How to Start a Virginia LLC in 2024 – MarketWatch

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Starting an LLC in Virginia involves straightforward naming, registered agent, and filing mandates.
Meaghan is a writer from North Carolina with experience in B2B, technology, and digital marketing topics. Throughout her career, Meaghan has worked with B2B, software, and digital marketing businesses to create and deliver engaging content that drives brand authority and revenue and helps consumers make informed buying decisions.
News organizations and business trade publications regularly name Virginia as one of the top states in the nation for businesses. When Virginia earned this honor back-to-back from CNBC, the news and business leader remarked that Virginia’s ability to hang onto this distinction even during challenging economic years speaks to the resilience of Virginia’s business climate.
If you’re interested in forming a company in Virginia, you’ve picked a very business-friendly state in which to put down roots. After confirming that an LLC is the best structure for your company, you’ll need to take a few other specific steps to ensure that your Virginia LLC is properly recognized and protected under the state’s business laws. (Need help? Use one of the best LLC services to make the process easier.) Here’s a review of those steps to help you get your business off the ground.
Starting an LLC in Virginia will include the following steps: 
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There are four primary company structures utilized by companies in the United States, which include:
Before you invest your time and effort into starting an LLC in Virginia, make sure that this is the structure that best fits your goals and business purpose. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
Sole Proprietorship: This option tends to be a better fit if you’re the sole owner of your company, plan to keep it small, and want to merge your personal and business taxes.
Partnership: This option may fit if there’s more than one major financial or practical stakeholder in your company and you’re looking to keep your costs as low as possible.
Corporation: A corporation will work well if you want to issue stock in your business, favor a strict corporate structure, aim to grow rapidly and expansively, and you’re not intimidated by extensive reporting requirements.
Limited Liability Companies: This model serves the interests of owners that don’t crave as much freedom from legally-imposed company restrictions as possible and don’t have an interest in issuing stock in their companies. If the ins and outs of how to start an LLC in Virginia suit your needs, starting an LLC in Virginia will protect your personal assets from business-related legal burdens, promote a flexible management style, and allow you to employ a flexible approach to taxation.

Naming your Virginia LLC can be a tricky business. Before you can file your company’s articles of organization with the state, you’ll need a company name that meets all of the state’s requirements. As an LLC operating in Virginia, your company name must include one of the following designation phrases:
If you’re opening a law firm, medical practice, or other professional services company, you’ll be required to register your business as a professional limited liability company. If so, you can forego these options in favor of one of the following, if you choose:
In addition to settling on a name that conveys your brand to clients or customers in an impactful way, you’ll need to make sure that no other company operating in Virginia is using the name you’ve chosen. The state won’t honor your name choice if it’s being used by another company. Consider drawing up a shortlist of your favorite options and running them through the state’s name search website to see if any or all of them are available to you.
On your articles of organization, you must name a registered agent for your business. This individual will serve as the LLC’s primary point of contact for official state mail and legal communications. Once the registered agent receives official mail or legal documentation on behalf of the business at their legal address provided to the state (registered office), they’ll then be required to forward that paperwork to the company’s management.
You can’t choose just anyone to act as a registered agent for a Virginia LLC. Under Virginia law, LLC registered agents must reside in Virginia and must either be licensed to practice law or must be an owner or officer of the LLC. You may also designate a company that does business in the state of Virginia (such as a law firm) to serve as a registered agent on behalf of your LLC.
Arguably, the most critical steps involved in how to start an LLC in Virginia are drafting your LLC’s articles of organization and submitting them to the state. To form a new Virginia LLC, you’ll need to submit form LLC1011 and pay a $100 filing fee to the state. To start a new Virginia Professional LLC, you’ll need to submit form LLC1103 in addition to paying your filing fee.
You can either file the appropriate form online or via postal mail. These forms are important because your articles of organization will both alert the state to the existence of your company and will allow you to commence business operations in the state.
