Perform a Ohio Business Search And File Your Ohio LLC Online

Ohio Business Registration

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Are you looking to file an LLC in Ohio or check if your Ohio LLC name is available? We wrote this guide to help make the process of starting your business in Ohio as simple and as quick as possible. There are several options

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Just because you have an idea and have chosen a business name, doesn’t mean it’s available. You must first do a Ohio Entity Search to see if your business name is available. Check out the steps below to get started.

Step 1: Perform an Ohio Entity Search 

The Ohio Secretary of State website database has all of the information needed on corporations or LLC’s in Ohio.

Using this system, you can run a Ohio Entity Search to see if your chosen name is available or taken.

You have a few options when searching the Ohio LLC search database. You can search by:

  • Entity name
  • Identification number
  • Filing number
  • Individual’s name

For the entity name or individual’s name, you can search by ‘starts with,’ ‘exact match,’ ‘keyword,’ or ‘soundex.’ The easiest way to do a Ohio business lookup is by business name and ‘starts with’ or ‘keyword.’ 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 Ohio LLC name search is thorough. This avoids any delays when filing your paperwork to register a business name in Ohio.

Step 2: File an LLC in Ohio

Create Ohio LLC Online:

Thanks to technology, Filing an LLC in Ohio is easier today then ever before from the comforts of your own home instead of waiting in long lines at the Corporation Commission.

On IncFile.com, you can file an LLC for $0 Plus State Filing Fees!

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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 Ohio. It can be a person or a Resident Agent service that lives in Ohio.

You can be the resident agent yourself. Keep in mind, though, your address then becomes public record, which can cause a privacy issue.

After searching the If you want to file an LLC in Ohio, first you must come up with a different name then what is already in the database:

  • Use the steps above to do a Ohio LLC search
  • Include the abbreviation LLC in the name
  • Avoid the use of any government identified words in the name
  • Provide proof of licensure if you have a name that includes the word ‘bank,’ or ‘attorney’ for example

After you conduct the Ohio business lookup, you must file the Articles of Incorporation. The Articles of Incorporation create a separate entity for your business. This is separate from yourself.

The Articles of Incorporation are public information. Anyone can get your information including your business name, address, and stock information.

Step 3: File an Ohio DBA

Filing a DBA is not Mandatory, but it is needed if you intend on using a different name then your LLC Name. Some people choose to use a catchy Ohio DBA name for their business instead of a long form LLC name.

You can search to see if your Ohio DBA name is available through the Ohio Corporation site just like you did for the LLC.

Register Your Ohio DBA Online:

Swytfile offers a very affordable way to file your Ohio DBA online for $99 Plus State Filing Fees

All LLCs must register its DBA or assumed name with the Ohio department of state. The DBA or ‘doing business as’ name registers the business name under your LLC’s name. It’s required for anyone doing business in a name other than the legal LLC name.

Just like you did when you filed for the LLC, you’ll do a Ohio business search for the DBA name in the Ohio SOS Database. Search by entity name to determine if the name you chose is available. The name your LLC operates as must be unique. Searching with the ‘starts with’ or ‘keyword’ filter chosen will provide the best results for your Ohio DBA search.

Step 4: Buy Your Domain Name and Hosting Plan

Once You have registered your Ohio LLC and Ohio DBA and verified that your Domain Name is available, it is important to purchase your ideal Domain Name and Hosting Plan after completing your Ohio Business Name Search.

You can sign up for a FREE domain Name through NameCheap with qualified Hosting Plan.

 Search and buy domains from Namecheap

Step 5: Operating Agreement (Optional)

Occasionally, LLC’s need an Operating Agreement to outline who makes decisions for the business if there are multiple people involved in the business. The agreement helps protect the members of the LLC from lawsuits. It also helps put all agreements in writing. With all operational agreements in writing, there’s no risk of confusion.

Legalzoom has the best online Operating Agreement’s from our experience. They have some options starting at $99.

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Without an Operating Agreement, the state of Ohio’s operating rules would rule should there be an issue. This is typically not a good idea since the laws are generic. They don’t have laws for each industry/business type.

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 Ohio doesn’t need an Operating Agreement for LLCs, but it’s always advisable. You can download a free template online or ask your attorney to draw one up for you.

STEP 6: File an EIN (Tax ID) for Ohio LLC

To open a business bank Account you will need a EIN/TaxID Number. You can file your Ohio 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 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 Ohio

If you sell goods to consumers in Ohio you need a sales tax license. The goods must be something you deliver or hand to the consumer in order to collect taxes. Any digital goods or services are not taxed in the state of Ohio.

If you need a sales tax license, you’ll first need your federal EIN. It takes approximately 8-10 business days to receive your sales tax license. This is done through the Ohio Department of tax website

Once you have your EIN, go to the Ohio Department of Tax Site to complete the application for your sales tax license.

  • Step 7: Open Business Bank Account

You should open a separate business bank account to keep your personal and business expenses separate. A business bank account helps you both personally and as a business owner. In order to build business credit, you’ll need a bank account in your name so that you can get business credit cards.

Using business credit cards helps your business build credit so that you can take out larger loans down the road, should you want to expand or need an operating loan.

Each bank has different requirements, fees, and steps you must take. Check with several banks to make sure you get the best interest rates on your accounts. At the very least, you’ll need your federal EIN, Articles of Incorporation, and your business license.

Small Business Funding Options For Ohio LLC

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 Ohio LLC Identity Private

If you want to keep your Ohio LLC separate from your personal identity, we recommend that you use a statutory agent or registered agent. The registered agent is a third party that is the contact person for your business for any communication with the state.

You Can Sign Up for a Registered Agent Service for your Ohio LLC Here through Incfile.

The statutory agent receives documents including:

  • Service process notices
  • Secretary of State documents
  • Tax forms
  • Other government documents and notifications

A registered agent isn’t required if you have a physical location in the state of Ohio, but it’s a great way to keep your private information out of the eye of the public, giving you more privacy.

Benefits of Filing Your Ohio LLC Online

It can be a nerve racking experience to finally take the leap and start your business. Most people talk about starting a business, but very few actually take action and move forward to turn their dreams into a reality. Many will start the process and perform the Ohio Corporation search, and then give up as they find the process to be too tedious.

In today’s world, people are looking to get more accomplished at home without having to go wait in long lines and take unnecessary trips. Thanks to new platforms filing your Ohio LLC is as easy as can be.

We have spoken with many business owners over the years and none of them have any regrets about giving their Georgia business a shot. While many small businesses often fail, it is better to give your idea a try rather then wonder “what if” for the rest of your life.

Benefits of Opening a Business in Ohio
  • Freedom– If your business were to work out, you would be able to achieve freedom from having to report to others and ultimately have the ability to control your own destiny. This is one of best benefits business owners have shared with us over the years. Having that ability to control your hours, family time, etc is something very few people can achieve.

Unlimited Financial Upside– When you work for other people, there are many benefits such as good health insurance, retirement benefits, etc. However one of the biggest downsides is that you are often limited in the amount of income you can make. Most employers have budgets and despite how valuable you are to the company, the amount that they will pay you is often pre-negotiated in terms of a compensation plan or salary.

When you work for yourself, your income potential is truly up to you. While it may take a while to build your business, you are ultimately in charge of your own compensation and how much you want to pay yourself. The term “Eat What You Kill” is often thrown around as one of the benefits business owners share.

  • Following Your Passion- For some people starting a Ohio business is not all about the money. For instance some people leave the corporate world to start a flower shop, bakery or restaurant because they are passionate and have skills in these areas. There is great joy one can achieve when pursuing something they believe in despite making less then at a corporate job.

Creating Jobs for Others-How cool is it to think about the possibility of not only following your passions, but also helping employ others through something you are passionate about? One of the most fulfilling aspects of starting your Georgia LLC is having the ability to create jobs and bring employment to others.

Odds are you probably have had a bad boss somewhere during your career. When you own your own business and employ others, you are able to create your own company culture, benefit structure and more.

  • You Can Be Creative-When you work in the rat race, you may often feel restricted to share ideas or try new things. When you are your own boss, you have the ability to pivot and change directions on ideas at a moments notice. There is something freeing about having the ability to paint your own canvas any way you would like. You don’t like the color of the paint in your office? No problem! You can change them any color you like.

Is An LLC The Right Kind Of Business For You?

There are numerous types of business structures to choose from. Other common structures that also present an appealing set of benefits include General Partnerships, Corporations, and Sole proprietorships. What makes an LLC quite attractive, especially to small business owners, is that it offers the perfect blend of simplicity and personal asset protection.

Starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) brings forth numerous enticing benefits. The most notable perks are less regulation, personal asset protection, and pass-through taxation. In layman terms, an LLC is a kind of business structure that relieves you of being personally liable for your cooperation, yet you still enjoy the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship.

With an LLC, you get:

  • Personal asset protection from business lawsuits ( personal assets are affected when running a sole proprietorship or general partnership)
  • Reduced paperwork when getting started (unlike corporations)
  • Protect your company from double taxation (often happens with corporations)
  • Limited Liability Companies are perceived to be more credible by both lenders and customers.

