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 SC, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the Sec. of 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 to Reserve Name form with the Sec. of State that’s good for 120 days.

Filing Fee: $25

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

A South Carolina Registered Agent performs “service of process”, or in other words they’re responsible for receiving and helping process important documents like state filings, legal notices, tax forms, etc. on behalf of your LLC. The agent can be an individual resident or a domestic/foreign business entity registered with the state. A physical street address is also required.

You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get your agent free when you register an LLC with a filing service like IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this and more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION

Register an LLCTo be a legal business entity you must download, print out, complete and file the Articles of Organization with the Sec. of State. Don’t file until ready. It’s a declarative official document for the public record that discloses the basics of your brand including:

  •  Name and address of the South Carolina LLC;
  •  Full name and address of the LLC’s Registered Agent;
  •  Full name and address of each of the LLC’s organizer;
  •  Note whether the LLC will be manager or member managed;

Filing Fee: $110

STEP 4) GET AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your BusinessYour EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is a federal identifier similar to a social security number for individuals. You’ll need it to handle a good portion of and process your taxes, to set up your business bank accounts, hire employees, etc. Thankfully it’s very easy to get one and set up in “the system.”

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 AccountAs a new business owner in South Carolina, you need to keep your business and personal finances separate by opening a separate bank account. This keeps everything clean and tidy for yourself, your team, and relevant governing agencies.

Another important thing to note is that opening a business account can help you keep finances on track; monitor the ins and outs, and put the profits/assets where they belong. There are many options available so check out this quick outline of the best mainstream Business Checking Accounts to get started.

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating Agreement

An LLC Operating Agreement is a document that outlines the managerial and financial responsibilities of each of the members of the LLC. It also sets down on paper the percentages of ownership, each member’s share of profits or losses, and how the business will be handled should a member leave. So while this isn’t mandatory or required by the state, we highly advise you to draft one even if you’re a solopreneur.

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

STEP 7) HANDLE RELEVANT TAXES & LICENSING/PERMITS

Small Business Taxes

These days it’s fairly simple to set up your brand’s tax identity with the state and federal government. It begins with registering an EIN and then depending on the nature of your business there will be an assortment of other steps you’ll need to take. After that, you’ll need to handle any licenses or permits required by the state.

To get started bookmark the Columbia district office of the Small Business Administration and the state’s Dept. of Commerce page because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. Also, check out Business License Research packages that can handle the legwork.

OPTIONAL) BUILD YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanIt’s your game plan; your blueprint! During the initial startup phase when you’re running on almost 100% reaction to feedback, iterations, rapid growth, etc., informal planning can be just as effective.

However, once you need to seriously consider your brand, and funding becomes an issue, or taking on serious partners, having a presentation-ready plan that focuses on the core fundamentals is a necessity. To see what we mean check out the links below.

  • 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 BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteIn the internet age, it’s critical to have an online presence for your South Carolina LLC. This builds credibility and allows your customers to learn more about your business – which is good!

Although building a website was extremely difficult to do in the early 2000’s, nowadays you can use a simple tool like Wix or Weebly to build a customizable website. No need to spend thousands on a custom designer and you can learn how to do it yourself. Enjoy!

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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional..