Are you looking to perform a Texas business name search before starting your LLC in Texas? We break down everything you need to do in order to come up with a good Texas LLC name and start your business below!
Step 1: Perform a Texas Business Name Search
Your first step is seeing if your name is available. Texas SOS entity searches are done through the Texas Comptroller site. Using this system, you can run a Texas LLC entity Search to see if your chosen name is available or taken.
You can find the database here: Texas Comptroller Entity Search
There are a few options when searching the Texas business name search database. You can search by:
- Entity name
- Identification number
- Filing number
- Individual’s name
Enter the Texas LLC name you would like to search into the “entity” field and click search. This will turn up all entries that are close to the search criteria you entered. As you filter through the results, you can click on the hyperlink to get more information.
If you’re just looking to find a business name, you’ll need to find a name that’s different from any names in the search results. Make sure your Texas LLC name search is thorough as this will help avoid any delays when filing your paperwork to register a business name in Texas.
Step 2: How To File an LLC in Texas
Thanks to technology, registering for a Texas LLC is easier today then ever before. No one has time to wait in long lines at the Texas Secretary of State. There are several online options for filing an LLC.
One of the best and easiest ways to file a Texas LLC is through IncFile.com, where you can file an LLC for $0 Plus State Filing Fees! On the form, you’ll need your business name, purpose, time you will be in business, and the resident agent.
Many companies leave the time blank, especially if they plan to stay in business ‘forever.’ The resident agent must be a resident of Texas. It can be a person or a Resident Agent service that lives in Texas.
Registered Agent for Your Texas LLC
You can be the resident agent yourself. Keep in mind, though, your address then becomes public record. If you are wanting to keep your information private it is best to use a Registered Agent Service. The Articles of Incorporation are public information.
Anyone can get your information including your business name, address, and stock information. Now that you completed the Texas business name search and filed your Texas LLC, you can move onto filing your Texas DBA
Step 3: File a Texas DBA
What is a DBA? A DBA (Doing Business As) or often referred to as a “Trade Name” is a business name that is used by companies that do not want to use their long form LLC name.
For Instance if your Texas LLC name was ” Texas Coffee Roastary Beans LLC” you may decide down the line that a catchy name such as “Dallas Roasters” or something more niche specific may be a better fit for your brand.
If you want to operate under a different name other then your LLC name you would need to file a Texas DBA.
Benefits of a Texas DBA:
- You are able to file multiple DBA names under 1 LLC name
- Save costs by operating under 1 LLC Name
- DBA Names are often better for Brand Building
You can search to see if your Texas DBA name is available through the Texas Comptroller Entity Search site just like you did for the LLC. Register Your Michigan DBA Online:
Swytfile offers a very affordable way to file your Texas DBA online for $99 Plus State Filing Fees
Step 4: Buy Your Domain Name and Hosting Plan
Once you have registered your Texas LLC and DBA and verified that your Domain Name is available, it is important to purchase your ideal Domain Name and Hosting Plan for your Texas Business Name.
You may have to get creative with your domain name as the most common business names are most likely registered. If you are operating a business in a particular geography, it may make sense to see if you can use your business name with the location together.
By doing so, you should be able to generate more traffic to your website as the search engines tend can identity your location easier for customers.
For instance, if you run a lawn service business in Detroit called “Green Lawns” that domain would not be available. It would be a good idea to register the domain name “Greenlawnsdetroit.com” or something similar if that is going to be your target market.
You can sign up for a FREE domain Name through NameCheap with qualified Hosting Plan.
Step 5: Texas LLC Operating Agreement (Optional)
Businesses in Texas are not required to have operating agreements. Operating agreements are recommended if there is more then 1 member as part of the Texas LLC.
What are Texas Operating Agreements? An operating agreement is an important document that LLC’s utilize to show the responsibilities of the members of the business. Operating agreements help put all agreements in writing.
They also provide accountability for members in the event they are not upholding to their commitments. Legalzoom has the best online Texas Operating Agreement’s from our experience. They have some options starting at $99.
Without an Operating Agreement, the state of Texas operating rules would rule should there be an issue. A good percentage of business partnerships fail unfortunately. It is wise to be protected with a solid operating agreement.
Here are some Common Reasons Partnerships Fail:
- There are no clear decision making guideline between parties
- As the business grows, the passion for the business wanes over time from one of the parties
- Relationships grow stale due to egos
Operating agreements including information such as:
- Ownership breakdown by percentages
- Rights and responsibilities of each owner
- Financial breakdown including profit distribution
- Meeting obligations
- Rules for buyouts and selling, including in the event of an owner’s death
The state of Texas doesn’t need an Operating Agreement for LLCs, but it is a smart idea!
