Step 1) Name Your California LLC

Choose a Business NameIn the first order of things, naming your California LLC should be done. Your name needs to be unique, not misleading, and not too similar to any other names registered in the California State Records; the name must contain the words or abbreviations of ‘Limited Liability Company’ in the title.

Also, California law specifies that when filing a California LLC, the LLC business should also end with the phrase ‘Limited Liability Company’. Abbreviations such as ‘LLC’ or ‘L.L.C.’ can also be alternatively used.

When you’ve selected a name, check it against the ones found in the State records with the business name search to ensure that it is available. If so, you can have the name reserved for $10 for 60 days.


Step 2) Choose a Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentA Registered Agent is necessary when starting an LLC in California. Like most states, California requires that the Registered Agent is a resident of the state.

In addition, she/he should have a street address in California and not a PO Box. There should only be one Registered Agent in your CA LLC, and you cannot be your own Registered Agent.

If you want a Registered Agency to collect everything you need, you might pay up to $250 a year, or you can use IncFile. Incorporating your LLC with IncFile gets you a free Registered Agent that will save you $100 over other online incorporation services.


Step 3) File the Articles of Organization

Register an LLCYour business is created legally through California LLC filing. This means that you have to register an LLC in California to the Secretary of State’s office to be officially recognized as a legally operating business.

To file for the Articles of Organization, you must first complete the LLC-1 form. Filing for the Articles of Organization can be done through mail or if you prefer, hand delivered to the Office of the Secretary of State.

Filing Fee: $70


Step 4) Get an EIN for Your LLC

Get an EIN for Your LLCA California EIN is required before you begin the operations of your LLC. This is an integral part of your business because your LLC EIN is used in almost all operations and transactions.

You directly visit the IRS website to obtain a free employer identification number.


Step 5) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountAs a new California LLC, keeping your personal and business finances separate is very important. The best way to do this is to open a new business checking account.

To find the best bank to start a checking account with, do some research. You can always use the bank you keep your personal account with, just be sure to keep them 100% separate.


To-Do After Starting a California LLC

Now that you are done with the five steps above, you are almost there. A few more necessary and recommended steps, and you’re on your way to forming a California LLC. Make sure to keep note of these four steps and the resources provided to give you an easier time in forming your business.

1) Plan Your Business for Success

Write a Business PlanWhen starting a California business, you should not just think of the short-term. In fact, you have to plan your business for success for the long term.

You can do this by starting on a business plan. A business plan provides a map to follow through with the mission, vision, and goals of your business. As a California LLC, you need to write a business plan. Start it now with the quick links below.

Quick Links on How to Write a Business Plan


2) Take Care of Your LLC Taxes and Licenses

Business LicensesWhen incorporating an LLC in California, there are some requirements that you just cannot fail to comply. Taking care of your California LLC tax and license requirements should be at the top of your priority list. There are many ramifications for your business if you fail to do so.

When starting an LLC in California and complying with your business taxes, you can use our California Business Taxes Guide. Also, you can use our California Business Licenses and Regulations Guide to help complete your license requirements.


3) Create an Operating Agreement

Create an Operating AgreementThe next step then is to create an LLC Operating Agreement. Despite not being a requirement, this documentation provides a safety net for your LLC’s status. This protects your business as it provides set ground rules in the financial and operational workings of your LLC.

You can use Rocket Lawyer’s Operating Agreement and customize it according to your LLC’s needs.


4) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteThe next step when starting a business in California  is to build a website for it. This gives added credibility and allows potential customers to find you.

Although building a website was difficult in the early 2000’s, now you can just use a customizable and free tool like WordPress. Learn more about WordPress and see how to get started at this step-by-step guide.

This guide is meant to be informational and should not be taken as a legal document or advice. For questions on California LLC or starting a new business in California, you should always consult a lawyer.

Need Help Forming Your LLC?

Have a reliable LLC filing service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom