Starting a Louisiana business in today’s digital world is much easier than ever before. Not only are there a variety of online businesses that you can start with very little start-up costs, but the paperwork process to file a business has also nearly been eliminated thanks to online filing services. This guide will help break down the process of starting a Louisiana LLC in no time.
What are the benefits of an LLC?
- LLCs provide liability protection for business owners, meaning that the owners’ assets will not be at risk.
- Easy to set up and manage
- One person may form an LLC
When do you need to form an LLC?
If you are exploring starting a business or perhaps you are already in business as a sole proprietor it is a good idea to form an LLC. If you are operating a business without an LLC you could be placing yourself and your personal assets at risk.
While it is not required to form an LLC before starting a business the benefits include accounting and tax standardization, limited liability risk right away, and it will be easier to stay organized since all of your business-related expenses will be tied to one business bank account.
Step 1: Choose your company name
The first step in starting an LLC is to select a business name. It is essential to choose a business name that is unique from existing entities.
Perform a Louisiana business name search
The Louisiana Secretary of State maintains a database of business entities registered in the state that is free for the public to search.
The search options for Louisiana LLCs are filtered by:
- Partial Word
- File Number
Your Louisiana LLC must contain the words Limited Liability Company or include the abbreviation L.L.C. or LLC. Prefixes, suffixes, and plural versions of an existing entity name do not make it unique.
If you want to start a seafood restaurant called “Crawfish House LLC” you will want to make sure there is not a similar sounding name like “Crawfish Ice House LLC” or else your name be get rejected by the Secretary of State. The intention behind the naming rules is for businesses to create names that are uniquely identifiable from other existing active names so consumers will not get confused.
One great way to come up with unique business names is to use a business name generator.
Perform a trademark search
Perform a trademark search before selecting your Louisiana business name. To protect yourself, avoid using a trademarked or similar name to an existing business.
Find out if your proposed business name is available by conducting a trademark search online at the US Patent & Trademark Office.
If you want to use the same name as another state or country, check with that jurisdiction to make sure the name is available.
Determine if you want to use a DBA name
A DBA is a registered “Doing Business As” name and can be used instead of the legal LLC business entity name.
A DBA allows you to have a name for your business that reflects what it does or who its customers are. Business owners use their company’s DBA names on checks, orders, contracts, and correspondence when doing business.
Some of the main benefits of a DBA:
- Flexibility: If you have your LLC established, you can use DBA names instead of creating separate entities for each new venture.
- Branding: A DBA name is easier to brand and identify for customers.
- Expansion: It is easy to file DBAs in different geographical locations to target other customers and appear hyper-focused in your marketing.
You do not need to operate under a DBA if you use your Louisiana business name for all business purposes. However, using a DBA name will not affect your Louisiana LLC name registration.
Register the domain name
Once you decide on a business name, check to make sure that the domain name is available. Sites like Namechk can show you which domain extensions are available for your business name.
Although .com domain names are ideal, as the internet ages extensions like .net, .co, and .biz are becoming more commonplace
Register social media profiles
It is vital to have a solid social media presence in today’s business environment. Be sure to register for your business name on the different social media platforms ahead of time so that no one can sign up for them.
Reserve Louisiana business name
If you have a Louisiana business name picked out but aren’t quite ready to register the business, one option is to file a Louisiana Name Reservation form.
The cost to file is $25 and is filed through the Secretary of State commercial division in Baton Rouge.
Step 2: Register Louisiana LLC
After choosing a name, start the registration process online at the Louisiana Secretary of State website.
Registering your LLC in Louisiana is a fairly straightforward and quick process:
Select a registered agent
A registered agent is an individual point of contact for the state designated to receive official correspondence from the state.
A registered agent is required for a Louisiana LLC. If you are not personally going to be your Louisiana LLC’s registered agent, find a substitute Louisiana resident or company to serve in this role.
Be sure that the registered agent’s address is included in all your business documents and correspondence if you intend to use a different registered office.
What are Louisiana registered agent requirements?
A Louisiana registered agent:
- must be over the age of 18
- have a physical street address in the state of Louisiana
- be available during normal business hours
Register Louisiana LLC
Fill out Louisiana Articles of Organization
A Louisiana Articles of Organization form is required to be filed for each LLC in Louisiana. The form is easy to fill out and requires the following information:
- Business Name
- Name of Person Filing
- Phone Number
- Registered Agent name and Address
How to File
The Articles of Organization form can be filed online through the GeauxBiz business portal. The Louisiana Secretary of State has done a nice job of transitioning away from extensive paperwork and made the GeauxBiz portal a one-stop shop for business filings and tax account registrations.
