February 22, 2020  
  Entrepreneurial Resources - Advice for District of Columbia Entrepreneurs  
  Washington, District of Columbia Resources for Entrepreneurs  
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Open a Business in Washington, District of Columbia

Need help starting a business in Washington, District of Columbia? We've got the information you need to open a business in Washington.

Are You Sure You Want to Do This?

Before announcing to the world that you are going to start your own business, take inventory of your entrepreneurial instincts and capabilities.

While entrepreneurship has become a popular career choice, we recommend you do the following before you take the plunge:

  • Talk to other entrepreneurs in Washington. Ask them candidly what it's like to run a business.
  • We recommend reading Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs. For aspiring new entrepreneurs, it's a must read article.
  • Seek the advice of somebody who knows you well. The people who know you best are often in the best position to tell you bluntly whether you will be a good entrepreneur.

Washington, District of Columbia Demographic Information

Washington has an active business community that includes small businesses, mid-sized businesses and large businesses.

To give you a better feel for Washington demographics for small businesses, we have tabulated the small business sizes, based on number of employees, for business in Washington.

Business Size# of
1-4 Employees 547596
5-9 Employees 210924
10-19 Employees 150912
20-49 Employees 113778
50-99 Employees 41472
100-249 Employees 29052
250-499 Employees 7560
500-999 Employees 3294
1000+ Employees 1512
All Washington Businesses 1106100

As a new Washington entrepreneur, you may also be interested in the table below. It shows how many businesses there are in Washington for each business category. By looking at this chart, you can get a general sense for how much competition there is in the business niche that you are pursuing.

