No matter which state you form your Limited Liability Company (LLC) in, you are required to pay a series of filing fees to your Secretary of State, or other business governing organizations to complete the process.
In this article, we take some of the guesswork out of the calculations with an outline of what fees to expect, what they're for, and a rough estimate of their costs to factor into your business plan. Here are the fees and requirements that vary state to state and year to year.
Filing Fees for Articles of Organization
To legally establish your LLC, you must file Articles of Organization, aka Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization, with your state’s business filing office, usually a division of the Secretary of State’s office.
The LLC formation fee is a one-time fee, however, as mentioned, there are several other fees associated with forming an LLC (discussed below) which vary by state, ranging in cost from $50 - $800, and which must be paid for within a certain time frame. You may be required to pay an annual fee to keep your business current.
Budget $50 - $800 for filing your Articles of Organization.
Business Name Reservation Fees
Your LLC must have a unique name in the state of formation. Most Secretary of State’s websites provide an online search tool to identify if your business name is available for use — or not.
If it is available, you may need to pay a fee to reserve it, however, name reservations are optional in the LLC formation process. Keep in mind, you must finalize the establishment of your business name within the designated name reservation time frame.
Budget $10 - $100 for reserving your business name.
Fictitious Business Name Application Fees
You are not required to operate your business using the legal name listed in your LLC’s Articles of Organization, you may choose to “do business as” or DBA, under a different name – also known as a fictitious business name or assumed name.
If you plan to operate your business under an assumed name, file an application and pay an additional fee at the state or county level business services. You are then required to publish your DBA in a legal newspaper.
Budget $10 - $200 for your fictitious business name filing.
Business License Fees
In many states, you’ll also need to obtain a business license from the city or county government and any additional licenses and permits needed to operate certain businesses – like bars and breweries, or beauty salons and spas.
Here’s a list of the types of business licenses you might be required to carry. Fees will vary by business type, location, state, or local laws. Here are some common licenses you may be required to carry for your business:
- Agricultural License
- Basic Business License
- License to Sell Food and Drink
- Liquor License
- Marijuana Business License
- Music Entertainment License
- Professional License
- Sellers’ Permit
📌 Pro tip: You may need to renew your business license on an annual basis. Be sure to include these costs in your long-term business planning.
Budget: There are too many variables involved with business licensing to adequately approximate these costs. Research your state, local, or profession-specific licensing requirements to determine the cost. These are provided to give you an estimation of the capital you'll need to begin an LLC business entity.
Get Help with Your LLC
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