Step 1) Verify & Secure Your Brand Name
To secure and register your brand name it should be unique, not too similar to another registered name in OR, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording.
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, an Application for Name Reservation can be submitted to the Sec. of State's Central Business Registry that's valid for 120 days.
Filing Fee: $100
Remember, this isn’t optional in Oregon-- 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
Every Oregon LLC must have a Registered Agent who receives and helps process important documents like state filings. There are a few state-mandated requirements that must be observed:
- The individual must be a resident of Oregon; or,
- A business entity legally registered to operate in the state.
- The agent should provide a physical street address upon designation.
You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year or get an Oregon Registered Agent free of charge when you register an LLC through filing services like IncFile. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.
Step 3) File Articles Of Organization
Download the LLC-specific Articles of Organization which need to be filed with the Oregon Central Business Registry through mail when you're ready to become an official business entity. The form declares the basics of your new brand for the public record including:
- LLC name and complete address;
- LLC Registered Agent name and complete address;
- LLC organizer(s) name and complete address;
- Notice if the LLC will be managed by a member or a manager;
LLC Filing Fee: $100
Step 4) Get An EIN
Your EIN, or FEIN, which stands for Federal Employer Identification Number, is almost exactly like a social security number but for businesses.
State and federal agencies use it to track your business activity so it’s essential. You also use it to open business bank accounts and legally hire employees among other things.
Step 5) Start A Business Bank Account
This step's about deciding where set up your brand’s financial foundation. And this isn’t personal banking, so if you’re new to the business-side of things do some shopping around. Look at least at a handful of local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions. There’s plenty of great deals, perks, incentives and kickbacks to be leveraged.
The other important thing to remember is to completely separate your brand’s financials from data streams and bank accounts of any other kind. Don't muddy the waters! Here’s a quick breakdown article of Business Checking Accounts from some of the biggest banks to begin your research.
Step 6) Draft An Operating Agreement
No, you do not have to have the operating agreement by law. But we, along with any decent business consultant, will tell you to have one even if you're a solopreneur because Oregon's default rules take over if one isn't in place.
It also provides your LLC status with some protection and lays out on paper managerial/ownership financial duties, rights, and responsibilities along with basic rules of operation. Pretty important, right?
To get started, choose and use an online Operating Agreement template which you can customize yourself.
Step 7) Handle LLC Taxes & Licensing/Permits
Getting square with Oregon state/federal taxes and getting the right business permits/licenses is required.
So depending on the nature of your business, how many employees your have, your location and a number of other things it’ll either be a cake walk or take some time. This is why having an attorney or taking time to do your own research is highly recommended.
Start by bookmarking the Portland 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 take care of the groundwork for you.
Need Help Forming an LLC?
If you'd like help forming an LLC in Oregon, feel free to read our reviews of the two most popular services available.