How Much Money Does Starting an LLC Cost?

By Jane Haskins, Esq.

How Much Money Does Starting an LLC Cost?

By Jane Haskins, Esq.

Every state charges a fee to form a limited liability company, or LLC, but the amount varies from state to state, ranging from $50 to as high as $500. You can expect additional costs if you reserve a business name, receive expedited processing, get legal help, do business in multiple states, or hire a registered agent.

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You can learn more about the fees charged in your state by visiting the website of your state's business filing agency—typically the Secretary of State. Here are the types of costs to be aware of.

Filing Fees for LLC Formation Documents

To start an LLC, you must file articles of organization with the state. Your LLC doesn't officially exist until your filing has been processed and approved. There are several fees you might pay:

  • Optional name reservation fee. Your LLC's name must be different from the names of other business entities in your state. You can search your state's business name database online to find out if the name you want is available. If you are concerned that a name will be taken before you can file your articles of organization, most states allow you to reserve the name for a limited period of time. Name reservations cost less than $50 in many states.
  • Articles of organization filing fee. Each state sets its own LLC filing fees. They range from around $50 to $500. In about half the states, the fee is between $150 and $200.
  • Expedited processing fees. Until your LLC is officially formed, you can't open a bank account or sign LLC contracts. You shouldn't order any business or marketing materials. Many states offer faster processing for an additional fee.
  • Doing business in other states. If you have a location in a state other than the one in which you're setting up your LLC, you will need to register to do business in that state (or states). Many states charge the same fee for these “foreign business registrations" as they do for setting up an LLC. But some states charge a higher fee to register out-of-state businesses.

Depending on your locality, you may also need to register and pay for state or local business licenses.

The Cost of Getting Help

Many business owners would rather let someone else handle forms and fees and keep track of annual reporting requirements. And having a professionally prepared operating agreement can be invaluable in preventing disputes with your business partners. Here are some typical costs:

  • Preparing and filing paperwork. In addition to articles of organization, every LLC should have an operating agreement. An operating agreement describes how your LLC will be run, including how profits and losses will be split and how you'll handle decision-making and other common issues. A lawyer or an online service can prepare and file articles of organization and create a personalized operating agreement that meets your needs and complies with your state's laws. Lawyers may charge by the hour or as a flat fee, and rates can vary. Online service fees typically start at about $150.
  • Registered agent services. Every LLC must have a registered agent to receive lawsuits, annual report notifications, and other official communications. Some LLC owners act as their own agent, but others hire an agent for convenience, privacy, or because they are not typically at an office in the state during normal business hours. Registered agent services typically cost between $100 and $300 a year.

The cost of setting up an LLC can vary greatly, depending on where you're located and the types of services you need. To make the formation process go more smoothly, research the fees ahead of time to be sure you have budgeted for state fees and other business formation costs.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.