How much does it cost to start an LLC?
Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to start an LLC?

Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to start an LLC?

$35 – $500filing fees only
$85 – $1,500total cost (DIY)
$1,000 – $2,300total cost (with an attorney)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$35 – $500 filing fees only

$85 – $1,500 total cost (DIY)

$1,000 – $2,300 total cost (with an attorney)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Jennifer Carlson
Written by
Jennifer Carlson
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tara Farmer

Average cost to start an LLC

The cost to start an LLC ranges from $85 to $1,500 if you file everything yourself or $1,000 to $2,300 if you hire an attorney. LLC filing fees alone cost $35 to $500.

LLC costs also depend on the business type and location. The cost to create an LLC in California, Nevada, or Massachusetts is much higher than in states like Montana or Missouri.

LLC startup costs
Expense Average cost
Filing fees $35 – $500
Name reservation $0 – $50
Operating agreement $0 – $300
EIN application $0 – $100
DBA or FBN fees $0 – $50
Registered agent $0 – $300
Business license fee $50 – $1,000

An LLC, or limited liability company, is a type of business that protects the owners’ personal bank accounts or assets if the company accrues significant debts.

To start an LLC, you need to file paperwork with the secretary of state and then apply for an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS. Many of the following steps are either optional or free if you do it yourself.

LLC filing fees

LLC filing fees cost $35 to $500, depending on the state you’re filing in. This fee pays for the state to process your LLC application, also called the articles of organization. Some states include the operating agreement in this fee.

The filing fee varies widely, from $35 in Montana to $500 in Massachusetts, but most states charge between $50 to $100.

Name reservation

You can reserve your LLC’s name for $10 to $50 if you have a name in mind but aren’t ready to file yet. This ensures no one else can take your name before you’re ready to start your LLC. The time your state will hold your name depends on your location. Name reservation is optional.

Operating agreement

An operating agreement costs up to $400 and is the contract that details LLC operations and relationships between members and the LLC. Only a few states require an operating agreement at formation. You can create this document yourself for free, use an online service, or have an attorney draft one for you.

EIN application

An employer identification number (EIN) costs up to $100. The EIN application is free on the IRS’s website, but some LLC formation services will complete the application on your behalf for a fee.

The IRS assigns an employer identification number to a company for use when paying federal taxes. The government requires EINs for all LLCs with more than one member or employee.

DBA fees

A DBA (“doing business as”) or FBN (“fictitious business name”) is a trade name or alias an LLC may use instead of their legal name. DBA or FBN fees are $10 to $50 if you choose to obtain one.

You may also choose to register for a trademark for an added fee if you want to control the usage of your DBA name.

Registered agent

A registered agent acts on behalf of an LLC and accepts any financial and legal documents. You can be your LLC’s registered agent for free, or you can hire an online service or attorney for $50 to $300. The agent must have an address in the same state as the LLC.

Business license

Business licenses cost anywhere from $50 to $1,000+, depending on the location. Even if your state doesn’t require LLCs to have a business license, your county probably will. Some companies will need to get multiple business licenses if they’re located in multiple counties.

You may also need a categorical license for specific services, such as a liquor license or food and beverage license. You will need to renew these licenses every 1 to 2 years.

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LLC maintenance costs

Most states have an ongoing required fee for LLCs, generally paid every 1 or 2 years. Some states charge up to $800, but most charge around $50. This annual fee is known by different names in different locations:

  • Annual Fee

  • Annual Report

  • Biennial Report

  • Annual Franchise Tax

Forming an LLC with an attorney vs. online

Online companies like Northwest or LegalZoom charge $40 to $150 on top of your state’s filing fee to form your LLC for you.

The average lawyer charges $150 to $400 per hour, depending on their experience level and the difficulty of the case. Business lawyers often charge a flat fee of around $1,000 to $2,300 for setting up an LLC.

Limited liability company (LLC) paperwork
Limited liability company (LLC) paperwork

LLC filing fee by state

LLC filings fees cost $35 to $500, depending on the state. Most states also charge a recurring fee every 1 to 2 years. Some don’t charge a recurring fee but require an annual information report.

