Running an LLC

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Daniel Dersham, Esq.

Rocket Lawyer On Call Attorney

So You’ve Incorporated as an LLC. What’s Next?

1. Create an LLC Operating Agreement

After you’ve incorporated with your state, it’s time to make an LLC Operating Agreement. An Operating Agreement allows you to define your company’s goals and purpose, set roles for members, split profits and responsibilities, and even determine what happens if one of your owners decides to quit. It’s the most important document you’ll make for your new LLC.

We also provide a Single Member LLC Operating Agreement for business owners who've formed as a solo Limited Liability Company.  

2. Choose a Registered Agent

A registered agent is the person or company who receives legal or tax documents on behalf of a business. Every business needs one and your LLC is no exception. Who serves as your agent, on the other hand, is up to you. You can choose to be your own registered agent, though that could be problematic if you’re served papers and are out on a job or enjoying a vacation. And if you work at home, that means your address can become public. That’s something many owners simply don’t want.

Rocket Lawyer can help. We’ve served as a registered agent for businesses in all 50 states and can help keep you compliant with your state and local governments. Just head to our Registered Agent Services page to get started. It only takes a few minutes to secure a dedicated registered agent for your growing small business.

3. Secure Permits and Licenses

Depending on the kind of business you’re running, you may need to get a few permits and licenses from your state or local government. For example, if you’re running a restaurant, you’ll probably need to schedule a health inspection before you open your doors. You may need to apply for a seller’s permit, a signage permit, a zoning permit, or any number of local licenses, but again, these vary depending on what your business is doing and where your business is operating. It’s a great idea to ask a lawyer what’s necessary where you live.

4. Plan for the Future

Every state has different ongoing requirements for LLCs. Some require companies to file annual or biennial reports, while others simply require yearly fees to do business in the state. And nearly every state expects LLCs to keep financial and employment records at the ready. The penalties for failing to stay compliant can be costly, so it’s a great idea to plan ahead and make certain you’re staying on top of your responsibilities. If you’re having any trouble, feel free to give us a call at (800) 518-8976 or just ask a lawyer your question.

Common Questions About Running an LLC

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Common Questions About Running an LLC

How are LLCs taxed?

LLCs are taxed as a pass-through tax entity. That means that the owners of the company will pay taxes on their personal income returns but the company itself doesn’t get taxed. In other words, you may choose to pay yourself a salary from your LLC and then you’ll pay taxes on that. If you have employees, they’ll need to be accountable for Medicare, payroll taxes, and any other taxes the state you’ve incorporated in levies.

How long does it take to for the state to approve my filing?

Wait times vary significantly by state and, moreover, by the amount of recent filings that your state is currently processing. In other words, if there are a lot of other business owners incorporating around the same time, you’ll likely wait longer. Nearly every state allows you to pay a little more to expedite or rush your filing if you’re eager to get started. If you’ve incorporated with us, feel free to email or call your business specialist for an update.

Is my business name protected?

When you incorporate, your state will have checked your business name against existing companies in your state. Names that are not unique (or are similar enough that they might cause confusion) are rejected by the state itself. In other words, once you’ve incorporated, no one else in your state will be able to incorporate a business of the same name. To really protect your name, of course, you need to use it. Doing so will establish a “common law” trademark, meaning that you’ll be able to prevent other businesses from using your name. You can also register for a trademark with the government, which makes proving your use of your business name much easier.

What happens if I don’t submit the right paperwork?

When you incorporate with Rocket Lawyer, we’ll handle the incorporation paperwork for you. If there are any issues—such as another company already using your fledgling business name—we’ll contact you and work out alternatives, then follow up with the state.

As your LLC grows, you’ll likely need to submit annual (or biennial) reports and pay a yearly fee. Again, these differ by state. If you neglect to file these reports or pay these fees, you could be subject to fines and other penalties. Thankfully, reporting is usually a fairly easy task, requiring just basic information about your company (where it’s located, how many employees it has, etc.) and doesn’t really take much time to complete.

More LLC Documents 

Hire Employees

Employment Application Find the right employee for your LLC
Employment Contract Hire with confidence
Temporary Employment Contract Get help for a short job

Get Outside Help

Non-Disclosure Agreement Protect your secrets
Confidentiality Agreement Make sure your deal stays under wraps

Human Resources

Employee Evaluation Let an employee know how they're doing
Employee Handhook Lay out the rules for your LLC
Leave of Absence Form Excuse an employee for a period of time

Make Deals

General Contract for Services Provide a service for pay
General Contract for Products Provide goods for pay
See all our Service Contracts Browse our specific service contracts

Protect your Intellectual Property

License Agreement Allow use of your intellectual property
Trademark Application Worksheet Start trademarking your LLC
Provisional Patent Application Start the patent process

Manage Partnerships

Partnership Agreement Begin a lucrative partnership
Partnership Dissolution Agreement Dissolve an existing partnership
Joint Venture Agreement Start working with another business or person

Raise Money

Offering Memorandum Attract investors
Business Plan Lay out your company's direction
Business Proposal Show an investor why you're asking for support