Forming your own LLC in Ohio isn’t terribly difficult, especially if you have a little help. We’ve got a free, downloadable “do it yourself” kit you can use. In other words, the price you pay to purchase equals “zero.” This includes these instructions (as well as sample forms so you can see how they are filled out), a discussion on the pros and cons of using a limited liability company as your entity type, directions on getting an EIN for banking and tax purposes, as well as sample operating agreements. (We used to sell the kit but since the Covid-19 pandemic have simply given the kit away.)
Another option, if you just need a little help getting the state paperwork filed, is to follow these instructions: (These instructions are up-to-date as of August 5, 2020.).
1. Check if the LLC name you want is available
As a first step, you may want to 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 Ohio Secretary of State online database at:
2. Download the Articles of Organization form from the Ohio Secretary of State’s web site, then print this form
The URL, or web page address, for this form is as shown below.
Ohio also has an e-filing option. 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. Check box 1
Since you are forming an LLC in the state of Ohio, you should check box number 1.
4. Identify the name you want to use for your new LLC
Enter your business or investment name onto the lines provided. (I used the example name, “Acme Explosives LLC.”) Note that the name goes onto the first page the form in one place and onto the second page of the form in two places. The name must include “Limited Liability Company” or one of the standard abbreviations, such as “limited,” “Ltd,” “L.t.d.,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.” For example, all of the following names should be acceptable:
- Acme Explosives Limited Liability Company
- Acme Explosives LLC
- Acme Explosives L.L.C.
5. Include information in the section for box 1
All of the information in this section is optional. However, if you know the information, there is no need to leave it blank. First, you will need to put in the effective date. This cannot be more than 90 days after filing. Then give the purpose of the LLC. In the example provided in the downloadable e-book, I show that the purpose of Acme Explosives is “wholesaling to mining companies.” Finally, put in your name and address.
6. Original appointment of agent
On the second page of the LLC document, you will need to provide the name of your LLC once again. Then you will need to appoint a statutory agent. This can be you. If you elect yourself, you will have to sign at the Authorized Representative box and at the bottom under Agent’s signature.
7. Sign and date the final page
Since you are not establishing a foreign LLC, you do not need to fill in the section on page 3. Simply sign the document on the Authorized Representative line, date it, and print your name beneath your signature.
8. Submit the application
After you complete the Articles of Organization, mail the document and a check for $125 to:
Regular Filing (non expedite):
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216
Expedite Filing :
P.O. Box 1390
Columbus, OH 43216
Processing lead times vary, but in general, it takes several weeks to get your LLC certificate back from the Secretary of State’s office.
You can pay extra money to have your articles of organization filed in an expedited manner. For example, at the time of this writing, you can pay for an expedited turnaround for $100 by checking the “Expedite Service 1” box at the filing form cover letter. Note that in this case you use a different PO box, as indicated in the upper right corner of the organization form.