As your side hustle grows, you may ask yourself, what's next? For many, the answer is forming an LLC. This step creates a legal separation between yourself and your business, helping limit your personal liability and opening up new possibilities for taxes and investment. However, many first-time business owners never make it official because they think forming an LLC is too expensive, takes too much time, and requires the help of a lawyer.
The reality is, forming an LLC may be easier than you think and doesn't require the use of an attorney or any other legal professionals. In most states, all you need to do is pay some state fees and file the correct paperwork with your Secretary of State. Then, your business is off to the races.
If you are considering paying a lawyer to form your LLC, keep reading. We'll explore the pros and cons of using a lawyer to form an LLC, as well as some popular filing alternatives.
A limited liability company, or LLC for short, is a type of business structure in the United States. For example, suppose you operate a small business already but have not filed articles of organization with your state. In that case, your business is considered a sole proprietorship, which means there is no legal distinction between yourself and your company.
This relationship can make you legally liable should your company be sued and provides limited options for paying your taxes on business income. An LLC, however, separates you legally from liability and can provide additional opportunities for tax filing.
How to start an LLC can vary depending on the state where you register. Generally, the steps to form an LLC are as follows. However, be sure to check your Secretary of State's website for further details.
Choose a business name
File articles of organization with your state
Name a registered agent
File ongoing annual reports
File ongoing annual taxes with your state and the IRS
Before the internet was readily available to entrepreneurs, forming an LLC, S Corp, C Corp, or DBA was a more mysterious endeavor. However, now every detail is readily available online, and small businesses have options when forming an LLC.
Whether or not a lawyer's service is worth it depends on your objectives and budget. If you are bootstrapping and looking to save cash to put back into your business, then maybe pass on the expensive lawyer fees.
However, if money is not an issue and you are looking to save time and get in-person, professional advice for filling, then a lawyer may make sense. Hiring a lawyer can certainly cut down on research time, and they may be able to provide additional advice surrounding your business formation. Ultimately, you'll need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself.
While hiring a lawyer is not necessary when forming an LLC, it can be beneficial to the process in some cases. Below are some potential pros of using a lawyer to form your LLC.
Helps you determine whether a business name is available
Helps with filing all necessary documents
While not required by most states, a lawyer can also help you establish an operating agreement for your business
Helps avoid filing mistakes or errors
Helps keep records and proper documentation of the process
Helps assist and advise with additional business formalities if needed
Provides ongoing legal advice
With other options at your disposal when forming an LLC, hiring an attorney won't make sense for everyone. Below are some cons of using a lawyer to form your LLC.
Expensive, costing between $1,000 and $1,500 on average
Not all lawyers have the same knowledge or experience
Not all lawyers will be familiar with filing requirements in every state
While online filing companies have made registering your LLC online simple, there may be complex business questions or other instances where the right lawyer could help, including:
Your LLC wants to have foreign investors or venture capital funding
You plan to take your LLC public later on
You need assistance with additional business contracts
Your LLC includes complex intellectual property (IP) such as technology, creative work, or other trade secrets
For most sole proprietors and small business owners looking to form an LLC, the process is fairly simple and straightforward. You will have multiple options to file at your disposal, and likely your single-owner business won't require any outside counsel to move forward.
Filing yourself makes sense for any owner looking to save some money compared with hiring a lawyer — potentially saving you thousands of dollars when all is said and done.
If you choose not to use a lawyer to form your LLC, you will still have other options at your disposal, including:
Filing yourself with your Secretary of State
Using an online incorporation service
Some entrepreneurs choose to save the attorney fees when forming an LLC and instead use that money to hire a lawyer to help with other aspects of their new business, including:
Employment Law Attorneys for employment contracts
Intellectual Property Attorneys for protecting products, services, and creative work
Tax Attorneys for proper tax structuring and filing
Business Attorneys for general counsel and compliance
While deciding whether or not to use a lawyer is a personal choice, every business owner will have to determine what's best for them. Try looking at all the angles and carefully weighing your pros and cons before making the decision.
Swyft Filings is here to help make filing an LLC fast and easy. We've helped thousands of entrepreneurs file their LLC in every state and can help you do the same. We've made the process simple to understand, with no prior experience or legal training needed. Simply tell us about you and your business, and we can help your LLC get registered in just minutes.
You can get started today using our Incorporation Wizard.
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You can form a corporation or LLC with our help for as little as $0, plus state filing fees for incorporation. Filing fees vary depending on the state you incorporate in. For more information on specific states, check out our state guides on the Swyft Resource Center. You can also email us with specific questions or contact us at 877-777-0450.
Swyft Filings accepts payment through Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, checks, and money orders. You can send any questions about payment to our email address or contact us at 877-777-0450.
It depends on what you ordered. If all you did was file your corporation or LLC, the price you paid when ordering is all you pay. You will have no further fees after that.
However, if you signed up for the Swyft Filings Registered Agent Service, you will be charged its initial fee three days after you place your order. From then on, you will be charged according to the terms of your subscription until you change your registered agent with the state or dissolve your company. If you change your agent or dissolve your company on your own, let us know so we can discontinue billing.
Other potential subscription-based options include SnapMailbox, 360 Legal Forms, and ComplianceGuard. If you opt for SnapMailbox or 360 Legal Forms, you will be charged a monthly fee after their respective 30-day free trials end. ComplianceGuard has an annual fee after a 14-day free trial. All three of these services are completely optional.
Our team processes all Standard orders on a first come, first served basis. If you opt for Express or Same-Day Processing, we prioritize your order and send it to the front of the line. However, no matter how fast we get it out the door, you’ll still have to wait for your state to address your filing.
Each and every one of our customers is assigned a personal Business Specialist. You have their direct phone number and email. Have questions? Just call your personal Business Specialist. No need to wait in a pool of phone calls.
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