Free LLC Guides

Greetings, to all startups and future successful entrepreneurs! 

As you already know, LLCs (limited liability companies) have long been popular around small businesses and startups alike. The reason for that? Well, if you ask us, the most popular one is getting that 100% protection for your personal assets. It’s all about the limited liability to the resources of your big or small business.

Now, about what we are going to discuss here. The main goal of this post is to guide you through the challenging path of creating an LLC and help you understand all the important details of building your successful business. We are here to assist you on your journey as an entrepreneur, avoiding all possible issues with the law in advance.

Every paragraph of this page will highlight basic details of each stage of LLC creation. Moreover, this is where you can find a special drop-down menu with unique requirements of your state to find out about its unique requirements in terms of forming new entities. 

Setting Up an LLC

If you are reading this, you probably have many questions (you might not even realize, at the moment, how many of them you have). In our experience, the main questions are as follows:

  • What documents do I have to file?
  • What business licenses do I need for my LLC? 
  • Where and how can I find a reliable (and affordable) registered agent for my LLC? Do I really need that 
  • agent?
  • What day is it? (JK)

And so on…

You can spend all day looking for your answers, but we hope this page is among the first you have found. Anyway, we dare you to stop searching! Everything related to forming an LLC is already here on this site. Thank us later!

Our clear guidelines will take you to the final stage of creating your LLC in no time! All you have to do is read carefully and follow the steps. Next thing you know, your LLC is at full blast, ready to conquer the world! Yup, just like that! 

In case you forget something in the future, you can always get back here. Otherwise, check our 7 Best LLC Formation Services to get more information about reliable services that will help you with the paperwork, or read our overview guide for a brief introduction to everything you need to know to form an LLC.

Choose your LLC state in the drop-down menu below or read on our guidelines and get acquainted with basic insights about everything you can expect when forming your LLC.

LLC Name Search

Choosing a proper name for your future LLC is one of the most important tasks at the planning stage. For many aspiring entrepreneurs, it’s a real headache. Your LLC’s name has to perfectly reflect your business, its identity, purpose, values, and the main service or product it offers. Thus, it’s so much more than just words – the name will form your customers’ very first impressions and inspire their initial thoughts. 

The name must be stylish, memorable, and necessarily unique since using someone else’s (or very similar) name, even if it looks perfect, is strictly prohibited by law. The US states have strict regulations in terms of LLC name uniqueness to avoid any sort of confusion. This means you will have to check your name availability in advance to ensure that it’s 100% distinctive.

It’s a well-known fact that a successful company name helps a business get off to a good start, increasing its standing in the eyes of investors. This is the key to building your company and the foundation of the brand. 

So how do you know your LLC name is not already taken? Well, you can start with performing a business name search on the official website of your state. There has to be such a function on every government website to inform you about all registered business names that are already taken. This is how you will know your chosen LLC name is available.

Depending on the state, there may be some differences in the searching process. But we have your back covered! Our website will let you know about all the nuances related to business name search procedures. This method will make performing an LLC name search and checking the results easier. 

Find your state below to do a business name search in your state or read our overview to know what to expect.

LLC Name Reservation

If you have already checked the availability of your LLC name but still have to get a few things done before you start your business or for any other reason, the next step is reserving your LLC name. This is how you will keep the name hidden from your competitors and, thus, secure your company’s identity. 

Even though the name reservation is not a mandatory process, some intense brainstorming with your family and friends, long sleepless nights, and dozens of rejected options may take place before you create a perfect name for your LLC. Considering all this, you will probably want to make sure that it all was not in vain.

Given the importance of business entity names, California offers the opportunity to reserve a business name before you file your incorporation documents. The name reservation process is quite simple, however, it can vary in different states. All you have to do is reserve your chosen LLC name with your state’s government. 
Choose your state below to find out how to reserve an LLC name there or read our quick overview guide to know what to expect.

LLC Registered Agent

What do you visualize when dreaming about the future of your LLC? Is it great business deals and massive paybacks? Is it thousands (or millions) of positive customer reviews and loyal clients? Do you plan to change the community or even the whole world with your product or service? 

Whatever your dreams are, we know one thing for sure – you don’t dream about dealing with tons of paperwork and lawsuits. Alas, the latter will most definitely derive from the former. Unless you have someone to deal with your business papers, deadlines, and notifications from the state, e.g. a reliable online service. This is exactly why a professional registered agent is a must-have for every LLC.

Every business entity in the US needs to have one. And there are so many questions related to registered agents. When and how you should designate your registered agent? Is the agent required right from the LLC launch or can you hire one later? Who can be an LLC registered agent? Why do you need one? What if you don’t have a registered agent? These are just a few questions a lot of entrepreneurs ask when forming their first LLC. 

This guide can serve as your FAQ page for everything that is related to registered agents. You can find some valuable information to satisfy your needs, starting from the importance of having a registered agent for your LLC and ending with every task the agent should handle.
Choose your state and see who can become a registered agent of your LLC or read this guide to know what to expect further.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know about starting an LLC?

