Setting up a Limited Liability Company without an Attorney can be easier than you might think. First you want to research the benefits of having an LLC to make sure it is the best option for your and your business.
Choose a name for your LLC. You will need to find a unique name for your LLC. Have a few options in mind and then conduct a name and trademark search. A name of a limited liability company must end with one of these options:
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Company
- Ltd. Liability Co.
File your Articles of Organization. This is required to establish the existence of your LLC in the state where you live and work. This document is short in length and can be filed with the Secretary of State’s office. Once this is filed and approved by your state agency your organization is a legal LLC. The basic information on this form asks for name, location, services the company perform, members’ names or other basic information.
The next two things you are not required to do, but are recommended: Created an Operating Agreement and Designate a Registered Agent other than yourself.
You should consider creating an operating agreement since it defines the basic rights and responsibilities of the LLC members. If you draft a formal agreement for your LLC it will clearly provide the details of the business arrangement, members’ percentage ownerships, roles, etc. It is a protection if there is a business dispute among members later. If you are the sole owner, this step might not be deemed necessary.
The final thing you will want to consider is to designate a registered agent other than yourself. An LLC must have a registered agent and many businesses just put the owner, but this can cause problems. A registered agent is a person or business that is designated to receive important documents on behalf of the LLC. This agent must be located and available at a legal address within the state your business is located. Someone must be at that address during all business hours, if not you can forfeited your LLC status.
Many states allow you to be the registered agent, but you must have a physical address for your business, even if it is your home address. And someone must be there at all time. Because of this requirement, many small LLCs choose to use the services of a nationwide registered agent service. There are many online with small yearly fees.