If you want to create an LLC for your business, this is the article for you. I've tried many different services for creating an LLC over the years as a business consultant as that is one of the more common things that startups want to do.
The old-school method is not too difficult, but it can be confusing, and government sites are notoriously difficult to navigate. Hunt down the various forms on your Secretary of State's website, like Illinois's is here, fill them out, and pay the fees. You can look up what you need through the SBA Website.
Today many companies like incfile, LegalZoom, RocketLawyer, and ZenBusiness streamline this for you, though, and don't really cost much more. They, of course, will try to upsell you on extra services, but for basic filings, you really won't save much by trying to hunt everything down yourself. Some of the extra forms from RocketLawyer, in particular, are very useful as you get established.
Those services certainly beat the old-school method, in my opinion, and the time savings are well worth the extra. I've used incfile several times to create LLCs, including for this website, one for my wife's cleaning business, and have recommended this method to many of my clients.
In case you're thinking of creating an LLC for your own business, I documented the steps I took to create my two most recent companies 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?
A limited liability company (LLC) is one of the simplest business structures 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.
Creating an LLC Using incfile
Here are the steps to create an LLC using incfile.
1. Click “Launch My Business”
On the incfile website, click Launch My Business to bring up the wizard to begin creating your LLC. Once you click launch my business, select LLC and your state. There are other business structures available, but if your business is making less than six figures annually and you don't have several owners, an LLC is normally your best option.
If your business is making more than six figures, you may want a corporation for tax purposes. Just realize you will also need to name a board of directors as that is required for corporations. You can also start an LLC then elect to be taxed as an S-Corp later, which will give you many of the tax advantages without all the red tape of a corporation.
2. Follow the prompts to create your LLC
Follow the prompts to finish completing and filing your LLC. I selected standard delivery and it took seven days for mine to come back digitally and another four to get my packet in the mail in Illinois. Your results may vary.
You can also choose expedited service if you're in a rush, which they claim can get done in as little as a day. I didn't test that option though.
3. Optional: Discuss with an Accountant
Most new owners will want to talk through business taxes with an accountant as you need to be aware of things like the need to file quarterly estimated taxes when you are self-employed. (2) The gold plan includes a free consultation with an accountant, which I tried out, and they seem to know their stuff. I ended up not hiring them as I use QuickBooks to keep track of my business finances, and they had their own platform, but it might be a good option for a startup.
Beyond the LLC: Separate Your Business Finances
Be sure to separate your business and personal finances as that is required to maintain the protection your LLC offers.(3) It is also easier to know how your business is doing when it's tracked separately from your personal finances.
Just like when you first started building your credit with a checking and charge card as a teenager, your business now can start establishing credit with your new EIN (which is essentially a social security number for a business). I highly recommend getting a business checking and charge card as soon as you get your EIN. You can get your EIN through incfile or simply register for it through the federal EIN application.
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. Click here to save 50% on a new plan.
Congrats, if you've followed this guide, you've now got an LLC for your business!!!
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!
P.S. If you'd like to work with me to help get your business off the ground, visit my business consulting page and schedule an appointment!