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LLC filing fee by state
State Filing fee Annual/biennial fee
Alabama $200 $50 every year
Alaska $250 $100 every 2 years
Arizona $50 $0 (no fee or report needed)
Arkansas $45 $150 every year
California $70 $800 every year + $20 every 2 years
Colorado $50 $10 every year
Connecticut $120 $80 every year
Delaware $110 $300 every year
Florida $125 $138.75 every year
Georgia $100 $50 every year
Hawaii $50 $15 every year
Idaho $100 $0 (annual report needed)
Illinois $150 $75 every year
Indiana $95 $31 every 2 years
Iowa $50 $30 every 2 years
Kansas $160 $50 every year
Kentucky $40 $15 every year
Louisiana $100 $35 every year
Maine $175 $85 every year
Maryland $100 $300 every year
Massachusetts $500 $500 every year
Michigan $50 $25 every year
Minnesota $155 $0 (annual report needed)
Mississippi $50 $0 (annual report needed)
Missouri $50 $0 (no fee or report needed)
Montana $35 $20 every year
Nebraska $100 $13 every 2 years
Nevada $425 $350 every year
New Hampshire $100 $100 every year
New Jersey $125 $75 every year
New Mexico $50 $0 (no fee or report needed)
New York $200 $9 every 2 years
North Carolina $125 $200 every year
North Dakota $135 $50 every year
Ohio $99 $0 (no fee or report needed)
Oklahoma $100 $25 every year
Oregon $100 $100 every year
Pennsylvania $125 $7 every year
Rhode Island $150 $50 every year
South Carolina $110 $0 (no fee or report needed unless the LLC is taxed as an S-Corp)
South Dakota $150 $50 every year
Tennessee $300 $300 every year
Texas $300 $0 (annual No Tax Due report and report needed)
Utah $54 $18 every year
Vermont $125 $35 every year
Virginia $100 $50 every year
Washington $200 $60 every year
Washington, D.C. $99 $300 every 2 years
West Virginia $100 $25 every year
Wisconsin $130 $25 every year
Wyoming $100 $60 every year

LLC startup cost factors

The following factors also affect the cost to create an LLC:

  • DIY vs. legal services: Completing paperwork and filing everything yourself is the cheapest option but may cause undue stress, especially if you make any errors in your paperwork. Using an online service is an affordable alternative. Hiring a lawyer costs much more but gives you more peace of mind.

  • Fee type: Most online services charge a flat fee for starting an LLC. Some attorneys charge by the hour, while others charge flat fees.

  • Business type: Complex LLCs with a DBA or liquor, food, or casino licenses will cost more to start than a simpler business.

  • Taxes: While LLCs don’t directly pay federal taxes, the members and owners do. You can write off up to $5,000 of your startup costs, including attorney fees, office space, research, or equipment. Some states like Delaware and California also charge an LLC franchise tax.

  • Publication: Arizona, Nebraska, and New York require LLCs to pay around $40 to $1,200 to publish daily notices in one or more local newspapers. This period lasts for three consecutive weeks in Arizona and Nebraska and six weeks in New York. The actual cost varies by newspaper.

LLC startup FAQs

Do LLCs need to pay taxes?

LLC themselves don’t pay federal taxes, but the members and owners of the LLC do. Some states like Delaware and California also charge an LLC franchise tax. The amount of taxes you owe will depend on how much the business makes or loses and whether you write off any business expenses.

Do I need an LLC to start a business?

You don’t need an LLC to start a small business, which is usually categorized as sole proprietorship or a general partnership. These business types are easy to set up and maintain, but they don’t offer any protection in the event of serious debts or a bankruptcy.

An LLC protects personal assets like cars, houses, 401k accounts, and savings from being seized or garnished.

Why should I start an LLC?

You may want to start an LLC rather than a corporation because it is typically more affordable and has more liability protection since LLC profits are separate from individual assets. You can also claim any LLC expenses on your taxes.

What do you need to start an LLC?

To start an LLC, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Decide on a name for the LLC.

  2. Choose who will be the registered agent.

  3. File the LLC formation paperwork through the secretary of state and pay the filing fee.

  4. Write an LLC operating agreement.

  5. Apply for a federal EIN with the IRS.

Most of these steps only require basic information like your contact information, the address of the business, and the purpose of your LLC.

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How long does it take to start an LLC?

Starting an LLC takes 7 to 10 days, depending on the state. Some issue same-day approval for online filings, while others may take several weeks if their departments are backed up. The approval process will almost always be faster online rather than through the mail.

Hiring an attorney to create an LLC

When looking for a business attorney near you, follow these steps:

  • Compare reviews and prices from lawyers on Lawful and Google.

  • Confirm their credentials and make sure they've passed the bar exam.

  • Choose an attorney who fits your budget and schedule.

  • Choose a lawyer who is conveniently located if possible.

  • Get a written estimate and contract before the casework starts.

Questions to ask a business attorney

Ask the following questions to find the best possible attorney:

  • How long have you been setting up LLCs?

  • Have you passed the bar? How long ago?

  • Do you give free consultations to prospective clients?

  • How long will it take you to set up my LLC?

  • Do you charge by the hour or a flat rate?

  • Will you give me a written estimate and contract?