LLC job titles are not dictated by the state, which means that the owner or owners of a limited liability company can determine their own titles. In general, LLC owners are referred to as members. When choosing a title, think about the impression you want to make on potential vendors, partners, customers, and stakeholders. You may want to choose traditional corporate titles such as president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer, but you are not required to do so if you don't want to represent your small business as a large corporation. Because few rules about LLC titles exist, it can sometimes be challenging for new business owners to name these roles.

Official Names for LLC Owners and Managers

An LLC can have one or more than one member. Some LLCs are managed by one or more members, while others are run by a professional manager hired by the members. When creating an LLC, you will have to state whether the business is member-managed or manager-managed. Although these are official titles with the state, they may be confusing to those outside your business and don't need to be used when working with the public.

Choosing LLC Titles

When selecting titles for LLC members, you should strive to let stakeholders know that you have contract-signing authority for the LLC while avoiding titles that may mislead customers, vendors, or lenders. Common choices that work well include:

  • Owner is often chosen when the LLC only has one or a few members. This is a good choice because of its clarity and simplicity.
  • Managing member is preferred to simply member because it indicates managerial authority.
  • President is appropriate for most types of businesses.
  • Principal, which is often used by members of service firms.
  • Managing director, creative director, and technical director are popular titles for tech and creative LLCs.

Titles that should be avoided include those that are inappropriate or confusing, such as:

  • Those that include the word partner, such as managing partner, because a partnership is different than an LLC. That may create confusion that causes you to lose your limited liability protection.
  • Proprietor should be avoided for the same reason. A sole proprietorship does not offer limited liability protection.
  • Non-traditional titles that are difficult to understand, such as lead coordinator are not definitive.
  • Humorous titles; while these may play well with a millennial client base, they aren't necessarily as cute to investors.

Common Corporate Titles

You might consider other titles you have come across in the course of doing business. However, it's important for LLC members to avoid titles that might cause confusion with a corporate entity. For example, a shareholder holds shares in a corporation, but unlike an LLC member, does not have the right to participate in the company's management or sign contracts on its behalf.

Director is another title that typically refers to a corporation. This entity is run by a board of directors elected by shareholders. An LLC, on the other hand, is run either by the members or by managers appointed by the members.

A registered agent is a third party who is authorized to receive legal paperwork on behalf of the LLC and lives in the state where it is established. While an LLC member can act as a registered agent, you can also hire a professional registered agent. 

Appointing Officers

The officers of an LLC are appointed by the members or managers. The powers and responsibilities held by people in these positions are outlined in the LLC's articles of organization. Although corporations are required to appoint at least one officer, LLCs are typically not required to do so. However, the bank may require an officer to represent the company when you open business accounts.

Whether LLC members decide to appoint officers depends on the management structure, complexity, and size of the business. Common officer roles include the chair, who runs meetings of the managers; the president, who runs daily operations; the secretary, who keeps the LLC's official records and manages elections; and the treasurer, who is in charge of business finances and taxes. If you have a very large or very complicated LLC, you may appoint additional officers such as an assistant treasurer or assistant secretary.

If you need help with structuring your limited liability company, 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.