You may understand what an LLC is, but you may not have an answer to the question, “How long does it take to make an LLC?” The answer will depend on many factors, including the state you’re forming an LLC in, your method of filing, the time of year, and whether you choose to pay extra to have the filing expedited. In this article, we’ll try to give you an idea as what you can expect when it comes to LLC processing times.
When calculating your startup costs, don’t forget to consider the fees for filing your legal paperwork with the state. We elaborate on fees a bit more after explaining how fast you can get an LLC in each state.
The following sections explore each state’s standard and expedited processing times.
A key factor in answering, “How long does it take to open an LLC?” is the state agency’s processing time after you file the Articles of Organization (or Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization in some states). Plus, it also hinges on whether you choose to have the state process your legal paperwork in the standard or expedited processing times.
Most states give you a variety of options when it comes to filing your Articles of Organization. These could include filing online, filing by postal mail, filing by fax, and filing in person. In most states, filing online is the fastest method, and sometimes the processing is immediate. Filing by postal mail is usually the slowest method and can take weeks, not even counting the time in transit.
To give you an idea of how long it takes to register an LLC, we’ve compiled a list of each state and the estimated standard and expedited processing times below. The standard processing time is the time you could expect to wait for your processing to be completed under normal circumstances. The expedited processing time reflects our estimate as to how fast your LLC paperwork could be processed by using our expedited filing service.
Again, these are only estimates and could be influenced by the time of year and other factors. Filings done at busier times for the state offices could take longer.
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|State||Standard Processing Time||Expedited Processing Time|
|Alabama||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Alaska||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Arizona||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Arkansas||2 - 3 weeks||6 - 8 days|
|California||2 - 3 weeks||7 - 9 days|
|Colorado||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Connecticut||2 - 3 weeks||5 - 7 days|
|Delaware||2 - 3 weeks||7 - 9 days|
|District of Columbia||2 - 3 weeks||8 - 10 days|
|Florida||2 - 3 weeks||6 - 8 days|
|Georgia||2 - 3 weeks||8 - 10 days|
|Hawaii||4 - 5 weeks||12 - 14 days|
|Idaho||2 - 3 weeks||10 - 12 days|
|Illinois||2 - 3 weeks||7 - 9 days|
|Indiana||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Iowa||2 - 3 weeks||9 - 11 days|
|Kansas||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Kentucky||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Louisiana||2 - 3 weeks||5 - 7 days|
|Maine||7 - 8 weeks||39 - 41 days|
|Maryland||2 - 3 weeks||9 - 11 days|
|Massachusetts||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Michigan||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Minnesota||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Mississippi||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Missouri||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Montana||2 - 3 weeks||5 - 7 days|
|Nebraska||2 - 3 weeks||6 - 8 days|
|Nevada||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|New Hampshire||5 - 6 weeks||20 - 30 days|
|New Jersey||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|New Mexico||2 - 3 weeks||6 - 8 days|
|New York||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|North Carolina||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|North Dakota||2 - 3 weeks||11 - 13 days|
|Ohio||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Oklahoma||2 - 3 weeks||3 - 5 days|
|Oregon||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Pennsylvania||2 - 3 weeks||5 - 7 days|
|Rhode Island||2 - 3 weeks||5 - 7 days|
|South Carolina||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|South Dakota||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Tennessee||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Texas||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Utah||4 - 5 weeks||16 - 18 days|
|Vermont||2 - 3 weeks||7 - 9 days|
|Virginia||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Washington||2 - 3 weeks||9 - 11 days|
|West Virginia||2 - 3 weeks||4 - 6 days|
|Wisconsin||2 - 3 weeks||3 - 5 days|
|Wyoming||2 - 3 weeks||7 - 9 days|
Each state assesses a different filing fee to create an LLC using the standard processing time. You can check your state’s fee on our state filing fees page. If you have your filing done with us here at ZenBusiness, we give you the option of prioritizing your filing for an additional fee. Here are the standard and expedited filing fees for popular states for forming an LLC with ZenBusiness (note that these don’t include the state filing fees):
|State||ZenBusiness’s Standard Filing Fee||ZenBusiness’s Expedited Filing Fee|
In addition to the options above, some states will let you expedite your LLC processing by paying an additional fee. These vary widely by state. Some states even give multiple options for speeding up your LLC’s processing. For example, New York will let process your filing within 24 hours for an additional $25, on the same day (provided you request the filing before noon) for $75, and within two hours for $150.
Check with your state’s Secretary of State office or the office that handles business formations to see what your options are for a faster LLC formation.
How to Create an LLC
Now that we’ve covered how long an LLC takes to process, let’s go over how to create an LLC.
Choose a name:
Choose a name for your LLC. Finding the right name for your LLC can be fun and allows you to stretch your creative muscles. Look for a name that’s memorable and represents the products or services you’re selling.
Importantly, you’ll have to follow all of your state’s rules for naming an LLC. One rule common to every state is that you can’t select a name that’s already in use by another business in your state.
Pick a registered agent:
The next step of starting an LLC is picking a registered agent. A registered agent is a person you choose to accept legal and official paperwork on behalf of the business. They need to be available at a designated registered office address during business hours.
You can serve as the registered agent for free; however, it tethers you to your business. Plus, if your company is served with a lawsuit in front of customers, it can be embarrassing and harmful to your business’s reputation. Using a professional registered agent service like ours can help you meet the registered agent requirement while preventing embarrassing scenarios.
File the LLC formation documents:
After picking the registered agent, the next step is to file the formation documents with the appropriate state government agency. For many states, this is the Secretary of State; however, it may be called something different in your state.
The formation documents you need to file are the Articles of Organization, which provide critical information about the business to the state. When you file this document, you pay the associated filing fee and any extra cost for the processing time you’d like. Once the state processes and accepts your filing, your business is officially registered.
Write the operating agreement:
Now that your business officially exists, it’s time to write an operating agreement. You don’t file this document with the state, but it’s advantageous to have it, especially if you’re in business with others. It details how your business will operate, covering matters such as:
It’s best to have this document drafted early in the process instead of waiting until something happens to consider these matters. Your business will only get more complex as time passes, so having a foundation set can do wonders. Make sure to update the operating agreement as your business grows and changes.
Register with the taxing agencies:
Now you’re ready to register with state and federal taxing agencies. For example, you’ll likely need an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service. An EIN is like your business’s Social Security number and is used to do important things like open a bank account and hire employees. You can get an EIN by applying for one online with the IRS, or we can help with our EIN Service.
Once you have a federal EIN, you may need to apply for a similar number for state tax purposes. In some states, you can apply for one by registering with the state tax agency for businesses.
You can complete all the paperwork yourself, but wouldn’t it be great to have help? Plus, you have many other responsibilities to take care of when starting a business. An LLC service can ease your burden and streamline the process. And, our business formation experts can help you avoid costly and time-consuming errors.
Instead of sifting through mounds of paperwork and legal requirements, you can fill out a form, pay the associated fees, and you’re on your way to owning your own business. We have a large selection of products and services for small businesses and startups.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
The LLC effective date is the date the state agency formally files your paperwork or the effective date you put on the Articles of Organization.
The best time to start an LLC depends on your situation. For example, creating an LLC at the beginning of the year can be convenient for accounting purposes. But, if you don’t have everything set up right, it can cause difficulties if you start at the end of the year.
Typically, an LLC registration continues indefinitely unless you specify in your Articles of Organization a date on which you want it to dissolve. However, the state could dissolve your LLC if you fail to keep up with compliance requirements. For example, many states require you to file an annual report or a biennial report on a regular basis and pay an associated fee.
One possible benefit of starting an LLC at the end of the year is that it is simpler to remember when your registrations are due. The downside of creating an LLC at the end of the year is that you’re paying the full filing fee to have your LLC exist for only part of that first year. In fact, many LLC members opt to delay their filing until January to avoid this.
California’s standard processing time for an LLC is 2-3 weeks. However, the state has a couple options for expediting your LLC filing. At the time of this writing, you can have your LLC processed in 24 hours for an additional $350 when filing online. For an additional $750, you can have your LLC processed on the same business day, provided you file online by 9:30 a.m.
In Florida, standard processing typically takes 1 to 3 business days if filing online and 5 to 7 business days if filing by mail, though these are just estimates. At this time, Florida doesn’t have an option for expediting the processing.
Normally, the Texas Secretary of State processes non-expedited documents within 5 to 7 business days; expedited processing is an additional $25 and is usually processed by the close of the business day following the day they receive your filing. However, at the time of this writing (December 2022), non-expedited documents sent by mail are taking approximately 70 to 72 business days, and expedited documents sent by mail are taking 12-14 business days. Electronic documents sent by SOSDirect (the Secretary of State’s online business service) are being processed within 10 to 12 business days.
Start an LLC in Your State
When it comes to compliance, costs, and other factors, these are popular states for forming an LLC.
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