Doing business in Georgia is a straightforward process thanks to the resources provided by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Business resources are available for every type of business entity from sole proprietorships to Fortune 500 companies. Whether you're starting a new business, growing an established one, or relocating your company to Georgia, you'll find plenty of resources to help you succeed.

Business Resources Available in Georgia

Georgia offers 11 business locations around the world dedicated to entrepreneurs and seasoned business owners who want to move existing operations to the state. Georgia's business resources are considered world-class because they cover business-related topics in depth, supporting companies seeking competitive advantages through innovation.

Qualified companies looking to expand in Georgia should utilize the state's Global Commerce division, which provides numerous services at no additional cost. Leading resources the department offers include:

  • Assistance provided by industry experts and project managers
  • Business intelligence
  • Company launch assistance
  • Management advice

How to Form an LLC in Georgia

Forming a limited liability company (LLC) in Georgia comes with certain filing requirements, but the process is relatively simple and affordable.

The most important first step is naming your LLC. Conduct research to make sure the LLC name you want is suited to the business venture and is easily remembered by potential customers. As long as the name is unique and contains the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its acceptable abbreviations (“LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “Ltd.,” “Limited Company,” etc.), you're allowed to be creative in the naming process. Just be sure to adhere to these state requirements:

  • The business name must be 80 characters or less.
  • The name cannot contain restricted words, such as “bank,” “university,” or “attorney” without additional paperwork or licenses.
  • The name cannot contain prohibited words that would confuse the business with a state or federal agency (i.e., “secret service,” “FBI,” “treasury,” etc.).
  • The LLC name must be distinct from other businesses on file with the Georgia Corporations Division.
  • You may check for the name's availability through the Georgia Corporations Division database.
  • You may reserve the name for 30 days by filing an online Name Reservation Request and paying the $25 fee.

After selecting your LLC's name, you'll need to choose a registered agent. The registered agent is an individual or business that can accept legal documents and other papers on your LLC's behalf. The registered agent must reside in Georgia (if an individual) or be authorized to do business in Georgia (if a business entity), meaning that the registered agent must have a physical Georgia address.

File Your Articles of Organization

You can create your Georgia LLC by filing an Articles of Organization and Data Transmittal Form 231 with the secretary of state. The secretary of state doesn't provide an Articles of Organization form, so you must create one on your own following a template on 8.5-by-11-inch white paper.

The Articles of Organization should include the following:

  • Your LLC name
  • The LLC's management structure (member-managed vs. manager-managed)
  • Execution date (only if different from the filing date)
  • Every LLC member's name, signature, and title

The Articles of Organization filing fee is $100, which can be paid online or via mail. If you file via mail, you must also complete and include the Transmittal Information Georgia Limited Liability Form.

The Transmittal form must include:

  • The business's name and address
  • The filer's name and address
  • Every organizer's name and address
  • The LLC's registered agent information

Articles of Organization are typically processed within five to seven business days, but it may take up to 14 days. Within that time, a Certificate of Organization will be created and mailed to you.

Optional Steps for Your Georgia LLC

Georgia doesn't require LLCs to have an operating agreement , but it's still a good idea to draft one, especially if your LLC has multiple members.

The operating agreement is a document which outlines the LLC's management structure and each member's compensation. This document doesn't need to be filed with the state, but you should keep it on record along with your Articles of Organization.

Even though Georgia doesn't require an operating agreement for LLCs, the state still recognizes it as a governing document.

If you need help doing business in Georgia, post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.