How to Create an LLC: Starting a Business
I've tried many different services for creating an LLC over the years as a business advisor and recently decided to give incfile a try when creating an LLC for this site. I was very impressed at how easy it was to do this using their step by step wizard, certainly beats hunting down all the necessary forms on the state and federal sites.
In case you're thinking of creating an LLC for your own business, I documented the steps I took to create mine below. If you follow this you'll end up with an LLC for your business plus an EIN, business checking account, and a line of credit.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.
What is an LLC?
In case you're not familiar with what an LLC is, a limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure in the United States whereby the owners are not personally liable for the company's debts or liabilities(1). Protecting your personal assets from lawsuits and business failures is one foundational step every business owner should take. An LLC is one of the simplest company structures you can set up which offers you some protection.
Creating an LLC Using incfile
Here are the steps to create an LLC using Incfile followed up with some supporting documents you'll want which I got from RocketLawyer.
Start With Incfile to Create Your LLC
1. Click “Launch My Business”
Go to the incfile website, then click “Launch My Business.”
2. Choose the type of business (LLC)
Once you click launch my business, select create an LLC. There are other business structures available, but for most businesses, an LLC is the perfect starting point. Choose your state as well to get state-specific guidance.
3. Select your plan
Once you choose your business type and state, you'll need to pick a plan. I highly recommend selecting the gold plan as it will walk you through the entire process of setting up your business properly including getting your business licenses.
The platinum plan is overkill for most people. The silver one leaves out crucial features for new businesses such as getting your EIN (Employer Identification Number)(2) which you'll need for taxes and to do business with many places. You also don't get alerts with the silver plan, which you want to stay compliant in the future.
The gold plan will walk you through all of this, so unless you've already got an EIN and a business banking account or are creating this for something other than a business, I'd choose that.
4. Follow the prompts to create your LLC
Follow the prompts to finish completing and filing your LLC.
I'd suggest going ahead and getting the tax review. The gold plan includes that, and it's handy to be able to talk things through with an accountant as business taxes can get complicated.(3)
You'll also want to check the option to get a business banking account to get a business checking and charge card. You can also do that later with a bank of your choice, but make sure you get a business account.
NOTE: Keeping your personal and business finances separate is critical for maintaining the protection that an LLC offers you.
5. Review the recommendations list after you have created your LLC.
Once you've created your LLC, you'll see several additional task suggestions. Be sure to go through those as it'll go through any other licenses you'll need, plus they have a lot of helpful tips for new business owners.
Use RocketLawyer to Create Additional Forms After Creating Your LLC
RocketLawyer is what I use to create miscellaneous legal documents for my business. It's very straightforward, and you can run those by an attorney after filling in the blanks.
I highly recommend creating a custom LLC operating agreement to go along with your newly formed LLC. Without a properly executed operating agreement, you're left with the default one from the state which may not give you the protection you want.
An operating agreement spells out your relationship to the business which helps protect you in the case of a lawsuit or business failure. I like incfile's step by step process a little better for creating a business, but I didn't like the operating agreement from them as I feel like it is overly confusing, so I use RocketLawyer for that. Click here to fill out the form.
I recommend getting a subscription to RocketLawyer as a new business owner, at least for the first few months. It is especially handy during the startup phase of a business to produce things like a business plan, employee handbook, employment contracts, and get legal questions answered. I encourage you to run any forms you create past their attorneys. You can even use it for essential personal documents like wills.
Beyond the LLC: Use QuickBooks for Your Business Finances
One of the biggest mistakes new owners make is not separating their business and personal finances.(4) I highly recommend getting a business checking and charge card (which you can get if you selected the gold plan through incfile).
I use Quickbooks to keep track of my business finances, and it's widely known so nearly any accountant should be able to help you out with it. It's relatively easy to use and has online help built in so most people can figure it out. They also have accountants available through the app as well. When you use the web version, you can simply select one in your area to work with.
I'd recommend getting either the Essentials or Plus plans or you'll quickly find yourself wanting some of those features. Essentials will be fine for most new businesses.
I hope this guide for creating an LLC has been helpful. If it has, be sure to share so that someone else can benefit as well!