Business Type # of
Advertising Agencies 35
Aircraft Manufacturing 1
Ambulance Services 1
Appliance Repair and Maintenance 1
Apprenticeship Training 9
Architectural Services 165
Armored Car Services 2
Art Dealers 42
Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing 1
Automobile Driving Schools 1
Automotive Glass Replacement Shops 2
Automotive Parts and Accessories Stores 16
Automotive Transmission Repair 3
Baked Goods Stores 8
Barber Shops 20
Beauty Salons 177
Bed-and-Breakfast Inns 11
Beer and Ale Merchant Wholesalers 5
Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores 170
Boat Dealers 1
Book Publishers 31
Book Stores 57
Books Printing 1
Breweries 1
Broadwoven Fabric Finishing Mills 1
Building Inspection Services 4
Business Associations 486
Business to Business Electronic Markets 1
Cable and Other Program Distribution 10
Cafeterias 24
Camera and Photographic Supplies Stores 18
Canvas and Related Product Mills 1
Car Washes 14
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services 1
Caterers 31
Cemeteries and Crematories 6
Charter Bus Industry 3
Child and Youth Services 96
Child Day Care Services 191
Children's and Infants' Clothing Stores 12
Civic and Social Organizations 224
Claims Adjusting 2
Clothing Accessories Stores 26
Coin-Operated Laundries and Drycleaners 28
Collection Agencies 1
Commercial Bakeries 3
Commercial Lithographic Printing 24
Commercial Photography 13
Commercial Screen Printing 1
Commodity Contracts Dealing 11
Community Food Services 16
Computer and Software Stores 7
Computer Facilities Management Services 56
Computer Systems Design Services 241
Computer Training 18
Confectionery and Nut Stores 4
Confectionery Merchant Wholesalers 1
Construction Sand and Gravel Mining 1
Consumer Lending 11
Continuing Care Retirement Communities 7
Convenience Stores 95
Convention and Trade Show Organizers 33
Convention and Visitors Bureaus 8
Cosmetology and Barber Schools 3
Couriers 22
Court Reporting and Stenotype Services 17
Credit Bureaus 2
Credit Card Issuing 1
Credit Unions 92
Curtain and Drapery Mills 2
Custom Computer Programming Services 167
Dance Companies 4
Deep Sea Freight Transportation 1
Dental Laboratories 2
Diagnostic Imaging Centers 6
Diet and Weight Reducing Centers 6
Digital Printing 5
Direct Life Insurance Carriers 25
Direct Mail Advertising 6
Direct Title Insurance Carriers 9
Directory and Mailing List Publishers 9
Discount Department Stores 2
Display Advertising 2
Document Preparation Services 26
Drafting Services 1
Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) 85
Drywall and Insulation Contractors 6
Educational Support Services 106
Electric Power Distribution 27
Electrical Contractors 27
Electronic Shopping 8
Elementary and Secondary Schools 124
Emergency and Other Relief Services 22
Employment Placement Agencies 34
Engineering Services 145
Environmental Consulting Services 44
Exam Preparation and Tutoring 33
Exterminating and Pest Control Services 7
Facilities Support Services 27
Family Clothing Stores 53
Family Planning Centers 7
Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 1
Fine Arts Schools 25
Finish Carpentry Contractors 8
Fish and Seafood Markets 6
Fish and Seafood Merchant Wholesalers 4
Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers 74
Floor Covering Stores 15
Flooring Contractors 10
Florists 47
Food (Health) Supplement Stores 12
Food Service Contractors 225
Footwear and Leather Goods Repair 4
Footwear Merchant Wholesalers 1
Formal Wear and Costume Rental 3
Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation 2
Framing Contractors 5
Freight Transportation Arrangement 15
Fruit and Vegetable Markets 2
Full-Service Restaurants 621
Funeral Homes and Funeral Services 22
Furniture Merchant Wholesalers 26
Furniture Stores 56
General Automotive Repair 58
General Freight Trucking, Local 2
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 12
General Rental Centers 2
General Warehousing and Storage 7
Gift, Novelty, and Souvenir Stores 115
Glass and Glazing Contractors 4
Golf Courses and Country Clubs 6
Grantmaking Foundations 210
Graphic Design Services 86
Hardware Merchant Wholesalers 3
Hardware Stores 16
Hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal 1
Heating Oil Dealers 2
Historical Sites 9
HMO Medical Centers 4
Hobby, Toy, and Game Stores 5
Home Centers 1
Home Furnishing Merchant Wholesalers 13
Home Health Care Services 20
Home Health Equipment Rental 1
Homes for the Elderly 19
Household Appliance Stores 2
Human Rights Organizations 186
Hunting and Trapping 1
Industrial Building Construction 3
Industrial Launderers 16
Insurance Agencies and Brokerages 101
Interior Design Services 52
International Trade Financing 5
Internet Publishing and Broadcasting 24
Internet Service Providers 11
Interurban and Rural Bus Transportation 2
Investigation Services 12
Investment Advice 74
Janitorial Services 95
Jewelry (except Costume) Manufacturing 2
Jewelry Stores 52
Junior Colleges 1
Kidney Dialysis Centers 17
Land Subdivision 20
Landscape Architectural Services 17
Landscaping Services 17
Language Schools 18
Lessors of Other Real Estate Property 4
Libraries and Archives 5
Limited-Service Restaurants 694
Limousine Service 11
Linen Supply 1
Local Messengers and Local Delivery 14
Locksmiths 6
Luggage and Leather Goods Stores 9
Machine Shops 1
Mail-Order Houses 14
Marinas 4
Marketing Consulting Services 109
Marking Device Manufacturing 1
Masonry Contractors 8
Materials Recovery Facilities 2
Meat Markets 12
Media Buying Agencies 3
Media Representatives 4
Medical Laboratories 8
Men's Clothing Stores 34
Miscellaneous Intermediation 19
Mobile Food Services 2
Mortgage and Nonmortgage Loan Brokers 15
Motion Picture and Video Distribution 1
Motion Picture and Video Production 89
Motor Vehicle Towing 11
Museums 29
Music Publishers 1
Musical Groups and Artists 21
Musical Instrument and Supplies Stores 5
Nail Salons 17
Natural Gas Liquid Extraction 1
Navigational Services to Shipping 1
New Car Dealers 4
New Housing Operative Builders 8
News Dealers and Newsstands 19
News Syndicates 39
Newspaper Publishers 46
Nonresidential Property Managers 93
Nursing Care Facilities 16
Office Administrative Services 91
Office Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 56
Office Supplies and Stationery Stores 20
Offices of Bank Holding Companies 6
Offices of Certified Public Accountants 100
Offices of Chiropractors 17
Offices of Dentists 315
Offices of Lawyers 1,338
Offices of Optometrists 25
Offices of Other Holding Companies 35
Offices of Podiatrists 27
Offices of Real Estate Appraisers 11
One-Hour Photofinishing 7
Open-End Investment Funds 2
Ophthalmic Goods Merchant Wholesalers 1
Optical Goods Stores 37
Packaging and Labeling Services 3
Paging 2
Paint and Coating Manufacturing 1
Paint and Wallpaper Stores 8
Painting and Wall Covering Contractors 19
Parking Lots and Garages 395
Passenger Car Rental 14
Payroll Services 21
Periodical Publishers 80
Perishable Prepared Food Manufacturing 1
Pet and Pet Supplies Stores 8
Pet Care (except Veterinary) Services 12
Petroleum Bulk Stations and Terminals 3
Pharmacies and Drug Stores 84
Photography Studios, Portrait 17
Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas 5
Political Organizations 149
Portfolio Management 93
Prepress Services 3
Private Mail Centers 9
Professional Employer Organizations 9
Professional Organizations 319
Public Relations Agencies 398
Quick Printing 25
Racetracks 1
Radio Networks 6
Radio Stations 20
Ready-Mix Concrete Manufacturing 4
Real Estate Credit 30
Real Estate Investment Trusts 10
Recreational Goods Rental 3
Reinsurance Carriers 1
Remediation Services 3
Repossession Services 1
Residential Property Managers 115
Residential Remodelers 75
Retail Bakeries 7
Reupholstery and Furniture Repair 8
Roofing Contractors 3
Rooming and Boarding Houses 3
Sales Financing 10
Satellite Telecommunications 14
Savings Institutions 44
Scheduled Freight Air Transportation 3
Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation 53
School and Employee Bus Transportation 3
Secondary Market Financing 5
Securities and Commodity Exchanges 1
Securities Brokerage 53
Security Guards and Patrol Services 66
Setup Paperboard Box Manufacturing 1
Shoe Stores 65
Sign Manufacturing 4
Site Preparation Contractors 6
Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars 163
Software Publishers 31
Software Reproducing 1
Solid Waste Collection 18
Solid Waste Landfill 1
Sound Recording Studios 2
Special Needs Transportation 7
Sporting Goods Stores 16
Sports and Recreation Instruction 21
Sports Teams and Clubs 3
Tax Preparation Services 36
Taxi Service 12
Telecommunications Resellers 8
Telemarketing Bureaus 4
Telephone Answering Services 6
Television Broadcasting 20
Temporary Help Services 148
Temporary Shelters 26
Testing Laboratories 2
Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters 17
Tile and Terrazzo Contractors 1
Tire Dealers 4
Title Abstract and Settlement Offices 21
Tobacco Stores 7
Tortilla Manufacturing 1
Tour Operators 16
Tradebinding and Related Work 2
Translation and Interpretation Services 12
Travel Agencies 145
Uranium-Radium-Vanadium Ore Mining 1
Used Car Dealers 10
Used Household and Office Goods Moving 14
Used Merchandise Stores 47
Vending Machine Operators 3
Veterinary Services 13
Video Tape and Disc Rental 20
Vocational Rehabilitation Services 53
Voluntary Health Organizations 80
Web Search Portals 7
Wholesale Trade Agents and Brokers 30
Window Treatment Stores 1
Wired Telecommunications Carriers 112
Women's Clothing Stores 85

