outlined within Sections ACC 5.10.010 - 5.84.070. The purpose of the license is to identify, authorize, track and report various commerce enterprises operating lawfully within the City of Auburn and to provide emergency contact information to emergency personnel.

What information do I need to apply?

ACC 5.10.020 requires that any person desiring to establish or conduct any business enterprise as defined in within the corporate limits of the city, shall first apply for a business license. Information collected is used exclusively by the City of Auburn; and is collected for many City Departments and for a variety of functions. The application for Business License form requires:

  • the business name
  • mailing address
  • telephone number
  • email address
  • nature of the business activity
  • location where the business will be conducted
  • number of employees
  • Name of contact person
  • Universal Business Identifier (UBI) (state business identification number)
  • An IRS letter testifying to nonprofit status (if applicable) or the copy of the application to the IRS.
    Please note; the list above may not be all inclusive; and incomplete forms will not be accepted.
Where do I apply?

The Business License Program is managed through our Community Development Services Department. For your convenience, there are several ways of obtaining your City Business License:

  • Applications are accepted and processed by mail. Applications are available on-line through our Permits & Licenses page. The City does not currently have an online electronic application.  Once your application is filled out it can be emailed to [email protected] for processing.  Applications are processed directly with the City of Auburn Department of Community Development.
  • Applications may also be faxed to 253-804-3114.

For questions, please contact the Customer Service Center at 253-804-5011. Please note that incomplete applications will not be accepted.

How much does it cost?
The City strives to keep all business costs down in Auburn. The annual fee for a General Business License is $103 and $52 for an Outside City Contractors Business License. For Utility Franchises, Adult Entertainment businesses, and businesses located within certain special assessment districts (such as the downtown Business Improvement Area - BIA) there may be an additional fee charged as directed by City Code. Fees may be paid by check, cash, Master Card, or Visa.

Fees collected under the program contribute to the General Fund (100%) and are used to fund a variety of city services, with the exception of the BIA assessment which goes to The Auburn Downtown Association for district improvements. Business Licenses are issued annually and are valid from January 1st to December 31st.

Are all business license applications the same?

There different types of business licenses and applications in Auburn which are available on the Forms page:

  • General Business License application
  • Rental Housing Business application - Crime Free Rental Housing Landlord Training is available. For more information or to register, please visit
  • Home Occupation application
  • Certain Specialty Licenses as outlined by City Code, Section ACC 5.20.
Are there other steps required to obtain a business license?
  • Prior to making application for a City Business License, you are required to obtain a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number from the State Department of Licensing. Information regarding the UBI may be found at the State of Washington - Business Licensing Service page.
  • Application of a General Business License requires an inspection of the premises prior to approval of the Business License. The purpose of the inspection is to verify health, life, safety and use issues located on site prior to license approval, or significant investment on the part of our clients.
  • Businesses that serve or prepare food where Fats, Oils or Grease may be introduced to the sanitary sewer system must also complete a FOG Control Plan as part of the business license application process. These businesses include, but are not limited to, restaurants, cafes, lunch counters, cafeterias, bars, clubs and hotel, hospital, factory or school kitchens. Program forms, procedural questions, requirements, or advice as to whether your business requires a plan, may be found on the Fats, Oils & Grease page.
  • Home Occupancy businesses require a completed Supplemental Application form, which must accompany the General Business License application at submittal.
  • Certain specialty businesses requiring special endorsement such as Pawn Brokers, Cabarets, Carnivals, etc. are required to complete a Supplemental Application form, which must accompany the General Business License application at submittal. Please see Municipal Code Section, ACC 5.20 for a comprehensive list of Specialty Businesses.
  • The Industrial Stormwater General Permit is a statewide permit that applies to facilities conducting industrial activities that discharge stormwater to a surface water body or to a storm sewer system that drains to a surface water body. For additional information on the permit and to find out if your facility needs permit coverage, please visit the Department of Ecology website.