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How to start an LLC in California

How To Start an LLC in California:

Starting a Business in California: A Step-by-Step Guide to Registering an LLC

If you're looking to establish a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in California, you're in the right place. Our comprehensive guide will walk you through the process from beginning to end, making LLC formation in California a breeze. Discover the advantages of forming an LLC, which offers liability protection and tax benefits, among other perks for small businesses.

California LLC
Registration Checklist!

California LLC Registration Checklist

Follow these Eleven straightforward steps to get your California LLC up and running:

  • Choose a Name for Your California LLC
  • Selecting a suitable name is the first crucial step before registering your LLC in California. Keep in mind these key naming requirements:

    • Your business name must include a suffix like Limited Liability Company, LLC, or L.L.C.
    • Ensure your chosen name is unique in the state of California by conducting a search on the Secretary of State's website.
    • Avoid using words associated with government agencies (e.g., State Department, CIA, FBI, Treasury).
    • Note that specific restricted words (e.g., bank, lawyer, attorney, credit union) may necessitate additional documentation and licensure.
    • Don't forget to check the availability of your chosen URL, as it's wise to reserve your domain name early on.
  • Appoint a Registered Agent
  • In California, you are required to designate a registered agent for your LLC. Your registered agent is required to receive official legal documents and notices on behalf of your business. Ensure your registered agent meets these criteria:

    • They should be available during regular business hours to accept documents.
    • The agent must have an address in California.
    • If you are comfortable listing your own address and are available during business hours, you may list yourself as a Registered Agent in the State of California.

    California LLC
    Registration Checklist!

    California LLC Registration Checklist

    If you prefer not to take on this responsibility, BusinessRocket offers professional Registered Agent services in the State of California. Our Registered Agent services are free for the first year and cost just $149 annually for new clients. This service ensures that your company has a reliable and compliant Registered Agent, providing peace of mind and convenience while helping your LLC stay compliant with state regulations.

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  • Prepare and File Articles of Organization
  • The Articles of Organization officially establish your LLC in California. You can file with the California Secretary of State. If you are uncertain about how to navigate this process with the California Secretary of State, keep in mind that BusinessRocket can offer professional assistance and even file these documents with the state on your behalf, all at no cost to you. Once your application is submitted and subsequently approved by the Secretary of State, your LLC will attain its legal entity status.

  • Create an Operating Agreement
  • While California requires an LLC to have an operating agreement, it does not need to be filed with the State. However, it should be readily accessible. An operating agreement outlines how your LLC conducts business and can help resolve disputes.

    At BusinessRocket, we understand the importance of this document in governing your business effectively and in accordance with California's regulations. That's why we offer professionally prepared legal operating agreements specifically tailored for the state of California. These agreements ensure that your company is not only correctly created but also meets all state guidelines, providing clarity and legal protection for your business operations.

  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • The nine-digit EIN, assigned by the IRS, is essential for tax purposes and opening a business bank account. It is essentially the Social Security number of your business, it allows the company to conduct financial transactions with vendors and the government, to learn more about what an EIN is click here.

    At BusinessRocket, we understand the importance of obtaining your EIN promptly and accurately. That's why we offer an expedited process to retrieve your EIN number from the IRS, ensuring it is filed correctly and securely, and saving you valuable time and effort.

  • File a Statement of Information
  • All California LLCs must file a Statement of Information with the Secretary of State within 90 days of formation. This report provides essential details about your LLC; including ownership information and the purpose of the company. After the first annual report is filed, the California Secretary of State requires an LLC to file an Annual Report once every other year.

    To help you stay on top of these reporting obligations and ensure you never miss a state or federal deadline, BusinessRocket offers a completely free platform designed to assist you in tracking your annual reports, providing peace of mind, and ensuring that your LLC remains in good standing with regulatory authorities.

    Ready to form your LLC?

    Pay for only what you need, get your company active in record time!

  • Open a Bank Account
  • Opening a separate business bank account is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps maintain clear financial separation between personal and business finances, which is essential for accurate record-keeping, financial reporting, and tax compliance. Secondly, it enhances professionalism by allowing businesses to transact under their official name, which builds trust with customers, vendors, and partners. Additionally, having a business bank account simplifies the process of monitoring business expenses, managing cash flow, and accessing business-specific financial services and tools offered by banks. Finally, it provides legal protection by upholding the limited liability status of business entities and safeguarding personal assets in case of legal issues or business debts. Overall, a dedicated business bank account ensures financial organization, credibility, and legal safeguards for a company.

