How to Start an LLC in North Dakota

L L C members happy after starting an L L C in North Dakota

It’s easy to form an LLC in North Dakota online yourself. Just follow these steps:

  1. Name Your LLC
  2. Choose a Registered Agent
  3. File the ND Articles of Organization
  4. Create an LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN

Or, use a professional service:

four point seven out of five stars Northwest Registered Agent $39 (plus state fees).


Forming an LLC in North Dakota is Easy

You can form a North Dakota LLC online by registering the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. The cost to set up an LLC in North Dakota is $135.

Follow our How to Start an LLC in North Dakota guide below to get started.

Steps to form an L L C in North Dakota

For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, visit our How to Start an LLC guide.

Step 1: Create A Name For Your North Dakota LLC

Before you register your LLC, you'll need to come up with a name. Your business name needs to be catchy for branding purposes and legitimate for legal purposes.

We go into depth on this topic in our LLC naming guide. We’ll go over the basics below.

Naming Your LLC

First, brainstorm some possibilities. Use our LLC name generator to get the ideas flowing.

Next, make sure your name meets North Dakota guidelines:

  • it contains the words limited liability company, limited company, LLC, or L.L.C.
  • it doesn't contain restricted words or phrases (these often include words like bank, attorney, and university) without approval
  • it's distinguishable from any other entity or trade name registered in North Dakota
  • full list of North Dakota naming guidelines (select 10-32.1-11., Page 9)

Next, do a North Dakota LLC name search with the Secretary of State to find out if your name is available in North Dakota.

If your business name is available and meets guidelines, you’ll be able to register it when you file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.

Is the URL available? Before you commit 100% to a name, check to see if there’s a good web domain available.

We recommend buying your domain right away because even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it will be soon.

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Once you register a domain name for your LLC, consider setting up a business phone system to establish credibility and enhance your customer service. Nextiva provides a plethora of useful features and a quick, easy setup. Try Nextiva.

Using a North Dakota Trade Name or Fictitious Name (DBA)

A North Dakota DBA (doing business as), also known as a trade name or fictitious name, is any registered name that a business operates under that isn't its legal business name. A trade name or fictitious name can be used by any type of business, including a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC).

Learn how to get a DBA in our North Dakota DBA guide.

Step 2: Appoint A North Dakota Registered Agent

When you file your Articles of Organization, you'll need to list a registered agent.

A registered agent's job is to accept legal documents like service of process and tax notices for your LLC. To learn more about North Dakota Registered Agents, read our guide.

Your registered agent can be a person or a registered agent service. You can act as your own registered agent, but many business owners choose to use a registered agent service.

Here are a few things to think about before you decide to act as your own registered agent:

  • You’ll need to be available during normal (9 am - 5 pm) business hours at the address you provide
  • If you run your business from home, you’ll have to make your personal address public
  • You could be served with a lawsuit in front of your family or coworkers

Recommended: Northwest Registered Agent offers a free year of registered agent service when you form your LLC ($39 plus state fees).

Step 3: File the ND Articles of Organization

It’s time to officially form your LLC by filing your Articles of Organization with the North Dakota Secretary of State.

You can file online with the Secretary of State. Choose the "Business Limited Liability Company Articles of Organization" icon or the "Professional Limited Liability Company Articles of Organization" if you are a licensed professional such as a doctor or lawyer. 

The filing fee is $135. 

Recommended: Now is a good time to decide if your LLC will be member-managed vs manager-managed.

You'll need to know the following information to complete the form:

  1. Entity Name, Type, and Address
  2. Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
  3. Effective Date and Duration
  4. Business Purpose
  5. Organizer Names and Addresses

For more detailed help with completing the form, visit our North Dakota Articles of Organization guide.

How long does it take to get an LLC approved? LLC processing time can be up to 4 weeks.

Step 4: Create An LLC Operating Agreement

Creating a North Dakota LLC operating agreement is the only way to legally lock down your LLC’s management and ownership structure. Having this document in place will give you something to return to if a dispute or lawsuit arises. 

Even single-member LLCs benefit from having an operating agreement.

Your operating agreement should outline the following:

  • Each member’s responsibilities
  • How new members will be admitted
  • How existing members may transfer or terminate their membership
  • How profits and dividends will be distributed

You can add as many provisions as you want, as long as they don't conflict with North Dakota business law. Take a look at our What is an Operating Agreement guide to learn more.

Download a template or create a custom Free Operating Agreement using our tool.

Step 5: Get an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a Social Security number (SSN) for your company. The IRS and the state of North Dakota will use this number to track your business activity.

Your EIN will come in handy when it’s time to:

  • Open a business bank account
  • File Federal and State taxes
  • Hire employees

The best way to get an EIN for your LLC in North Dakota is by using the free online application on the IRS website.

Read our Get an EIN guide for instructions.

Need Help Forming an LLC?

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Steps After Forming an LLC

After forming your LLC, it's important to:

  • Open a business bank account. A business bank account helps separate personal expenses and company expenses, which is required to maintain your LLC's corporate veil. A corporate veil protects your personal assets from creditors in potential lawsuits against your LLC or Business.

    Learn more by reading this guide to Banking for Entrepreneurs. For a multi-member LLC, you'll also want to set up capital accounts for members. We also recommend checking out our review of the best business bank accounts.
  • Get a business credit card. A business credit card will help separate personal and business expenses while building your company’s credit history. A strong credit history will be useful for raising capital in the form of small business loans.
  • Hire a business accountant. A business accountant will help you save on taxes and avoid penalties and fines. An accountant makes bookkeeping and payroll easier. Find out how much you could be saving with a consultation with a business accountant.
  • Get business insurance. Business insurance helps manage risk. The most common forms of business insurance are general liability, professional liability, and workers’ compensation.

Find out the real cost of getting insurance for your business. Get a free quote or call 855-602-1925.

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Need Help Forming an LLC?

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