STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR LLC NAME

Choose a Business NameTo 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 and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

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 an Application for Reservation of Name and reserve the name for a $20 fee.

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentA Maine Registered Agent is a certified individual or business entity that acts as an intermediary, receiving and helping to handle/process all official documents on your brand’s behalf. They must be a legal resident of the state or registered to conduct business and have a Maine street address where they can be reached at all times during regular hours of operation.

You can hire an outside professional service and pay up to $160/year, or get a Maine Registered Agent free of charge when you register an LLC with a service like IncFile or CorpNet. (They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.)

STEP 3) FILE CERTIFICATE OF FORMATION

Register an LLCTo legally register an LLC in Maine, you need to file the LLC Certificate of Formation. They’re like the articles of organization in that they officially declare to the state all the very basic details of your company, like name and address, names and addresses of all owners, the registered agent, nature of the business, etc., for the public record.

Just be sure not to file this until you’re ready and have all the needed information so there aren’t any hiccups.

Filing Fee: $100

STEP 4) PROCESS AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLCAn EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is absolutely essential if you want to be able to do things like legally hire employees, set up an official bank account in the next step, and pay your taxes. Like a social security number, it allows the state/federal government to keep track of your business activity.

You can obtain an EIN in a variety of ways, but the simplest is to quickly get one free of charge through the IRS Website.

STEP 5) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountTake some time to shop around and see which bank/credit union has the most convenience and perks to offer your brand. Don’t assume where you bank personally is the ideal choice. How’s their online banking? What are their free deposit/withdrawal limits? How high are their monthly fees?

Where you choose to bank is one of the most important decisions so don’t take it lightly. If this will be your first time setting up shop, a) check out this quick breakdown of Business Checking Accounts, and b) make sure to keep your brand’s account completely separate from all other accounts. Don’t muddy the pristine water of your financials.

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating AgreementOkay, first, this document isn’t mandatory or required by law but not having one is incredibly foolish, even for solopreneurs. Not only does it add a layer of protection for your brand (LLC status), but it also helps to deal with financial/management disputes and ensures your company is governed by your own internal set of rules rather than the default set on state books.

To get started, consider checking out this nifty Operating Agreement Tool which you can customize yourself.

STEP 7) HANDLE LLC TAXES & LICENSING

Business LicensesOh yes, we saved the best for last. This is where you go through the final steps of “taking care of the legal stuff” so to speak. How complex or simple this process will be depends on a number of variables including:

  • Your specific location/county within Maine.
  • Whether your work directly with the public.
  • The nature of your business.
  • Whether you have employees.

Bookmark the Augusta district office of the Small Business Administration, and the LLC section of the state’s Corporations Division because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. 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.

OPTIONAL) WORK ON A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanStartup Savant has interviewed hundreds of modern entrepreneurs in the trenches of the 21st century, so we understand the many different levels of planning startups use in the initial stages. They typically aren’t out hunting for funding quite yet. If they were they’d need to have a professional business plan in their hands.

Not a 40-page tome about your brand, but the streamlined and clarified core fundamentals: marketing approach, executive summary/pitch, financials/forecasts, management/operations, etc. No serious investor, lending institution, VC, or CrowdFunding Platform will take you seriously without it.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • This Business Plan Software Guide is our savvy breakdown of all the best software solutions to help you plan better. (Spoiler: We’re huge fans of LivePlan, plus they offer our readers a special discount.)

OPTIONAL) BUILD A BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business Website

It doesn’t matter how beautiful a website, or how many bells and whistles it has, or how much money you dump into it – if it isn’t responsive and easy to use your conversions will suffer. Thankfully the process by which brands these days are simplifying/optimizing outdated sites and building new ones is easier and less expensive than it used to be.

If you aren’t a designer and you don’t have one in-house, check out platforms like Wix and Weebly. Regardless, get your brand into the digital marketplace and enjoy the prosperous years ahead!

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

Note that this article on how to form an LLC in Maine isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form an LLC in Maine or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.