Register an LLC

So you want to register an LLC? Fortunately, it is a fairly simple process that anyone can do. There are many advantages to forming an LLC for your business.

How to Form an LLC: Introduction

Forming an LLC is not difficult. An LLC is a way of forming a business that allows the owners to limit their own liability for any actions made by the company. Although you can hire an accountant or a lawyer to set up an LLC, it is not difficult to do on your own. You just need to remember that every state will have different rules. It is important to know what your law states specifically before you get started.

How to Form an LLC: 1. Choose a Name for Your LLC

When naming your limited liability company, that name must comply with your state’s rules. In general, you will need to do this at the office that combines the corporation’s division and the Secretary of State’s office.

The requirements are going to be different in every state. However, your business name may not be the same as another business on file with the limited liability company office. To find out if your name is available, you will need to browse through the Secretary of State’s registered name database.  Almost every state will have a database online that you can use to search for a fee.  Also, there are some states that will let you reserve your name for a small period of time before you register the name to prevent anyone else from using the name while making your final decision.

Your business name must also end with an LLC designator. This would include Limited Liability Company, Limited Company, or an abbreviated version of either of these.

Your name may not include any words that are prohibited by your state. This will include words such as insurance, corporation, bank, or city. Every state will have different rules with regard to what is prohibited.

You should also choose the name that best complies with the laws in your state while also representing your business. There is not an exact science for choosing the best business names. You should choose something that is:

  • Simple and easy to remember
  • Distinguishes your business from others
  • Is spelled easily
  • Is easily pronounced
  •  Provides an idea of the item or service that you sell
  • Makes you stand out from your competitors

In many states, you will be able to register your business name when you file the articles of incorporation. In other states, you will need to register your name separately before you form your limited liability company.

For instance, Texas requires that every business that wants to operate in that state must register their business name separate from filing the articles of incorporation.

There are some states that charge a fee for registering a name. To get all of this specific information for your state, you will need to visit the website of your Secretary of State.

If your name is very creative and original from any others available, it is also ideal to register the name as a trademark. This will help distinguish your service or product from your competitors. By trademarking your company name, you are also preventing any infringement by other companies similar to yours.

For instance, having a trademark lets you hold a domain as your own along with other intellectual property that is specific to your business. You can trademark your business name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  It will cost $275-$325 to trademark your business name.

In addition to following all the rules of your state regarding naming an LLC, you also have to make sure that your name is not in violation of another company’s trademark. After you have discovered a legal name that is available, you do not typically have to register it with the state. Once you file the articles of organization, your business name will be registered automatically.

How to Form an LLC: 2. File Articles of Organization

After you’ve decided on your name, you will need to file the articles of organization with your LLC office in your state. Although most states use the phrase articles of organization as the general document requirement for an LLC, other states will call it a certificate of formation or a certificate of organization.

If you need help with registering an LLC, 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.