Step 3: Next steps after filing Louisiana LLC
Apply for an EIN
The IRS requires each LLC to have its own unique employer identification number. The Internal Revenue Service website can generate a federal tax identification number.
Start a business bank account
A business bank account is required for LLCs to start conducting business. A business bank account helps your financial and personal assets separate.
After the LLC has been established, your business bank account will be used for payroll, payment of bills, a deposit of earnings from your business, and any other financial transactions your business may have.
Back office tasks such as bookkeeping can also be performed on your start-up bank account to keep start-up costs low.
Apply for a business license and permits
If you are planning on selling goods or services in the state of Louisiana, you will need to check with your local parish for their checklist of business licensing requirements.
Prepare an LLC operating agreement
An operating agreement is a contract between the LLC owners that lays out the financial and functional decisions of how a Louisiana LLC, will be managed by its owners. An operating agreement is needed if there are multiple business owners of a Louisiana LLC.
An operating agreement can be as simple or in-depth as desired, but it is important to have one in writing before starting any significant operations within the business.
File annual report
An annual report is filed in Louisiana each year. The cost to file is $35 and you can file through the GeauxBiz portal.
How much does it cost to file a Louisiana LLC?
The state filing fee for a Domestic LLC is $100 while the cost to file a Foreign LLC is $125. The Cost to file a Name Reservation is $25.
Recommended LLC formation services
- Northwest Registered Agent: Started as a registered agent service but expanded into business formations and offered additional professional services like mail forwarding and virtual business address services.
- ZenBusiness: Another recommended online business formation platform that can help set up an LLC in Arizona. They offer a full suite of services for new business owners, including operating agreements, business websites, domain names, and more.
- Incfile: A top online incorporation service provider in the market that offers various business filing services like LLC formation, Registered Agent, State Filings, and Compliance Filings.
Benefits of Starting a Louisiana Business
While it may be overwhelming to start a new business, there are some major benefits to think about if your business ends up being successful. Here are some of the top reasons to give your Louisiana business idea a shot:
Be your own boss
Taking the risk and betting on yourself is one of the best decisions you can ever make. Even though the majority of small businesses fail, the benefits outweigh the risks and you will enjoy being in control of your destiny.
When you work for yourself you will be able to determine the work-life balance you want to create for yourself, and also pick the hours that work best for your schedule.
While there may be more hours when you are first starting, as your business grows you will be able to outsource some of your responsibilities to employees and turn your focus on growing the business.
When you work as an employee your compensation upside is typically limited to the financial plan your employer has laid out for you.
As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest adjustments is not having a guaranteed income, which can be a motivating factor to make your business successful as you have a lot riding on the line. Once your business gets rolling, you will also realize you no longer have a cap on your upside potential which is another big motivator for small business owners.
When you own a small business, you will end up wearing several hats when you get started and learn a variety of skills. Things like accounting, marketing, and sales may not come naturally, but you will be responsible for everything when you get started.
Louisiana LLC FAQs
How many small businesses does Louisiana have?
According to the US Small Business Office of Advocacy, Louisiana has over 450,000 small businesses which make up over 53% of businesses in the state of Louisiana.
What are the largest small business employers by industry?
Health Care and Social Assistance is the largest small business employer in Louisiana as they employ over 160,000 people. Food Services (126,000) and Retail Trade (94,000) are the next most popular.
How do I remove someone from a Louisiana LLC?
To remove or add a member you must fill out the Notice of Change form. If your Annual Report is past due, you may make these changes on your annual report filing.
How do you terminate a (state) LLC?
In Louisiana, you must file an Affidavit to Dissolve a Limited Liability Company form with the Secretary of State in order to dissolve an LLC.
How do you get a Louisiana Certificate of Good Standing?
Corporations can get their certificate of good standing form through the Louisiana business filings portal that is managed by the Louisiana Secretary of State.
How hard is it to start an LLC in Louisiana?
Starting an LLC in Louisiana is a very quick and easy process. You can file directly through the GeauxBiz portal that is managed by the Louisiana Secretary of State, or you can file through an online filing provider like Northwest Registered Agent.
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