    To make this process even smoother, if you need assistance opening a bank account, BusinessRocket works with some of the best financial institutions to help facilitate this process after the newly established California LLC is filed, ensuring a seamless start to your financial operations.

  • Obtain Specialty Licenses and Permits
  • Newly established LLCs may require additional licenses and permits from local municipalities based on their specific business activities and the regulations set forth by local government authorities. These licenses and permits are often necessary to ensure compliance with zoning laws, health and safety regulations, and other local ordinances that vary by location. For instance, a restaurant LLC may need food service permits, while a construction LLC might require building permits. Failure to obtain these necessary licenses and permits can result in legal penalties, fines, and even business closures. Therefore, it's crucial for newly formed LLCs to research and understand the local requirements and obtain the appropriate licenses and permits to operate legally and smoothly within their jurisdiction.

  • Start Building Business Credit
  • A newly established LLC can begin building business credit by initially obtaining one business credit card and gradually expanding its credit profile. This process is akin to how individuals cautiously manage their personal credit history when they come of age. By using the business credit card responsibly, making on-time payments, and maintaining a low credit utilization ratio, the LLC can establish a positive credit history. What sets businesses apart in credit-building is the potential for faster growth due to the higher volume of revenue that flows through their business accounts. A company's revenue and financial transactions can significantly impact its credit rating and open doors to larger lines of credit, loans, and better financing terms, making it essential for businesses to nurture their creditworthiness for future financial stability and growth opportunities.

  • Keep Proper Bookkeeping and Financial Reports
  • Keeping accurate records of business income and expenses is vital for newly established California LLC’s for several reasons:

    • Legal Compliance: Ensures compliance with tax laws and regulations, reducing the risk of penalties and audits.
    • Financial Clarity: Provides a clear overview of the company's financial health and profitability.
    • Budgeting and Planning: Helps in creating realistic budgets and making informed financial decisions.
    • Tax Reporting: Facilitates the accurate preparation of tax returns, maximizing deductions and minimizing tax liabilities.
    • Proof of Income: Provides evidence of income for loans, leases, and contracts, helping secure financing and business opportunities.
    • Audit Trail: Establishes an audit trail that can help resolve discrepancies and discrepancies efficiently.
    • Financial Accountability: Demonstrates responsible financial management to stakeholders, fostering trust and credibility.

    In summary, maintaining good record-keeping practices is essential for both legal compliance and the overall financial well-being and growth of newly established California LLC’s.

    If you are unsure about how to keep proper financial records, BusinessRocket provides a full comprehensive bookkeeping solution for newly established California LLC’s, offering an affordable and convenient way to keep track of your records.

  • Hire an Accountant
  • It is crucial for newly established LLCs to engage with an accountant right away because professional financial guidance at the outset can help set a strong foundation for the business. Accountants can assist in choosing the most tax-efficient structure, navigating complex tax regulations, and establishing effective financial systems. Their expertise ensures that the company starts on the right track, maximizes tax benefits, avoids costly mistakes, and maintains compliance with financial reporting requirements. Early consultation with an accountant can save time and money in the long run, allowing the LLC to focus on growth and profitability while minimizing financial risks and uncertainties.

    If you do not have an accountant, BusinessRocket provides a full comprehensive tax solution for newly established California LLC’s that starts at just $29.99 per month, offering an affordable and convenient way to access professional financial support.

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Say goodbye to hidden renewal fees. With us, enjoy transparent pricing and peace of mind, knowing you won't encounter any surprise charges when renewing your LLC.

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What our clients say.

Top notch service. Quick response to any questions and BusinessRocket provided all my documents needed to start operating my business within a few days! My new go to formation partner!

DAVE CRAWFORD
DAVE CRAWFORD
Customer Since 2017
DAVE CRAWFORD

Super easy process to get all legal documents that we need to start our company. They were quick to response to any of our questions.

RUBEN E.
RUBEN E.
Customer Since 2017
RUBEN E.

My experience with BR has been fantastic! They are knowledgeable, they offer a great variety services to tailor to your needs, and they are quick to respond and easy to work with.

