No seriously, though that sounds crazy, you really can!
Accordingly, in the paragraphs that follow, we provide step-by-step instructions for completing those forms. (These instructions are up-to-date as of July 27, 2020.). We’ve also got a free, downloadable “do it yourself” kit you can use. In other words, the price you pay to purchase equals “zero.” That kit provides more information about LLCs and includes a couple of free LLC operating agreements. (We used to sell the kit but since the Covid-19 pandemic have simply given the kit away.)
1. Check if the LLC name you want is available
As a first step, you should check if the LLC name you want to use is even available. Here is an easy and free way to do this: You can search for a similarly-named LLC using the Florida Department of State’s online database at:
2. Download the application to form an LLC from the Florida Department of State’s web site, and then print this form
The URL, or web page address, for this form is as shown below.
Florida also has an e-filing option which is the same price (paid via credit card). It is straightforward and efficient. It may also result in a faster turnaround time than the mailed-in version.
Both forms of filing ask for the same information and follow roughly the same format. For purposes of simplicity, these instructions are for the first version (download and print) but can be used for either version.
3. Identify the name you want to use for your new LLC
Enter your business or investment name onto the “Article I – Name” line of the standard articles of organization form. I used the example name, “Acme Explosives LLC.” The name must end with the words “limited liability company,” “limited company,” or one of the standard abbreviations such as “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “LC,” or “L.C.” The word “limited” may be abbreviated “Ltd.” and that the word “company” may be abbreviated “Co.” Applying the foregoing rules, all of the following names should be acceptable:
- Acme Explosives Limited Liability Company
- Acme Explosives Limited Company
- Acme Explosives Ltd. Liability Co.
- Acme Explosives Ltd. Co.
- Acme Explosives LLC
- Acme Explosives L.L.C.
- Acme Explosives LC
- Acme Explosives L.C.
Tip: If you plan to operate your LLC outside Florida, you may want to restrict yourself to a name that ends in “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.” Most and perhaps all states allow LLC names that use these three conventions. The other allowable Florida LLC names are not always allowed, however.
4. Indicate where the LLC offices are located
Use the “Article II – Address” area of the standard Articles of Organization document to specify the permanent office address and mailing address of the LLC.
5. Identify the registered agent of the LLC
Florida wants to know the name and contact information for a real person within the state of Florida who the state or other people can contact if there are questions or concerns about an LLC’s operation or if legal documents need to be served. Accordingly, enter your name and address information into the “Article III – Registered Agent” area of the standard Articles of Organization document. You will also need to add your signature indicating that you agree to be the registered agent.
Tip: You can pay someone else to be your LLC’s registered agent. However, the duties of a registered agent are typically quite modest. Accordingly, you will usually save a bit of money for little effort simply by being your own registered agent.
6. Identify the LLC manager or managers
On the second page of the LLC articles of organization document in the “Article IV – Manager(s) or Managing Member(s)” area of the standard Articles of Organization document, you need to provide the name or names of the LLC manager or manager-members.
Tip: While an operating agreement is not required, you probably want to acquire one since the operating agreement describes, essentially, how the LLC and LLC members will conduct business. You can have an attorney write one for you. And this is a great idea if you have got several members. We also supply two sample LLC operating agreements with the kit (available using the button above). Most attorneys will tell you, by the way, that you increase the liability protection afforded by an LLC by having and then honoring an operating agreement.
7. Identify yourself as the LLC organizer
You also need to provide your name and address as the LLC organizer. This information goes onto the last lines provided on page 2 into the area labeled “REQUIRED SIGNATURE.”
8. Prepare the cover letter
The standard Articles of Organization document also includes a cover letter form which you use to accompany the articles of organization. Using this form, you identify the contact person the Department of State office can call if they have questions. You also identify the sort of filing you are making: a standard filing, a filing with a request for a certificate of status, a filing with a request for a certified copy of the filed articles of organization, and so on.
9. Submit the application
After you complete the Articles of Organization, send the document and a check for filing fee (typically $125 if you are just filing) to:
New Filing Section
Division of Corporations
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee FL 32314
New Filing Section
Division of Corporations
The Centre of Tallahassee
2415 N. Monroe Street, Suite 810
Tallahassee, FL 32303
Processing lead times vary, but in general, it takes several weeks to get your LLC certificate back from the Department of State’s office. Again, as noted earlier, e-filing is usually much faster.