Step 1) Verify & Secure Your Brand Name
To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in WV, 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.
Filing Fee: $15
Remember, this isn’t optional in West Virginia-- 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 WV 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 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a West Virginia agent free when you use an LLC filing service like IncFile.
Step 3) File Articles Of Incorporation
To form your businesses legally, download a copy of the Articles of Organization (Form LLD-1) which will need to be filed with the Sec. of State or Business4WV. It's a declarative document for the public record that discloses the basics of your brand including:
- West Virginia LLC name and address,
- Name and address of registered agent,
- Name and address of organizers,
- Date of formation and method of management,
Filing Fee: $100
Step 4) Get An EIN
Like a social security number for individuals, an EIN, or Employer Identification Number is used by the state and federal government to track your business activity.
It’s used for tax purposes, to allow you to set up business bank accounts, hire employees and more. The good news it’s very easy to get these days and get synced with "the system."
Step 5) Open A Business Bank Account
Firstly, no other accounts of any kind or any other income/expense streams of data should be mixed in with your brand's account!
This is a costly and completely avoidable mistake far too many entrepreneurs make. Secondly, do some homework and research different options between local, state, and federal banks along with credit unions.
Don’t be quick to decide! The amount of annual costs/savings from one bank to the next, relative to their other services, can be substantial. To see for yourself, here’s a quick breakdown article of Business Checking Accounts from some of the biggest banks to begin your research.
Step 6) Draft An LLC Operating Agreement
What's this about? Well, the first thing to know is that it’s not required by law or mandatory. But, it puts down on paper the official duties and responsibilities of owners/managers. Furthermore it outlines financial matters like ownership percentages, any profit sharing information and so forth. So it shouldn't surprise you that we and countless startup consultants advise even solopreneurs have one on the books.
To get started, consider checking out an online Operating Agreement Tool which you can customize yourself.
Step 7) Handle LLC Taxes & Licensing/Permits
This step is where an attorney or doing in-depth research yourself ensures there aren’t any costly hiccups.Depending on a number of variables there’s forms to fill out and fees to pay to be compliant. The good news is that West Virginia is a startup-friendly state with a number of incentives, kickbacks, and streamlined regulatory paths.
Depending on a number of variables, there are forms to fill out and fees to pay to be compliant. The good news is that West Virginia is a startup-friendly state with a number of incentives, kickbacks, and streamlined regulatory paths.
To get started bookmark the Clarksburg district office of the Small Business Administration, and set up an account with Business4WV because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. If you need additional help, there’s a Business License Service we recommend. They determine everything required on Federal, State, County and Municipal levels, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.
Need Help Forming an LLC?
If you'd like help forming an LLC in West Virginia, feel free to read our reviews of the two most popular services available.