DAN
DAN
Customer Since 2017
DAN

3 years ago I found myself desperate about how to register a new business and I asked BusinessRocket to help me. I know the team for years and trust them. It was a piece of cake. They are very attentive and have outstanding customer service. I opened holistic business and real estate business and recommend this team to everyone who needs their help. They are the team to trust.

Lyudmyla Rybak
Lyudmyla Rybak
Customer Since 2017
Lyudmyla Rybak

Since I’ve started using businessrocket.net services it became much easier to manage my business. It is most important at the beginning stage, when the business starts growing and the idea to use this help at that point has only strengthened my hopes for success.  If I have any problems or questions they are always happy to answer any of them in a short time. Great service for a reasonable price which I'm recommending to my friends.

Askar Tarzimanov
Askar Tarzimanov
Customer Since 2018
Askar Tarzimanov

BusinessRocket is the best service out there. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The pricing is great compared to competitors. I will use them again in the future. They made the whole process easy and took the time to explain what I needed.

Jared Schwartz
Jared Schwartz
Customer Since 2016
Jared Schwartz

Excellent services.

Gilles Tateossian
Gilles Tateossian
Customer Since 2015
Gilles Tateossian

Greatest company ever. I worked with them about 4 years. Always fast responding, communicating. Handle my company issues with professionalism. I'm recommending he's to all my friends.

Konstantin Fedorov
Konstantin Fedorov
Customer Since 2015
Konstantin Fedorov

With BusinessRockets Exceptional knowledge of many industries, we go to them for everything. The most annoying thing for me that was simple for them was getting my TCP. BusinessRocket is my go-to one stop shop. 4 years running.

Lamont Smith
Lamont Smith
Customer Since 2015
Lamont Smith

Professional in their field! Great attitude!

Efim Gurianov
Efim Gurianov
Customer Since 2017
Efim Gurianov

The best business service company I've work with, bar none! Alex and his team are professional, punctual, highly verse in their field, and great to work with! wishing them more success down the road!

Shad Mishu
Shad Mishu
Customer Since 2018
Shad Mishu

Best business services company in Southern California helping local business, as well as nationwide company formation and wide network of registered agents and solutions for your business ventures.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
Customer Since 2012
Michael Mann

BusinessRocket has been assisting me with my various businesses over the past several years. They spend the time going through the options to ensure that I make informed decisions.

Loren Charles
Loren Charles
Customer Since 2016
Loren Charles

So glad I found BusinessRocket! They are professional and have a personal approach to their clients. They genuinely care and hold your hand through the process. If anyone ever wants to open a new business or needs help managing the existing one - they are the best ones in the industry!

Maria Simovski
Maria Simovski
Customer Since 2019
Maria Simovski

Our office has been working with BusinessRocket for close to four years and in this time they have been an immense help to our practice. We consider them a partner in our business due to their great knowledge along with their willingness to always help. We consider them a great asset to our company and will always recommend them.

Hedy Golshani
Hedy Golshani
Customer Since 2017
Hedy Golshani

Very informative and responsive. They answered all my questions and concerns with corporate formation and taxes.

Omar Awadallah
Omar Awadallah
Customer Since 2013
Omar Awadallah

I have been a BusinessRocket client for many years. The staff is friendly and helpful, which makes it super easy to communicate my needs. And each year that I have been their client, they surprise me by their effort. But this year, BusinessRocket forever earned my loyalty. Earlier this year purchased a domain that I wanted for my new business. But, I instantly ran into a problem when it was time to form the corporation. The name that I wanted was very close to an existing one. I told Angela at BusinessRocket, that I wanted that name, for my corporation. After multiple rejections by the Secretary of State, and conversions on how I can still use the name of the domain for my business. I started to accept the fact that I'm not going to get what I hoped. While I went back to brainstorming the new name, I received a call from Angela, wishing me a belated birthday, and congratulating me that the original name was accepted and that the Secretary of State is processing it. I am very grateful to BusinessRocket for their effort and support.

Boris Sterlin
Boris Sterlin
Customer Since 2014
Boris Sterlin

The best part about their service is how their system updates you as components of your company are completed. Documents filed? Boom, got an email notification. State docs received? Boom, email notification. Their staff is also extremely helpful both through the chat feature on their website and through email.

