How to Start an LLC in California

Last Updated on February 5, 2022

Step 1: Limited Liability Company Purpose Statement and Name

Purpose Statement – No action necessary. Keep the statement “The purpose of the limited liability company is to engage in any lawful act or business activity for which a limited liability company may be organized under the California Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act.”

Limited Liability Company Name – Enter the name of the LLC. Be sure not to include any identifiers (LLC, L.C., etc.) in this box. There are a few naming guidelines to follow.

Before entering a name, you will want to do a name availability search as each LLC must have a unique name in California. Check on available LLC names in California to do a business name search. The name of the LLC also has to not likely to mislead the public or include words that may imply the LLC being a government agency.

LLC Identifier – Under California law, the legal name of the LLC must include one of the following words or abbreviations at the end of the business name:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Co.
  • Ltd. Liability Company
  • Ltd. Liability Co.
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC

Name Reservation – If you have already reserved a name, check the box and enter the Name Reservation Number so it can be applied to this LLC filing.

California LLC Name Registration

Step 2: Business Address

In this section, enter the physical street address, city, and zip code of the initial designated office. This address can be the office address of the LLC, or it can be the mailing address where the business records are kept. You may not use a PO Box for the designated office.

CA LLC Business Address Registration

Step 3: Assign a Registered Agent

To have a Limited Liability Company in LLC in California, a Registered Agent must be identified. The Registered Agent is either a California resident (Individual) or a registered agent service (California Registered Corporate Agent). The agent must have a physical address in the state and be available during normal business hours. This person will act as a central point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc. on behalf of the LLC. To see a list of approved Registered Agents, visit

You can act as your own registered agent in California and you are not required to pay for a registered agent.

California LLC Registered Agent

Step 4: Management

This section asks if the LLC is managed by one manager, more than one manager, or all limited liability company member(s). Every LLC will have at least one member.

There are three choices:

  • One Manager – This is when the members of the LLC hire somebody to run the company, similar to the position of CEO for a corporation. This is commonly referred to as a Manager-Managed LLC.
  • More than One Manager – Also a Manager-Managed LLC, but with multiple managers.
  • All LLC Members – The members themselves are the “managers” and have active involvement in the business’s day-to-day operations. This is commonly referred to as a Member-Managed LLC.

Most LLCs are member-managed and, if so, would select all liability company member(s).

CA LLC Management Structure

Step 5: Organizer

Enter the name of the person who is filing the LLC paperwork and the central point of contact. The LLC organizer could be a member or someone helping with the entity formation.

California LLC Organizer

Step 6: File Date

If you want the LLC to start on today’s date, choose “No, I do NOT want a Future File Date”; otherwise, select “Yes, I would like a Future File Date” and enter a date less than 90 days in the future to start.

CA LLC Effective Date

Step 7: Review

Review the Articles of Organization to ensure all of the information is correct.

Step 8: Pay and File Articles of Organization

Pay and file the California Articles of Organization.

If filing online, enter your credit card information.

If mailing, send the form and a check for $70 to:
Secretary of State, Business Entity Filings
P.O. Box 944228
Sacramento, CA 94244-2280

If delivering in person, the cost is $85 and can be paid with a check, money order, or credit card. The office is located at:

Secretary of State
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

If you have questions, contact the California Secretary of State.