How Much Does it Cost to Start an LLC?

Businesswoman browsing on computer and taking notes.

Starting and maintaining a limited liability company (LLC) is surprisingly inexpensive — especially when you consider that an LLC can protect your personal assets and help grow your business. 

It’s possible to start an LLC in many states for less than $100. Read our How Much Does it Cost to Start an LLC guide below for more details about the cost of starting and maintaining an LLC. 

Save Time with a Professional Service

You can form an LLC yourself and save a little money or use a professional service and save a lot of time. 

Four point six out of five stars. Northwest ($29 plus state fees)

LLC Cost

The cost of starting a limited liability company (LLC) depends on the state in which you conduct business and if you complete the process yourself or hire professional help.

LLC Filing Fees

You will need to file your LLC’s Articles of Organization (sometimes called a Certificate of Formation or a Certificate of Organization) with the appropriate department in your state. This fee varies by state, ranging from $40 to more than $500, with an average cost of about $100 to $150.

Explore your options. Read our Best LLC Services review to learn more about LLC formation services and pricing.

Registered Agent Services

Your LLC will need to appoint a registered agent (also known as a statutory agent, resident agent, or agent for service of process in some states). 

You can appoint a member of the LLC to act as registered agent, which is free. The downside is that, by law, your registered agent must be available during normal business hours at a specific address to receive service of process.

Registered agent services charge between $50 and $300 per year. Some LLC formation services will include this service for free for the first year.

Free Registered Agent For New LLCs

Northwest provides a year of free registered agent service with their $29 LLC formation package.

Annual/Biennial Report

Most states require LLCs to file a regular report and pay an annual fee. The frequency of this report varies by state, but it’s usually every one or two years. Annual report fees can typically range anywhere from $10 to $500.

Note: Not all states have annual/biennial reports, but most do have some sort of ongoing fees that need to be paid (e.g., business license renewal fees, etc.).

Franchise/Excise/State Taxes

Some states require LLCs to pay an annual franchise tax. This could be based on a flat rate, your company’s revenue, or some other financial metric. Read more about Taxes

LLC Notice of Formation: Publication

Three states — Arizona, Nebraska, and New York — require LLCs to publish a notice of their organization in a local newspaper.

This can cost between $40 and $2,000, depending on your location.

For New York LLCs, we recommend reading our New York Publication Requirements guide to learn more about saving on publication fees.

LLC Operating Agreement

It’s strongly recommended that every LLC have an operating agreement. There’s no filing fee for operating agreements, and it’s possible to write one yourself or use a free template. Or, you may prefer to have an attorney help you or to use a paid template or other professional services.

Depending on your choice, the cost of creating an LLC operating agreement can range from nothing to more than $1,000.

Business Name Reservation

Only Alabama requires LLCs to reserve their business name before registering it and filing their Articles of Organization. However, a number of states offer this option if you have a name in mind and want to reserve it before you officially register your business.

This cost varies from state to state but generally is less than $50.

LLC Formation Service

While it’s possible to complete all the paperwork to form an LLC yourself, you may want to hire professional help.LLC Formation services tend to cost anywhere from $40 to $350, depending on the company and the additional features included in the package.

DBA Registration

You may wish to register a DBA name for your LLC at some point. An LLC can use a DBA to rebrand their business without going through the work of legally changing the LLCs name. A DBA is sometimes referred to as also be known as a trade or a fictitious name depending on your state. 

Some states — such as New Mexico — do not have any method through which you can register a DBA. 

Other states may leave this to the county level (e.g., South Carolina, etc.).

Other Potential LLC Costs

You might encounter a handful of other potential expenses when forming an LLC, such as:

  • Expediting Fees: Some states offer expedited processing of your LLC’s Articles of Organization for an additional fee. While this may prove useful if you’re in a rush, expedited processing generally isn’t necessary.
  • Attorney Fees: Some business owners prefer to hire an attorney to help them with certain aspects of creating their LLC, including writing the operating agreement.
  • Website and URL: You’ll want to have a business website for your LLC. The cost of developing and maintaining this site can vary, depending on the service provider and the specific services you choose. We recommend securing a domain name right away.
  • Certified Copy Fees: If you want a certified copy of your Articles of Organization or other documents you file with your state, most states offer these at a nominal cost.

LLC Formation Cost: FAQ

How much does starting an LLC cost?

The cost of registering an LLC business structure varies from state to state and can cost in total anywhere from $50 to $500.

Using an LLC formation service will add an additional fee between $40 and $350.

What are the state fees for an LLC?

Each state charges limited liability companies a fee to file their Articles of Organization. This fee ranges between $40 and more than $500, depending on the state. Some states also charge a regular reporting fee and an annual franchise tax.

Take a look at our state LLC fees map to learn more: Cost to Form an LLC

Do I need a lawyer to start an LLC?

A lawyer is not required to start an LLC, but some owners hire one to help them create their LLC’s operating agreement.

Hiring an LLC formation service can make the process easier.

Should I use an LLC formation service?

Using a professional formation service to start your LLC can help save you time and allow you to focus on other aspects of your business. Check out our guide to the best LLC formation services to learn about pricing and packages.

What is the best state to set up an LLC?

While the costs and regulations can differ from state to state, it’s generally best to form an LLC in the state in which it will conduct business.

Learn More Here: Best State to Form an LLC

Does an LLC need a registered agent?

Yes, you need a registered agent to form and maintain an LLC in every state except for New York. You can either appoint someone from inside the company or pay for a registered agent service.

Is an EIN free?

Yes, an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is free.

Learn more here: How to Get an EIN Number