Daniel Tjahadi
Daniel Tjahadi
Customer Since 2019
Daniel Tjahadi

We worked with Alex at BusinessRocket and are thrilled that we found him. Alex asked great questions about our project, helped us prioritize the work and got the job done. On time, on budget. When there were project scope discussions, Alex was very informative and supportive of our decisions. You should have no reservations whatsoever about how BusinessRocket will provide services to you and your firm. They are great.

Betsy Ehrenberg
Betsy Ehrenberg
Customer Since 2017
Betsy Ehrenberg

Thank you to the BusinessRocket Team ! Very professional and knowledgeable, they led me step by step through the entire process while making the most efficient use of my resources.

Nader Jandaghi
Nader Jandaghi
Customer Since 2018
Nader Jandaghi

Most professional, reliable and trustworthy company on the market.

Max Malmygin
Max Malmygin
Customer Since 2014
Max Malmygin

I am amazed with their customer service and quality of work. Spoke to them on multiple occasions and every time had a great experience on the phone. Staff was knowledgeable, pleasant and honest. They definitely earned my referrals.

Zack Baklan
Zack Baklan
Customer Since 2018
Zack Baklan

These people at BusinessRocket are deeply passionate about helping small business. Legal, accounting, compliance - highly recommend!

John Kim
John Kim
Customer Since 2019
John Kim

Great company. Excellent Service. The stuff is always ready to help.

Victoria Dennis
Victoria Dennis
Customer Since 2019
Victoria Dennis

BusinessRocket makes everything super easy from start to finish. I could not imagine starting a business myself when there is such an easy affordable solution to cut time and effort.

Jamie Mahtaban
Jamie Mahtaban
Customer Since 2011
Jamie Mahtaban

Excellent service, extremely responsive.

Konstantin Chernomorskiy
Konstantin Chernomorskiy
Customer Since 2010
Konstantin Chernomorskiy

We used to use LegalZoom and now only use BusinessRocket. The customer service, ease of use, and just overall experience is so much better. Couldn't recommend them more!

Claude Zdanow
Claude Zdanow
Customer Since 2019
Claude Zdanow

Very grateful for BusinessRocket’s expertise and guidance. Starting my LLC has led to more questions than answers, so I appreciate them taking the time to walk me through the process, which was actually quicker than I thought it would be. Customer service is friendly and patient.

Brendan Gill
Brendan Gill
Customer Since 2019
Brendan Gill

Find the best package to start your business

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Essentials

Comprehensive package containing EIN number and internal documents required for a business bank account and vendor contracts.

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$ 147

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Saved 25%

Includes EIN number
Essential internal documents

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Starter

For professionals able to obtain and create an EIN and Operating Agreement on their own, which are necessary to open a bank account and start transacting business.

$58

Saved 15%

$ 49

+ State Fee

One-Time Fee

Register LLC with the State
Does not include EIN & Company Agreements
MOST POPULAR

Essentials

Comprehensive package containing EIN number and internal documents required for a business bank account and vendor contracts.

$195

Saved 25%

$ 147

+ State Fee

One-Time Fee

Includes EIN number
Essential internal documents

Supreme

Ideal for companies with multiple business partners or those seeking external capital investment.

$349

Saved 28%

$ 254

+ State Fee

One-Time Fee

$99/yr thereafter

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What do I need to Open a Bank Account?

The Essentials package is specifically designed for clients that need to open a Bank Account as quickly as possible. Most Banks will require the following documents to open an account: Articles of Organization, Federal Tax Identification Number (EIN), Operating Agreement, Original Company Meeting Minutes, and a Bank Resolution.

How do I start an LLC?

Forming an LLC for your business requires several steps, including naming your LLC, appointing a registered agent, preparing an operating agreement, and filing articles of organization with the Secretary of State in the state in which you are forming your business.

What is a limited liability company (LLC)?

A limited liability company (LLC) is a popular business structure that allows for the simplicity of pass-through taxation like a sole-proprietorship while providing liability protection for owners similar to a corporation.

What is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is an individual or a company assigned to receive service of process and other official mail on behalf of a business. Generally, registered agents must maintain a physical address and be available to receive service of process during normal business hours, Monday - Friday.