A Limited Liability Company LLC is an attractive business structure for any startup. For a solo entrepreneur or a small business, the paperwork, formalities, and red tape of other forms of business structures can be quite burdensome. Even so, it is unwise to turn a blind eye to common downsides allied with this type of business. 

Let’s have a look at the two main downsides of this type of business structure:

  • Whether LLC owners get a payout or not, they must pay for their share of the profits.
  • LLCs do not attract many investors, especially when compared to corporations. This is mainly because individual profits are taxed whether a disbursement is made or not. Additionally, investors must wait for all LLC members to send out their K-1 forms and complete their personal taxes.

How Much Will It Cost You To Form An Ohio LLC?

If all signs show that an Ohio LLC is ideal for you, what next?

The good news is that forming an LLC is easy and affordable. It is not necessary to have a fortune or even a long list of investors for you to get your business up and running. This, coupled with limited liability protection, gives you optimal chances of thriving.

Let’s take a look at how much you need to get started. Do note that the overall startup costs may also depend on your business plan and future goals.

  • Name Reservation Fees

First things first, you must do an Ohio business search. This will help you choose an ideal name for your company and reserve it to ensure that no other Ohio entity can use it.  Doing a state of Ohio LLC search to determine the availability of a particular name is easy-peasy. Simply go through the Ohio Secretary of State database and file Form 534a to reserve an available name for about 180 days. The name reservation process takes 3-7 business days and will cost you around $39.

It is possible to expedite this process by paying an additional fee. For the processing to take place in a day, you need to part with $200. The additional cost to have your LLC name processed in 2 business days is $100. You could also opt to hand-deliver your file Form 534a directly to the Secretary of State and settle a $300 fee to have your LLC name processed in four hours.

Another fee that may be incurred during this part of forming an LLC is the pre-clearance filing fee. If you wish to receive personalized advice from the Secretary of State regarding the acceptability of the name you choose, you will need to settle an extra $50.

  •  Articles of Organization Fees

In the course of forming your LLC in Ohio, you will need to file articles of organization. This is also done with the Secretary of State using LLCs file Form 533a. You can search for this file online on the Secretary of State’s website and either mail the completed form or submit it online. This process takes a3-7 business days, and the fee that applies is $99.

Again, you can expedite the process and pay $200 to enjoy processing within one day. A $100 fee applies if you wish for the process to take to business days. By hand-delivering the completed LLCs file Form 533a to the Secretary of State, processing can take a maximum of four hours if you settle a $300 fee. Pre-clearance filing is also available, and it attracts an additional $50.

  •  Renewal Fees

Once you submit the initial application for forming a Limited Liability Company and it is accepted, your business will be valid for 5 years. After this, you will be expected to submit a renewal form to reserve your company’s trade name.

You are expected to begin filing for renewal at least 6 months before the five-year period elapses. The file Form 523A can be obtained from the Secretary of State, and the usual filing process takes 3-7 business days, where a $25 fee applies.

If you desire to speed up the process, you can pay a $200 fee to complete processing in one day. S $100 fee applies if you want processing to take 2 business days. For same-day processing, typically within 4 hours, one is required to pay a $300 fee and hand-deliver the completed file Form 523A to the Secretary of State. Again, you can request for pre-clearance filing for an extra $50.

Creating and maintaining an LLC is not as expensive as most people assume. The processes of reserving a name, filing articles of organization, and formally renewing the application are relatively cheap, especially if you choose to work with the Ohio Secretary of State’s usual timeframes.


  • How do you form an LLC in Ohio?

Forming a limited liability company in Ohio is pretty simple. The process involves these five simple steps:

  • Select Ohio as your state
  • Name the LLC
  • Pick a Registered Agent
  • File your Articles of Organization
  • Craft a detailed Operating Agreement
  • How do you select a registered agent?

Registered agents are businesses or persons nominated to obtain and send out legal paperwork, including tax documents, on behalf of your LLC. In Ohio, you should appoint a registered agent when setting up your LLC. This registered agent can be yourself, a professional service, or even a colleague, as long as the criteria set by your state is met.

  • How long will it take for me to set up an LLC?

Forming an LLC is not time intensive. In most cases, this process will only take 2-3 weeks after the state receives your formation documents. You can even enjoy quicker services for an extra fee.


Taking all of the above steps will help you properly file your business in the state of Ohio. As soon as you decide to go into business, conduct a Ohio Entity Search to start the process of securing your business’s name before someone else takes it.

Once you register the name and file your Articles of Incorporation, you are well on your way to start a business in Ohio . We hope this article helps create your Ohio LLC and gets your business off the ground!

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