The first thing many of us do when we look into forming an LLC for our business is to look for a company that can do it for us like LegalZoom; this is understandable because the whole entire process can be completely foreign to us when we are just starting out. The terms can be so intimidating at first that we automatically assume that it's something we can't do ourselves but we couldn't be more wrong.
Before you spend hundreds of dollars (more than what you have to) paying someone else to form your LLC I do recommend doing some research and finding the .gov or official website for your state that you can DIY your LLC formation. Each state is different in pricing and maybe even guidelines but one thing I've seen that has remained the same is how simple the process is. If you research and compare what you'll pay someone else oppose to doing it yourself you'll find that some companies will charge you double and sometimes triple the price (State Fee) to do it for you.
I remember when I first formed my LLC I spent $400 + dollars only to find out that I could LLC in my state for $100.00 if I did it myself. At first I was intimidated and I even had someone very close to me recommend I do it myself but I decided to go against their research only because they hadn't gone through the process themselves but only researched-which is exactly what I should have done.
When it comes down to owning your own business we quickly tense up when we hear certain terms especially when it pertains to the subject matter of taxes and legal values. Speaking for myself, I thought that if I didn't do everything just right and hire the (quote on quote) "experts" starting out, I would have the IRS or someone bigger coming after me. This fear drove me into paying others way more that what was necessary to get the job done.
After forming my 2nd LLC myself and helping others in my state to do the same I can honestly say that I couldn't have been more off allowing my fears to hinder me from at least researching and understanding the process before I assumed I would fail if I attempted to do it on my own. Don't you make the same mistake!
Forming an LLC is a very simple process for most states and can be done in a few easy steps. I first recommend understanding what an LLC is. Check out the following resources:
Wikipedia (Limited Liability Company)
IRS.GOV (LLC Filing as a Corporation or Partnership)
You'll find that as you do your research the IRS website is great for information on business formation, incorporation, and tax laws and they even have great learning materials FREE if you want to at least learn a few terms before hiring someone else. You'll need to search key terms relevant to your state to understand laws specific to your business in your state and whether or not your business type can be formed as an LLC. My advice is to look for the .gov or official website for your state that offers valuable information on the topic and may even walk you through the process. If a website is charging you THEIR FEES + STATE FEE TO LLC then you are about to pay someone to do it for you and you might want to save THEIR FEE by going to the state website and paying only the STATE FEE by doing it yourself. Some states may require you to mail in your LLC form; there might be a local office where you can submit your paper work or you might be able to do it all online.
When it comes down to hiring someone else to do something for you I never recommend going in completely blind but at least having a little knowledge to be able to understand the language of your business. While I'm not 100% against letting someone else LLC your business for you I have learned that there is someone always eagerly waiting to make money off what you don't know oppose to just what you'd rather pay someone else to do and because we don't know we spend a lot more money than we have to. Gain as much knowledge as you can about your business and then decide how you'd like to spend your money instead of just spending your money because you don't understand or are afraid. I've personally been there and done that and I must say I like multiple choices better.
One of the biggest questions I've come across about the LLC process is "Who should I put down as my Registered Agent?" Wikipedia (Registered Agent) Remember check your state guidelines and follow them. You'll stay right on track.
- Monica Mize
Your Personal Go-To Designer