Whether you want to open a brand new business, or you want to stop doing business as a sole proprietorship, forming an LLC is a popular way to make it official. Real estate investors who have found a property to buy may want to quickly form an LLC to hold the property for asset protection.
There are any number of reasons why you may be wondering, “How quickly can I form an LLC?”
In many cases you can start an LLC very quickly, and depending on processing times, you may be operating as an LLC within weeks.
What’s The Fastest Way To Open An LLC?
To open an LLC, you’ll need to:
- Choose your business name
- Get a registered agent service (not required in all states)
- File Articles of Organization with the state
- Get your Employer Identification Number (EIN)
The state agencies where you file your Articles of Organization (the Secretary of State or Division of Corporations), typically offer the option to file online, by mail or in person. Online filing is the fastest option, but how long it will take depends on how quickly that state processes those applications.
In some states it can take several business days to open a new LLC, and in others it may take a few weeks. In addition, some states offer expedited filing for an additional fee. For example, California offers same day filing for an additional $750 fee.
Business Services that Help Open LLCs Fast
Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a popular business structure that offer numerous benefits. They are relatively easy and inexpensive to set up and they offer liability protection benefits that can help protect your personal finances.
But to enjoy the benefits this type of business entity offers you must set it up and maintain it properly.
You can hire a small business attorney or incorporation service to take care of your LLC formation for you. They will know what paperwork to file in the state you choose, and can help you take this task off your to do list so you can focus on growing your business.
Here are 8 popular business formation services that can help you form an LLC fast.
Northwest Registered Agent
How Much Money Should You Start With An LLC?
In many cases, an LLC can be formed for less than a few hundred dollars. You may be able to file your LLC with just the money for state filing fees. State fees are as less than $50 in some states, and in others they run a few hundred dollars. If you form your LLC in one state (like Delaware) but operate in another you may need to register as a foreign LLC in that other state and there is an additional cost for that.
If your business is required to get a business license to operate, you’ll want to make sure you have enough money for that. You’ll also likely need to file an annual report with your state and pay a fee for that, but hopefully by then you’ll be making money to pay it.
LLC filing fees can typically be charged to a personal or business credit card.
If you’re already operating a business and wonder whether you are making enough money to form an LLC, keep in mind that your business does not have to be profitable to potentially put your personal assets at risk. If you cause an accident while operating in your business as a sole proprietor, the person injured may try to sue you personally.
The US Small Business Administration offers a free startup cost calculator to help you estimate your costs to get your business off the ground.
How Fast Can I Get An LLC In California?
It can take one to two weeks for a California LLC formation filing to be reviewed. The California Secretary of State publishes updates on its website that details how long it takes for various filings to be processed. It notes that processing times increase near the end of the year when volume increases.
It also offers expedited filing for an additional fee:
- 24–Hour Filing Service (Class C) – $350.00: Online Only. Filing response guaranteed electronically within 24 hours (e.g., submitted Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., filing confirmation or filing response available Thursday by 11:00 a.m.)
- Same Day Filing Service (Class B) – $750.00: Online Only. Filing response guaranteed by 4:00 p.m. the same day. Note: The document must be received online by the Secretary of State by 9:30 a.m., and a filing confirmation or filing response will be available online the same day by 4:00 p.m.
- (Temporarily Suspended) 4–Hour Filing Service (Class A) – $500.00: Drop Off Only in Sacramento. Filing response guaranteed within 4 hours (e.g., submitted Monday at 10:00 a.m., filing confirmation or filing response available Monday by 2:00 p.m.) Note: A document must be precleared and approved to be eligible for the 4-Hour Filing Service.
What Are The Requirements For An LLC In California?
The basic steps for creating an LLC in California are:
- Conduct a name search and choose a business name
- Register Your LLC with the Secretary of State
- File a fictitious name (DBA, if using)
- File a Statement of Information
- Apply for an EIN (tax ID number) from the IRS
- Create an LLC Operating Agreement
- Register with the Franchise Tax Board
- Register with the EDD if you are hiring employees
- Apply for a Seller’s Permit
- Comply with County and/or City Tax Requirements
You can learn more about how to start an LLC in California here.