The first thing to remember is that forming your first LLC is nothing trivial. So get ready for a challenge and make sure you have everything under control before actually launching your LLC. Here are 10 basic things to consider:
– Pick the right state to form your LLC. Consider all the rules, fees, and regulations of a particular law in the state;
– Think of a good name for your LLC, considering all regulations in terms of it, and check the name’s availability via a business search on the official the Secretary of State website of the chosen state;
– File the Articles of Organization;
– Obtain a Certificate from the State to confirm that your LLC formally exists with the state.;
– Designate a professional registered agent (an individual or a service company) with a physical office in the chosen state;
– Pay a filing fee;
– Indicate the LLC’s purpose via a statement;
– Create the LLC Operating Agreement that will indicate all financial and management procedures, rights, and obligations of LLC members (capital contributions, shares, penalties, the number of LLC members, meeting procedures, profit distribution, etc); 
– Analyze how you will raise money from your investors, consider all the risks, investor rights, and your responsibilities, get legal advice if in doubt;
– Get an EIN from the IRS, unless you don’t plan to hire any employees for your LLC;
– Obtain the required business licenses (local, state, or federal), depending on your business nature;
– Set up a separate business bank account for your LLC. Keep in mind that your bank will need your filed Articles of Organization and EIN;
– Create and maintain an LLC Membership Ledger to record the following information: the names and addresses of the LLC owners, unit classes and their numbers, how many units they hold, and when those units were acquired;
– File your annual reports in time, consider your deadlines.

You can visit this page for more information on starting an LLC.

Who to speak to about starting an LLC?

You might want to talk with your family first. Then you can consult an LLC formation service or a lawyer, a business coach, a banker, an accountant, or anyone who you consider a trusted advisor. 

You can ask them for independent advice or to draw up the paperwork for your LLC. They can help you decide on an S-corp or C-corp LLC type, consult you on taxes, your LLC strategy, various application processes, financial statements, etc. The main thing is to start your LLC with as much information as possible.

What are the best states to start an LLC?

If you already have a place to live in one of the states, then start a business in that state. If you don’t have a home state, then check out this list of the best states to start an LLC in terms of business climate (e.g. taxes, regulatory burden, workforce availability, etc.):
– Delaware;
– Wyoming;
– Alaska;
– South Dakota;
– Florida;
– Nevada;
– Montana;
– New Hampshire;
– Utah;
– Oregon.

Why do you have to file Articles of Organization when starting your business?

This document is required by your LLC state to establish the ownership, indicate the share of profits/losses, rights, duties, and responsibilities of each LLC member. Moreover, this is where you will indicate what happens when a member leaves your LLC.

Why starting an LLC is not easy?

Starting a business when you don’t have any instructions, tools, checklists, or templates at hand can be really challenging. Thus, we have created this website to share valuable information with you so you can start and run your business with confidence. Before you make any further steps in terms of your new LLC, we recommend you study this site well. Once you gain the necessary insights, next thing you know – everything is as complicated as it seemed at first glance.

Can you hide your identity when starting an LLC?

First of all, you can’t your identity from the state authorities. However, if you do not want your company to be public, we recommend creating an Anonymous LLC (also known as “Private LLC” or “Confidential LLC”) that will allow you to run your company without your name and address becoming a matter of public record. The most famous states in this regard are Delaware, Wyoming, and New Mexico You can also hire a registered agent that will provide a physical address for your company, which will be listed in all your business documents, and your personal address will not be in the public domain. 

Q: What to do when starting an LLC?

All the basic steps of starting a business are described here.

What online service can I consult with when starting an LLC?

We recommend addressing LLC formation services like RocketLawyer and ZenBusiness (small businesses). They have a lot of experience in this matter, plus affordable LLC formation packages, and excellent customer support. You can also consider IncFrile and Northwest Registered Agent, both of these services have a great reputation with thousands of positive customer reviews.

What to do after starting an LLC?

Once you have formed your LLC, the next thing to do is checking if you need any more licenses or permits to operate your LLC. Depending on your business nature this can be zoning permits, health department permits, professional licenses, home occupation licenses, seller permits, etc. You can also apply for an S-Corporation status (if applicable) to split your business’ profits into salary and distributions. For this, you will need to file Form 2553 with the IRS (it’s free). Then you should also consider keeping up with quarterly tax payments, get general liability insurance or a BOP (Business Owners Policy).

You may also need product liability insurance if you sell products or a  professional liability policy to cover your LLC if you make a mistake in your professional services. Other than that, you have to keep an eye on your documents and records (keep them in order) and visit an accountant to get tax advice and gain some insights on business deductions.

What forms does LLC need for taxes?

Depending on your classification (disregarded entity, partnership, or corporation) and whether you are a single-member or multi-member LLC, the main forms for an LLC are as follows: 
Form 1040, or 1040-SR + Schedule C (Income tax and Self-employment tax). 
Schedule C and Schedule SE or Schedule E (Self-employment tax) 
Form 1065 (Partnership taxes). 
Form 1120 (S) and K-1 (Corporate taxes)

You can find more information here.