A Maine LLC is a limited liability company registered in the state of Maine. There are several steps you'll take to form an LLC. You'll also be required to obtain any necessary licenses and permits and pay fees to keep your business in compliance and good standing.

Starting Your LLC in Maine

LLC stands for limited liability company. This business structure keeps the business owner's or owners' finances separate from the finances of the company. The owners' personal assets are protected even if the business fails or is sued. It's easy and affordable to form an LLC. 

Maine has specific requirements (as most states do) in regard to forming an LLC that is unique to the state. To form an LLC, it's necessary to register with the Secretary of State. You'll have to file required forms, pay required fees, and meet all requirements regarding business name and formation guidelines.

Choose a Name for Your LLC

State law requires all LLC names to include one of the following designators at the end of the name: 

  • Limited Liability Company
  • LLC
  • L.L.C.
  • Limited Company
  • LC
  • L.C.

Low-profit LLCs use L3C or l3c.

Your LLC name has to be unique and distinguishable from existing business names registered with the state. You can check if your desired business name is available for you to use by searching the database at the Secretary of State site. 

If you wish to reserve a name, you can hold one for up to 120 days. You'll file an Application for Reservation of Name. You must file by mail and include the filing fee of $20. You can't renew a name reservation. Include the following in your application: 

  • The name you want to reserve
  • Your address
  • Your signature and the date
  • Completed cover letter sheet

It's best to choose a business name that's well-suited to your business and one that potential customers can easily find.

You won't be able to use certain words, such as “attorney," “bank,” or “University” in your LLC name unless you meet specific requirements, including filing additional paperwork and having a licensed individual (lawyer, doctor, etc.) as part of your LLC. Some words are prohibited to prevent confusing your LLC with a state or federal agency, such as the Treasury Department, FBI, or Secret Service.

Check the availability of your LLC name first so you can reserve a domain name for your business. If your desired name is available, you might want to buy the domain name, even if you're not planning to create a website right now, in order to secure it.

Appoint a Registered Agent

Every LLC in Maine is required to have a registered agent. A registered agent (or statutory agent or resident agent, depending on the state) is a person or entity that accepts legal paperwork and documents, including Service of Process, on the business's behalf.

The agent is required to maintain a physical street address in the state to receive legal mail and other documents. A P.O. box isn't allowed for a registered agent's listed office address.

You can choose a registered agent from within your LLC, and you can fill the role if you want. You might also choose a commercial agent from among listings at the state website.

Obtaining Business Licenses and Permits

You may have to obtain state and/or local business licenses, depending on the type of business you operate and its location. You're required to comply with local, state, and federal government regulations. For example, a restaurant is likely to need permits related to health, building, and signage.

The U.S. Small Business Administration guide has valuable information about federal business permits and licenses. Ask your Chamber of Commerce about any local permits or licenses you might need. Required fees for permits and business licenses depend on the type of license you're trying to obtain.

Because an LLC is an affordable and simple business structure to form, many people choose to operate this type of business. By following the necessary guidelines and obtaining the required licenses and permits, as well as paying the required fees, you'll easily be able to form a business yourself.

If you need help with forming or operating an LLC in Maine or another state, 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, Stripe, and Twilio.