Note that your LLC isn’t required to submit an operating agreement to the state, which is a common requirement in other states. Nevertheless, drafting this agreement will allow you to formalize your ownership interests, management structure, and other critical business operations. Doing so proactively can save you time, money, and stress down the road. It isn’t always enough to know how to start an LLC in Virginia. It’s also important to understand how to keep one running efficiently and effectively.
Note that formation companies may offer promotional deals or additional free services.
The initial filing fee to register an LLC with the Virginia State Corporation Commission starts at $100. There are also fees for registering a business name and obtaining the required licenses and permits, which can range from $30 to $100.
Annual costs for a Virginia LLC include the $50 annual report fee, and if desired, the $25 fee for reinstating the LLC after administratively dissolving it. Business owners should also factor in any licensing fees for their industry, fees for commercial real estate if leasing office space, and costs for legal and tax services. Though LLCs offer liability protection, it is wise to invest in business insurance. In total, Virginia entrepreneurs can expect to spend $500 to $1,000 or more to start and run an LLC in compliance with state requirements.
Forming an LLC in Virginia can be done in a cost-effective way, especially with the option of utilizing online LLC formation services. While there’s no way to form an LLC in Virginia for free due to the mandatory state filing fees, the $0 + state fees price point offered by several online formation services makes the process more accessible and affordable. ZenBusiness is one such service offering a $0 + state fees plan that covers basic formation services, although it does not include the provision of an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a registered agent service.
Starting an LLC in Virginia involves several steps to ensure that the business is compliant with state laws and regulations. The process of forming an LLC can be navigated through various methods, each tailored to meet different needs based on expertise, budget and personal experience.
The three primary ways to start an LLC in Virginia include utilizing specialized LLC formation services, hiring a professional attorney or undertaking the filing process yourself. Each of these methods has its unique advantages and challenges, making it essential to evaluate which approach aligns with your skills, budget and the level of legal complexity involved in your business setup.
Navigating the process of starting an LLC in Virginia can be streamlined by utilizing the various resources offered by the state. Being one of the best places to start an LLC, Virginia offers great resources for business owners. Below is a list of useful links to official resources and information provided by the state of Virginia to assist in the LLC formation process.
Virginia Department of Business and Supplier Diversity: Provides support for small businesses, including certifications, business development resources and more
Forming an LLC in Virginia is a fairly straightforward process that can be completed in just a few steps. The state provides ample resources like step-by-step guides and template forms to simplify the paperwork. Additionally, exploring leading LLC formation services can further streamline the process.
Navigating these steps on your own can be time consuming and there’s always a chance that you might miss a key requirement. An online resource that streamlines this process can help. Find out how easy it can be to form your LLC online today.
Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.
Frequently Asked Questions: Virginia LLC Formation
To form an LLC in Virginia, you must file articles of organization with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC). The articles must include the LLC’s name, registered agent, and principal office address. The registered agent must be a Virginia resident or entity.
The filing fee to form an LLC in Virginia is $100. You may also need to pay $25-$50 for a registered business name and $25-$100 for licenses and permits depending on your locality and business activities. Total costs range from $500-$1,000.
No, Virginia does not require a written operating agreement for an LLC, but it is highly recommended to outline the LLC’s financial and functional set-up, owner responsibilities, profit/loss distribution, etc.
The process usually takes 1-2 weeks from the date you submit the articles of organization. The SCC will review your filing and if approved, provide a certificate of organization. Your LLC legally exists once you receive the certificate.
To provide consumers with objective and accurate information, our credentialed legal experts created a comprehensive rating system for Limited Liability Company (LLC) services. We researched five online LLC, registered agent and trademark registration services, including ZenBusiness, LegalZoom, Swyft Filings, Northwest Registered Agent and Bizee (formerly Incfile).
We conducted a survey in 2024 of 200 professionals who were currently using LLC services or had used LLC services within the past year. We analyzed the results of this survey to determine the following rating criteria:
Visit the full LLC methodology page for more details on our rating system.
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