Updated November 16, 2020:

An LLC checklist is a list of tasks that need to be completed when forming a limited liability company (LLC).

Business Startup Checklist

When you have decided to start your own business, either solo or with a partner or several, you'll want to be sure to follow a checklist, so you don't miss any important details. Following these instructions will help to get your business started on the right foot. 

Step One: Business Structure and Name

First, you'll want to choose a name and business structure. There are four different types of businesses when it comes to legal structure:

  • Sole proprietorship 
  • Partnership 
  • Limited liability company (LLC) 
  • Corporation (C-corp or S-corp)

Coming up with the name for your business can be tough, so here are a few resources available for startups:

Step Two: Business Plan, FEIN, and Bank Account

Once you have the basics laid out, you'll want to move on to the more complicated tasks:

  1. Create a business plan that will explain your vision for the company, its purpose, and even the values you want to see it uphold. 
  2. Before you can open a company bank account, apply for any business loans, or begin a payroll, you'll need to get an FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) through the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). 
  3. Start a bank account for the business so you can be sure to keep your personal and professional finances separated for tax and organizational purposes. 

Step Three: Leasing, Licensing, and Permits

If you are not planning to run the business out of your home, you'll want to lease the space you'll use for the startup, maybe offices or a warehouse or shop. Commercial realtors are a great resource when searching for company space. They can help make sure you'll have everything you need in place for day one of doing business. 

Another very important part of a startup is making sure you have all the proper licenses and permits for the type of business you plan to run. You'll want to inquire with the proper agency related to your business in order to find out exactly what you need and what requirements you may need to meet. The following types of companies require federal permits:

If your business doesn't require a federal permit or license, it might still require one from the state. Any businesses planning to offer the following services should contact the appropriate state agency to learn of requirements:

  • Accounting
  • Appraisals
  • Auctioning
  • Banking
  • Bill collecting
  • Building contracting
  • Cosmetology or barbering
  • Funeral home directing
  • Insurance
  • Any kind of medical service
  • Private investigating or security
  • Real estate sales

Sometimes the licensure required is based on the types of products that are sold through the business, rather than the services provided. Companies dealing in the following goods will need to meet state requirements:

  • Guns
  • Alcohol
  • Gas 
  • Lottery tickets

If a business plans to buy and sell goods, the owner will need to make sure they charge the appropriate sales tax for their state and therefore obtain a Resale Permit or State Seller's Permit. 

Check to see if your city or state requires you to have a business license in order to conduct business within the state. Even if you're operating out of the comfort of your own home, you might still need a license. 

Step Four: Employees, Insurance, and Record-Keeping

Companies that plan to have employees have a few extra steps to follow. First, you'll want to hire a few employees to get ready for opening day. As soon as you have employees working under you, you'll need to make sure both you and your employees have proper coverage. 

You'll probably need the following:

  • Workers' compensation insurance
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Business insurance 

To make sure you don't lose any money or miss payment on any bills amid the chaos of a startup, you'll want to start some kind of accounting or record-keeping system. 

Fill out the proper paperwork and be sure to keep copies of everything in an organized system. These types of documents include the following:

Starting an LLC or any form of business can be scary, but with the proper assistance and good resources, you can do it right. 

If you need help with an LLC checklist, you can 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.