7 Simple Steps
First, let’s make sure the name you’d like for your brand is available and likely to be accepted or approved by the state. It should be unique and without restricted wording. Conduct a Name Availability Search through the state, and if there may be trademark issues use the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.
Also, keep in mind your LLC name should contain the words ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Company’. Abbreviations for these words like ‘L.C.’ or ‘L.L.C’ are also acceptable. If needed, you can have the Name Reserved for 120 days for $75.
Your Delaware Registered Agent is your intermediary, a representative of your brand who accepts and helps handle/process all official documents like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so forth. Whether they’re an individual or a registered business entity they must have a physical DE address and be available during all regular business hours.
You can choose to hire an outside third-party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a qualified agent free of charge when you use an LLC filing service like IncFile.
Now that you have a secured/verified brand name and Registered Agent, you can legally register your LLC in Delaware by filing the Certificate of Formation online with the Division of Corporations. Only file this document when you’re ready as this is for the public record.
You can alternatively download the form and file it by fax as well if you’d like. Make sure you read and understand everything and fill it out correctly!
LLC Filing Fee: $90
An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is more groundwork which makes it possible to legally hire employees, set up an official bank account in the next step, and get through tax season much more smoothly.
You can one get through different application options: mail, fax, and telephone. Or, for a more convenient way, you can immediately get an EIN free of charge applying online through the IRS website.
Now it’s time to shop around at different local and national banks to see who has the most convenience and perks to offer your brand. Don’t just assume where you currently bank is the best option, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the business side of banking.
Where you bank is important both short and long term. Furthermore, be absolutely sure that your business bank account is separate from accounts of any other kind. Then sync it with your accounting software and you’re golden.
This isn’t actually a requirement or mandatory in any sense, but we’re big proponents of internal operating agreements. They add a layer of security for everyone involved and along with declaring rights/duties they “define each member or manager’s rights, powers, and entitlements. This includes capital accounts, membership interest, distributions of profit and allocated tax responsibility, etc.”
Often these things aren’t all figured out in the beginning of small businesses, and if that’s the case you can put a pin in this step. Just please recognize this is an official document that reinforces the structure of your LLC. Without it, the default state rules basically run the show. To get started, consider checking out an nifty Operating Agreement template which you can customize yourself.
One of the last but most important steps has to do with establishing your brand’s tax identity and getting all the right licenses to comply with current statutes and regulations. Depending on the nature of your business, this could be quite simple or a bit more complex.
To get started bookmark the Wilmington district office of the Small Business Administration, and the Division of Corporation’s Business Services page because they’re likely going to be go-to sources for a variety of things along the way. If you need help with this step, consider professional Business License Research packages that can quickly source all the right documents for you.