Ohio is an excellent location to start and grow your small business. If you opt for a Limited Liability Company (LLC), like most entrepreneurs, you can take advantage of tax benefits and liability protection.
An LLC is simply a legal business structure that allows you to separate yourself and your personal assets from your business. So in case your business gets sued or goes into debt, you and your personal assets will not be liable in any way.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to start an LLC in Ohio, to help you officially structure and launch your small business legally.
Choose a Name for Your Ohio LLC
To start an LLC in Ohio, you’ll first need to choose a name for it. The name of your LLC must comply with the naming requirements of the state. These requirements include the following:
The name must contain the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations like “L.L.C.” or “LLC”
The name cannot include words that are used to name government agencies like Treasury, FBI, CIA, State Department, etc.
The use of certain restricted words like an attorney, bank, credit union, lawyer, etc., may require additional paperwork and documentation
The name must be unique and distinguishable from other existing entities in Ohio
Once you have a LLC name in mind, you can check its availability on the Ohio Secretary of State website or by clicking here.
If your LLC name is already taken or unavailable, you must come up with a different name. Business name generator is an excellent free online resource for name ideas for your LLC.
Appoint a Statutory Agent
A statutory agent, also known as a registered agent in most other states, is a person or entity authorized to receive official legal documents, notices, tax forms, service of process, and other legal paperwork on behalf of your LLC.
The state requires you to appoint a statutory agent when starting an LLC in Ohio. This can be an entity like a statutory or registered agent service or a person, including yourself or an employee of your LLC.
According to state law, the statutory agent must:
Have an address in Ohio
Be available on-site to accept documents during regular business hours
If you appoint an entity or company as your statutory agent, they must provide statutory agent services.
If you are having trouble appointing one for your LLC, you can pay a small fee to appoint a statutory agent service like this one.
Check If You Need Licenses
Depending on several factors, your Ohio LLC may need a license to operate in Ohio. For example, many businesses in Ohio need a business license to operate legally in the state. You can refer to this checklist on the official Ohio.gov website to determine if your LLC requires a business license for the type of business it wants to run.
Similarly, if your Ohio LLC, its members, or employees sell taxable services or tangible personal items, the state requires you to register for a vendor’s license from the Ohio Department of Taxation. You can obtain your vendor’s license in Ohio by clicking here.
Prepare and File Articles of Organization
The Articles of Organization is a legal document that includes basic structural information about your LLC and its framework. Preparing and filing the Articles of Organization is perhaps the most important step for starting an LLC in Ohio. Once this document is approved by the Ohio Secretary of State, your LLC is officially formed and becomes a legal business entity in Ohio.
The process may sound complicated, but it is fairly easy and you can file this document by mail, in person, or online by clicking here.
But before you fill and file the Articles of Organization, you’ll need to prepare the following information:
Your LLC’s name, purpose, street address (principal place of business), and effective date
Your LLC’s duration of existence (which can be perpetual)
Your statutory agent’s name, contact information, and signature
The name and signature of a representative, manager, or member of your LLC
You can easily find and file the Articles of Organization online by clicking here.
Receive Your Confirmation Certificate
Once your filed documents are reviewed and approved, the state of Ohio will issue a certificate confirming the formal existence of your LLC. This certificate is important to obtain business licenses, bank accounts, and your Employer Identification Number (EIN), so make sure to keep it safe.
Put Together an LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is an internal document that outlines how your LLC operates. It helps structure your LLC, form its operational framework, and protect your limited liability. Unlike most states, an LLC operating agreement is not required in the state of Ohio. However, you should still prepare it as it is an essential part of starting an LLC. In Ohio, LLCs without an operating agreement are subject to state law LLC, which may not necessarily benefit the LLC or its members.
You can easily find a suitable Ohio LLC Operating Agreement template here. If you want a custom agreement, you can create your own or hire a professional to do it for you.
Obtain an EIN
EIN is a unique number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and it acts like a social security number for your LLC. They use it to identify your LLC for tax purposes.
Without an EIN, your LLC cannot legally hire employees, open a bank account, or file taxes and manage at the state and federal levels.
Obtaining your EIN is arguably the easiest step for starting an LLC in Ohio. Register your business online with the official IRS website to get an EIN for free.
Comply With Obligations
As with any business, you must comply with the state obligations of running an LLC in Ohio. These include:
Paying unemployment taxes by setting up an unemployment compensation account with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Service
Obtaining workers’ compensation insurance before hiring any employees (mandatory in the state of Ohio)
Report all new employee hires and rehires to the Ohio New Hire Reporting Center within 20 days
Get a Website and Market Your Business
Following the mentioned steps, you will successfully start an LLC in Ohio. However, starting an LLC in Ohio is just the first step toward success. You need to market your business, attract target audiences, convert them to paying customers, and start making profits. These days, this is not easy without a good business website.
The process of building a website, maintaining it, and marketing is a tough, full-time job, especially for those who lack experience. If you do not know how to achieve these things, your business or LLC may suffer to get off the ground. Fortunately, you do not need to hire experts or full-time employees for these jobs. Instead, you can let professional experts like Trady.com handle it all for you!
Trady.com is a powerful website-building service dedicated to trades and home services companies. It offers quick, convenient, comprehensive, and inexpensive services to build your business website. You also get exclusive features like booking appointments and online payments for service-related businesses. Such features allow you to convert greater online audiences into paying customers, resulting in greater profits. Trady.com’s end-to-end marketing services also spread the word about your business more efficiently and make marketing very easy for entrepreneurs.
With these and many other incredible features from Trady.com, you only need to spend around ten minutes a day managing your business website and marketing. It allows you to be free and focus on other important aspects of your business. We highly recommend you try the 14-day free trial by Trady.com to get started today!