If you’re thinking about the structure of your business and have decided on an LLC, you are probably wondering how to start an LLC. The answer to the question of how to start an LLC is actually not overly-complex. There are LLC services that will help you register your company, select a name, get registered agents, and more. Starting an LLC doesn’t have to be a painful process, and if you choose a good service to help you, you can hit the ground running. Here is an overview of how to start an LLC, including the process of setting up an LLC name to creating an LLC that is compliant with your state’s law. Though state laws vary from state to state, there are similarities in the process of how to start an LLC that do not change so quickly.
Picking (or Reserving) a Name
First thing’s first: what are you going to call your company? The process of how to start an LLC begins with the name selection or reservation. State laws generally don’t permit two businesses to have the same exact name, even if the companies aren’t in the same location within the state (or even anywhere near each other). You can do an online search or a search with your state’s registration to find out if you have a duplicate name. Picking something unique and personalized will help you avoid frustration and hassle. You also have the option of reserving a name, which is where the name you want is available, but you aren’t going to file as an LLC just yet. You can pay a name reservation fee. The length of reservation time depends on the state in which you’re filing.
Obtaining a Registered Agent
Registered agents are designated recipients of process service. If your business is party to a lawsuit or some other legal function (like a summons), the registered agents agree to receive these documents. The agents then agree to pass them onto the LLC and ensure that the documents get into the right hands. States require LLCs to name their registered agents. Pretty much anyone can become a registered agent, including members of the LLC. Often, there are companies that will provide registered agents for your business for a cost.
Your LLC Operating Agreement
The operating agreement is a major paperwork step of how to start an LLC. This operating agreement details how you will run your LLC. Ownership interests, membership voting rights, profit and loss allocation, the way in which meetings will be governed, dissolution details, and more are all part of this operating agreement. While this might not be required by state law, nor does it need to be filed with your state, it is still a valuable step to take.
Paperwork is going to take you the most time out of all the other steps of how to start an LLC. This paperwork is organizational and needs to be filed with your state. These articles of organization include information such as the name of your LLC, the address of your LLC, registered agents’ names and addresses, and the purpose of the formation of the LLC. This paperwork requires the signature of the LLC former, as well as registered agents. They need to be filed with the secretary of state, though your state might have a separate entity of that handles these filings.
Getting Your LLC Certificate
After you’ve made it this far into the process of how to start an LLC, it’s finally time to get your LLC certificate. The state needs to approve the documents that you have filed. Once the state has granted its approval, it will issue a certificate that basically confirms that your business exists. From there, you will be able to take care of other matters, like getting business licenses, a tax ID number, and a business bank account.
Optional: Expanding Your Business to Other States or Countries
If you want, you can expand your business to other states or countries. This will require more paperwork, but it can be part of the process of how to start an LLC, depending on the characteristic of your business. You’ll need a registered agent in the state or country in which you’re seeking to do business, and the files you will fill out will be similar to those that you filled out when you first started your LLC.
This quick overview of how to start an LLC isn’t meant to be overly exhaustive, and there are a lot more things that go into the process of creating an LLC. Setting up an LLC can be made way easier with LLC services that will walk you through how to start an LLC, obtaining trustworthy registered agents, helping you fill out the many forms and files needed, and ensuring your compliance with state law.