Step 1) Verify & Secure Your Brand Name
To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the state.
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 file a Reservation for Business Name form for $25 and reserve the name for 60 days.
Remember, this isn’t optional in Louisiana-- it’s mandatory.
Quick Note: Before you commit 100% to a name, you may also want to check that there’s a decent URL available for your business. Use Weebly to search your options. If there’s a quality domain name for purchase, we advise buying it right away. Even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it’s going to be soon, and you might as well nail down a domain name that’ll make it easy for customers to find you!
Step 2) Appoint A Registered Agent
A Louisiana Registered Agent must be a resident of the state, an individual attorney, a partnership from Louisiana or a foreign/domestic organization legally registered to act as one. They're responsible for receiving and helping you to handle/process all official documentation like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so on.
You can hire a third party service and pay up to $160/year, or get a qualified agent free of charge when you form an LLC through an incorporation service. They handle this along with so much more depending on your startup package.
Step 3) File Articles Of Organization
Download, properly fill out, and then file Articles of Organization with the Louisiana Secretary of State once you've secured your brand name/registered agent and are ready to start conducting business. An Initial Report should also be attached to the Articles of Organization form.
It's an official declaration of the basics of your business including name/address, hours of operation, ownership details, registered agent details, etc. Once you have it notarized it can be filed either through the mail or online.
LLC Filing Fee: $100
Step 4) Get An EIN
An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is like a social security number for businesses that allows them to legally hire employees, establish bank accounts, and file taxes. Just about every transaction your business makes is tracked with this number so it's essential.
While there are a variety of ways to get one these days, it can be taken care of quickly, easily and free of charge by applying online through the IRS Website.
Step 5) Open A Business Bank Account
This account should be used to monitor the ins and outs of your finances, and put profits and assets where they belong - in a completely separate bank account that's synced with your business accounting software. Don't make the mistake of using your personal account or mixed personal accounts.
For a quick look at some of our favorite places to bank check out this quick breakdown article of Small Business Checking Accounts. But don't take this choice lightly, be sure you understand the basics of business banking and look at a variety of local, state, and national banks.
Step 6) Draft An Operating Agreement
While it's true that this internal document isn't mandatory or required by law, we honestly believe it should be, even for solopreneurs. It's about protecting yourself, your team, and your brand's LLC status. Internally it outlines managerial responsibilities, financial duties, essentially the rules of operation and more.
To get started, consider checking out this list of nifty Operating Agreement Tools which you can customize for your LLC.
Step 7) Handle LLC Taxes & Business Licensing
Getting situated with state and federal taxes isn’t optional. Today it can be much simpler in Louisiana though with a little help and research time. How many licenses you’ll need and how many fees and things will be determined by a number of variables including your type of business, your products & services, whether you work with the public, location, etc.
Bookmark the New Orleans district office of the Small Business Administration and Sec. of State’s Business Services page because they’re likely going to be go-to sources along the way. If you need additional help, there’s a Business License Service we recommend. They determine everything required on Federal, State, County and Municipal levels, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.
Need Help Forming an LLC?
If you'd like help forming an LLC in Louisiana, feel free to read our reviews of the two most popular services available.