Step 1) Name Your New Hampshire LLC
To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in New Hampshire, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording.
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 through postal mail that's good for 120 days.
Filing Fee: $15
Remember, this isn’t optional in New Hampshire-- 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 Registered Agent can be an individual resident of the state or a legally registered domestic/foreign business entity with a physical street address and regular M-F business hours.
On behalf of your brand they receive and help process important business documents like state filings, tax forms, legal notices and so on. They’re essential and required by law.
That said, you can hire a 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a qualified agent free of charge when you start an LLC through IncFile. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.
Step 3) File Certificate Of Formation
Keep in mind that you need to register/reserve the name first before filing the LLC Certificate of Formation with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Don't try to file these forms simultaneously. And, don't file this particular form until you're ready.
It's for the public record and officially declares the basics of your LLC like name and address, hours of operation, Registered Agent name and address, nature of business, management details, etc. An SRA Form should also be attached with the Certificate of Formation stating that your LLC has complied with the necessary New Hampshire securities laws.
Filing Fee: $100
Step 4) Get An EIN
An EIN, or FEIN, which is a Federal Employer Identification Number is almost exactly like a social security number but for businesses. Once you have it you can legally hire employees, get taxes paid, and set up your brand's bank accounts in the next step.
Step 5) Open A Business Bank Account
Now you get to decide where to bank. And this isn't personal banking, so if you're brand new to this then please do some homework and shop around.
Look at different local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions. There's plenty of great deals, perks, and kickbacks to be had.
The other big important factor is making sure to completely separate your brand's financials from other data streams and bank accounts of any kind. Here’s a quick breakdown article of Small Business Checking Accounts from some of the biggest banks like Capital One to begin your research.
Step 6) Draft An Operating Agreement
This isn't mandated by state or federal law, but we think it should be for a variety of reasons.
First, it sets down on paper the managerial/financial duties and responsibilities of all owning and managerial parties. This includes profit sharing, ownership percentages, and your own stipulated rules of operation.
Not only will this add layers of protection for everyone involved, including your new company's LLC status, but it also trumps default New Hampshire state rules which take over if you don't have this document in place. To get started, consider using an online Operating Agreement template which you can customize yourself.
Step 7) Handle Taxes & Licensing
Obviously you understand taxes and licensing are the primary "legal stuff" involved with forming any kind of business. Of all the other steps however, keeping track and doing proper research is extremely important.
Get started by bookmarking the Concord district office of the Small Business Administration and the state’s Small Biz Development Center page because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. If you're going to need help, look into professional Business License Research packages that can quickly source all needed documents for you.
Need Help Forming an LLC?
If you’d like help forming an LLC in New Hampshire, feel free to read our reviews of the two most popular services.