Opening a Business

Welcome to Stanwood, we look forward to learning more about your new business. The following are a few tips to make the process of starting your new business easier:


Will your business be located within the city limits of Stanwood? If you are not sure, please contact the Community Development Department with the address or parcel ID number of your business. If your new business is not located with the city limits you will need to contact the appropriate jurisdiction.


Prior to signing a lease or purchasing a property, it is best to check with the city planner in the Community Development Department at 360-629-2181, ext. 5220 to confirm that the use of your business is allowed at the location you are interested in for your business. For zoning please view the City’s permitted use table (SMC 17.30) and Zoning Map.

Stanwood Business License

In addition to the master State business license, you will need to obtain a city of Stanwood business license. The city of Stanwood partners with the State of Washington for business licenses and applications may be accessed online or at 800-451-7985

Any Improvements to a Building / Interior Space

Will you be making any improvements to the new business location, such as plumbing, mechanical, or building? If so, then you may need permits. Contact the Permit Specialist to confirm which application you need at 360-629-2181, ext. 5211 or email Corrine Schakel. All applications may be found on the building forms page or are available at City Hall. The costs of the permits are determined by valuation. Valuation is the value that the improvement is adding to the property. One way to determine the valuation is by using a bid from a contractor. If you are doing the work yourself the cost may need to be determined by using equipment costs and a fair-market hourly rate for the labor. The Permit Specialist can help you with this process.

Prior to Opening

A Certificate of Occupancy permit (PDF) is required before your business opens. Once you have an approved Certificate of Occupancy and a City Business License, you may open your doors to the Public. The inspection for the Certificate of Occupancy should be scheduled a week before opening. Please contact the City’s Building Official to schedule an inspection at 360-629-2181, ext. 5208.


If you will be purchasing signage for your business, please contact the Permit Specialist who can walk you through the process of obtaining sign permits. Every sign needs a permit, including temporary signs such as banners for openings. We recommend making sure that your sign application is approved prior to ordering your sign as it will save you time and money.

Home Business

Home businesses are welcomed in residential neighborhoods as a way to diversify Stanwood’s employment base and provide alternatives to local residents. Home businesses must be conducted in a way that does not change the residential character and the business operator must reside in the home. A home business can have no additional parking or signage on-site. A business license and a Home Business Application (PDF) and inspection are required. Contact the Community Development staff at 360-629-2181, ext. 5211 for more information.

Permit Processing

Permit processing time is usually 2 weeks depending on the complexity and accuracy of the submittal. All permit fees are required at application submittal and you will be notified when your permit is approved and ready for pick up. If an application for a permit is received without payment processing time will be delayed until payment is made. Please remember that you must have the approved permit on-site to begin work.

Opening a Business can be intimidating, but the city of Stanwood endeavors to make the process as fluid as possible. We are excited to have new businesses in the city and look forward to helping you open your doors.


  • Building Official
    360-629-2181, ext. 5208
  • City of Stanwood Main Number
  • Community Development Director
    360-629-2181, ext. 5206
  • GIS / Mapping
    360-629-2181, ext. 5220
  • Permit Specialist
    360-629-2181, ext. 5211
  • Senior Planner
    360-629-2181, ext. 5220