7 Simple Steps
Use our free guide below to form an LLC in Ohio or have a reliable service do it for you:
– IncFile ($49 + state fee) for basic & quick LLC formation.
– LegalZoom ($149 + state fee) for the most popular LLC service available.
To secure and register your brand name it must be unique (i.e. not too similar to another business name registered in Ohio), and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. Your LLC name must also contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited”, or the abbreviation “LLC” or “Ltd”.
To check if your name is available, conduct a business name search through the Ohio Secretary of State. If your desired name is already taken, you’ll either have to modify it to make it distinguishable, or rethink your name altogether.
If needed, you can reserve your business name for $39.00.
Remember, this isn’t optional in Ohio — 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 GoDaddy 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!
A statutory agent, or registered agent, is an intermediary who is responsible for officially receiving and helping process important paperwork like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so forth.
They may be either an individual who’s a resident of Ohio, or a business entity that’s legally registered with the Secretary of State. Either way, they’ll be required to provide an Ohio address.
Ohio doesn’t forbid business owners from acting as their own statutory agents, but it’s a lot to take on while running a business (read our guide to learn more). We highly recommend delegating this task to a professional.
We think the best way to get professional statutory agent services is through an online filing provider like IncFile. They include a full year free when you form your Ohio LLC with them, and after the first year’s up it’s only $99 to renew.
To legally form an LLC in Ohio, you’ll have to file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. You can either file online or on paper through postal mail. The document is a declaration of the basics of your brand for the public record, including:
Filing Fee: $99.00 (several expedited options available)
An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is a nine-digit number that’s used to track business activity and makes it possible to open a business bank account, hire employees, and so on. It’s required by both state and federal governments for essentially the same reasons that individuals are required to have Social Security Numbers.
That said, some single-member LLCs are not actually required to have EINs. If you’re working without any partners, you may be able to get away without one. Refer to this IRS page to learn more.
Obtaining an EIN is fairly painless. The most efficient way to get one is by using the IRS free online application, but there are several other ways to go about it too. We outline all of them in our EIN guide.
It’s absolutely essential that you completely separate your business expenses from your personal bank account. To avoid muddying the financial waters, you’ll need to open up a separate bank account designated to your business finances.
Where your company chooses to bank is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Between local, state and national banks and credit unions, you have an abundance of options at your disposal.
Different types of banks have different strengths, from customer service to ATM accessibility to online banking features. Figure out what your priorities are, then take the time to familiarize yourself with what local and national options have to offer. Take a look at our top 5 business bank accounts to get started on your research.
While you won’t file this document with the state, it’s foolish to be in business without it. Your operating agreement will serve as the governing document for your LLC, defining exactly how the company will run. This will include information such as:
Having an operating agreement adds a layer of protection for everyone involved, and allows members to easily prevent or resolve disputes. Even solopreneurs should have one.
To get started, check out our favorite templates, or consider adding a custom operating agreement to an online incorporation package.
The final step is to make sure your LLC is operating in total compliance with the federal, state and local government by taking care of any business taxes, licenses and permits. Here are some of the best resources for each:
If you don’t have a legal team to help you sort out licensing requirements, you might consider getting professional help from a business license service. They’ll do all the research on your behalf and send the necessary paperwork to your door (or inbox)!
If you’d like help forming an LLC in Ohio, feel free to read our reviews of the three most popular services available.