Usually, you verify that the name you want to use is available.
And then you prepare and submit a simple, one page statement that identifies the name and address of the LLC, the registered agent, the duration of the LLC (if the LLC’s life is limited from the very start), along with a brief description of the LLC’s purpose. You then sign this statement as the official “organizer” of the LLC and submit the document to the Iowa Secretary of State.
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’s an easy and free way to do this: You can search for a similarly named LLC using the Iowa Secretary of State’s online database at:
Although not necessary, you can reserve a name for $10. This would be important if you do not plan to get your forms in immediately.
2. Identify the name you want to use for your new LLC
As mentioned earlier, the state of Iowa does not provide a standard certificate of organization. Instead, you need to prepare your own filling form.
The first article, or statement, of your certificate of organization should identify the business or investment name. Note that a limited liability company name must contain the words “Limited Company” or “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “L.C.” or “L.L.C.” For example, all of the following names should be acceptable:
- Acme Explosives Limited Liability Company
- Acme Explosives Limited Company
- Acme Explosives L.L.C.
- Acme Explosives L.C.
3. Create an account to file online
If you prefer e-filing, you will need to create an account to use the Fast Track Filing system.
Alternatively, you can mail your completed form and a check for $50 to:
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
4. Provide your name and address as the registered agent
The second article, or statement, of your certificate of organization should name a registered agent and provide the registered agent’s address. A registered agent is an individual who is a resident of Iowa that the state and other parties can contact for official purposes. Note that you can outsource this registered agent duty to a third-party, but it’s really easiest (and cheapest) to just be your own registered agent.
5. Indicate the address in which the LLC office is located
The third article, or statement, of the certificate of organization specifies the address of LLC office.
6. Business activity info (optional)
The fourth article, or statement, briefly describes your business activities.
7. State the duration of your LLC (optional)
If you plan to dissolve your LLC, include a fifth article, or statement, that states the planned LLC dissolution date. By the way, if you don’t have a pre-planned end date, you don’t need to include this article. Or, alternatively, you can specify that the duration is perpetual, which is typical.
8. Identify yourself as the LLC organizer
At the bottom of the certificate of LLC organization, you provide your name, signature and the date of your signature.
9. Submit the application
After you complete the Certificate of Organization, click Submit.
You will be charged a $50 filing fee.
Documents filed online are processed within a maximum of two days, and a minimum of five minutes.