Should You Franchise?

Browse the Yellow Pages for Washington and you'll notice that many local entrepreneurs have gone the franchising route. But is franchising the right option for you?

We highly recommend you consider franchising as an option. We have many articles on franchises, such as Buying a Franchise. Gain a solid understanding of franchising by scanning all of our Articles on Franchising.

To learn about specific franchise opportunities, check out our Franchise Directory.

Sample franchise opportunities include Jet City Pizza and Coffee News. Alternatively, you can browse franchise categories, such as Golf Franchises and Landscaping Franchises.

Note on Washington Franchise Opportunities: You will need to contact franchisors directly to see if their franchises are available in Washington.

Company Formation in Washington, District of Columbia

A critical step is ensuring that your business is formed as a legal entity that is separate from its owners. Doing so will shield you from personal liability for business debts and obligations.

When forming a company, you will pick from many company types, such as a traditional C-corporation, a Limited Liability Company (LLC), or an S-corporation.

Incorporating is a very popular way to form a business. Of course, you have to decide which type of corporation to form and where to incorporate. Just because you are starting a business in District of Columbia, you don't necessarily have to incorporate in District of Columbia. In fact, you can incorporate wherever you want. However, if you do incorporate in another state, you'll have to register as a foreign corporation in your home state.

There's a lot to know about forming a company. We recommend you read some of the educational articles about company formation that are availabe on our site, such as Pre-Incorporation Agreements. You may also want to seek the advice of an lawyer. On a final note, since you will be starting a business in Washington, District of Columbia, our web page covering Incorporating in District of Columbia may be a useful resource if you decide to incorporate in District of Columbia.

Don't Skip the Business Plan

Writing a business plan is essential in maximizing the prospects of your new company. Simply put, a business plan is a written description of the future you envision for your business. Not having a business plan will greatly reduce your chances of business success.

To learn more about business plans, read The Art of the Executive Summary. You can also get face-to-face free consulting available from your local SCORE chapter in District of Columbia.

Getting Money to Start a Business

Raising money to fund your new Washington business is a difficult chore. In fact, financing your new business may be the hardest challenge you ever face.

Take advantage of our many articles on raising capital, such as 504 Loans.

For Washington entrepreneurs who want to raise money for a new venture, check out our List of District of Columbia Angel Investors and our List of District of Columbia Venture Capital Firms.

Some Interesting Washington Entrepreneurs

Here, we'll keep a running list of interviews we've had with Washington entrepreneurs.

Next Steps

You have a dream -- starting a business in Washington. To achieve your dream, you have to persevere, even when the odds are against you.

From this point on, you control your own destiny.

Our goal here is to promote the vitality and growth of small businesses in Washington and throughout the United States . We have a wealth of experience in business start-ups, financing, marketing, sales and more...and we've made all of our knowledge available to you.

More Entrepreneurial Resources for Starting a Business in Washington, District of Columbia

Here are more links that we believe will help you be successful in starting a business in Washington.



Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs

Buying a Business

Writing a Business Plan

Raising Money


Small Business Marketing

Advertising Advice

Public Relations -

Customer Service Tips

Entrepreneurial Selling

Workplace Safety