STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR LLC NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in New York, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a free 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 like ‘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 mail with the Division of Corps that’s good for 60 days.

Filing Fee: $20

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentYour NY Registered Agent is a sort of legal representative of your brand, but not in a lawyer or attorney-sense. It’s their job to officially receive/process important business documents like state filings, legal notices, tax forms, and so forth. This is why they have to be either a NY resident individual or a registered business entity and be reliable during all regular business hours M-F (9a.m. to 5p.m.).

That said, you can hire 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a registered agent free when you start an LLC through IncFile or BizFilings. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION

Register an LLCDownload and print out the Articles of Organization which will need to be filed with the Division of Corporations of the New York Department of State when you’re ready to set up shop and go into business.

It’s an important declarative document about the basics of your brand for the public record – county where the LLC will be located, name and address of brand, registered agent info, hours of operation, etc. You can file through mail or by using the state’s Online Filing System.

LLC Filing Fee: $200

STEP 4) GET AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLCWhat’s an EIN, or Employer Identification Number? It’s almost exactly like a social security number but for businesses instead of flesh and blood individuals. You’ll need it to process taxes, set up business bank accounts, to legally hire employees and more. But don’t worry, it’s easy to get one these days.

To get your free EIN number, you can print out and mail in This IRS Form or apply online using the IRS Website.

STEP 5) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountFirst and foremost, make sure that your LLC’s bank accounts aren’t mingled with any others of any kind. It’s a huge mistake you can avoid with ease, okay? Secondly, don’t just assume where you bank personally is the best choice. Is it convenient? Sure, but there are tons of places to build your brand’s financial foundation and many of them are likely offering much better deals and incentives: local, state, and national banks.

To learn about some of these perks from the mainstream perspective see this free Checking Account Guide. It’ll outline the best options including the one we bank with, Capital One.

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating AgreementAn LLC Operating Agreement isn’t mandatory but it’s critical! Along with defining the financial and managerial relationships between owners, an Operating Agreement protects your limited liability status and overrides state-default rules, which may not be applicable to your platform at all.

In other words, if you don’t take the time to write down the ‘rules’ of your LLC, then the state’s default rules take over. If there’s a dispute these may or may not help your LLC survive. Free of charge, you can draft one yourself using one of these Operating Agreement templates which are fully customizable.

STEP 7) HANDLE LLC TAXES & LICENSING

Small Business TaxesReal talk: this is where a professional really comes in handy, especially if the nature of your business means a bit more in the red tape department. There may be a nice stack of paperwork, or just be a couple with corresponding fees. You get the idea. Just be diligent and get these obligations taken care of.

If you’re doing this solo, bookmark the New York district office of the Small Business Administration and the state’s Small Biz Development Center because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. If you need help, consider professional Business License Research packages that can quickly source all needed documents for you.

OPTIONAL) START YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanIn reality, New York’s a tough marketplace. You’re going to need all the help you get and start off on the right track. Plan! Strategize! Be professional! Have a presentation-ready plan at least in the works from Day 1 so you don’t get lost or drown in one of the most extensive economies in the Milky Way.

Having a handle on your goals and objectives is essential, but also how to achieve them – marketing, executive summary, pitch, financials, budgeting, and so on. The process is an astounding teacher all by itself. You’ll see.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • This Planning Software Guide is our savvy breakdown of all the best user-friendly and inexpensive business planning software solutions to help you plan better. (Spoiler: LivePlan is by far the easiest to use and gives our readers a special discount.)

OPTIONAL) BUILD A RESPONSIVE BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteThe last step we wanted to touch on has to do with establishing your new brand’s digital presence. Your home base online. It’s where you provide people with a place to buy, contact, and investigate what you’re about and where you’re going.

It also opens up jaw-dropping amounts of marketing and brand expansion potential. If you’re just getting started check out platforms like Wix, Weebly, and Shopify. We’ve tried each of them and highly recommend signing up for a free trial.

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 New York 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 New York or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.