STEP 6: File an EIN (Tax ID) for Texas LLC
To open a business bank Account you will need a EIN/TaxID Number. You can file your Texas TAX ID online through IncFile for $70 The EIN is also known as the Federal Tax Identification Number. This number is the equivalent of your personal social security number for your business. You need an EIN if you:
- Operate as a corporation or partnership
- File employment tax returns
You can apply for an Texas EIN online or by faxing or mailing in the EIN form As long as you have your EIN, you’ll be able to open bank accounts in your business’s name. Sales Tax License Texas If you plan sell goods to consumers in Texas, you need a sales tax license.
The goods must be something you deliver or hand to the consumer in order to collect taxes. If you need a Texas sales tax license, you’ll first need your federal Texas Tax ID/EIN.
It takes approximately 8-10 business days to receive your sales tax license. Once you have your EIN, go here to complete the application for your sales tax license. You’ll need the following information:
- Business identifying information
- Business activity
- Business type (LLC)
- Business location
Step 7: Open Bank Account
A business bank account is helps to keep your personal and business finances separate. You are unable to sign up for a Texas business bank account without an LLC and Tax ID, so make sure you complete those steps.
Many banks let you start a business account with a very small deposit. Most will also offer you the opportunity to sign up for a business credit card.
By using the business card and paying it off consistently, you will be able to establish some business credit which is useful as your business grows. One of the Best Banks for Small Business is BBVA Compass Bank. Here are some of the benefits you get when signing up for a Texas business bank account:
- No Monthly Service Charge
- Easy to use online platform
- $100 minimum deposit
- Free Mobile Banking and Bill Pay
Small Business Funding Options Funding your small business can be a struggle. Without funds, it’s hard to get up and running or even stay running. Just like you can borrow money for personal reasons, you can get loans for business purposes too!
You’ll need to provide plenty of paperwork on your business’s finances. You must also be able to prove that you have some equity in the business (at least 20%). If you meet these requirements, you may find funding in one of the following areas:
- Bank loan – Try getting a loan from your local bank that you do business with now. Since you have a banking relationship with them, you may have an easier time getting approved. We also recommend that you get quotes from at least three other banks. This allows you to compare loan amounts, interest rates, and fees. Expect the process to take at least a few weeks.
- SBA loan – The Small Business Administration guarantees loans for banks, which can help if you are ‘risky.’ If you don’t have a long credit history or have little equity in your business, banks may not want to finance you. With the SBA guarantee, though, the bank is guaranteed a portion of the loan should you stop making payments. This guarantee makes banks more willing to provide the funds.
- Peer-to-peer lending – Online lending opens up many doors for business owners in need of money. Peer-to-peer lending is individuals or even businesses investing in your needs. You display your need and what criteria you have and you may find an individual or a group of individuals that will fund your loan. Just watch the terms and the fees on these types of loans.
Step 8: Keeping Your Texas LLC Identity Private
If you want to keep your identity private from your Texas LLC it is best to use a Registered Agent. A registered agent is a third party that is the contact person for your business for any communication with the state.
The registered agent’s address is the address that is on file for the LLC meaning you will not be getting tons of junk mail from solicitors at your home!
This is ideal if you want to keep your address out of the state’s directory for privacy reasons. You Can Sign Up for a Registered Agent Service for your Texas LLC Here. The statutory agent receives documents including:
- Service process notices
- Secretary of State documents
- Tax forms
- Other government documents and notifications
A registered agent is not required but is coming more common for small businesses. Solicitors often target newly formed businesses by sending mail frequently. If you want to avoid this for your Texas LLC it may be worth the cost of a registered agent.
Taking all of the above steps will help you properly file your business in the state of Texas. In conclusion here are the summarized steps for you to follow if you want to create a checklist:
- Step 1: Perform a Michigan Comptroller Entity/Texas Business Name Search
- Step 2: Register your Texas LLC
- Step 3: Register your Texas DBA
- Step 4: Sign up for a domain name and hosting plan
- Step 5: Form a Texas Operating Agreement
- Step 6: File a Texas Tax ID
- Step 7: Open a Business Account
- Step 8: Utilize Statutory Agent
If you are looking for a business idea here is a recent article that may provide some inspiration.