Sugar Land, TX

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How to start your LLC in Sugar Land, TX

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE by Michael Bradley Updated: October 21, 2022
STEP 1
Instant
Name your LLC
STEP 2
Instant
Appoint a Registered Agent
STEP 3
5-7 days
File Certificate of Formation
STEP 4
Varies
Draft an Operating Agreement
STEP 5
Instant
Get an EIN (Employer Identification Number)

Why form an LLC in Sugar Land, TX?

As the name implies, this vibrant Texas city started off producing sugar. But now Sugar Land offers much more, acting as an innovation hub for many growing industries. It retains the small-town vibes but offers big-city amenities and easy access to global markets.

Are you ready to join Sugar Land’s booming economy? The first step on the road to success is creating a legal entity. The process can be intimidating, and that’s why we’re here to help. After reading this, you’ll have everything you need to form an LLC in Sugar Land, Texas.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • The five easy steps to form a Sugar Land LLC
  • Permits, licenses, and other resources to help your new business
  • The steps to take after forming your Sugar Land, Texas LLC

LLC Formation Process in a Nutshell

1. Name your LLC

How to select a name for a Sugar Land, Texas LLC? To set your business up for success, the LLC name should have solid marketing potential. It also needs to follow the legal requirements of Texas.

Section 5.5056 of the Texas Business Organizations Code requires Texas LLC names to include one of the following:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Company
  • An abbreviation of the above phrases, such as LLC, LC, or Ltd. Co.

You don’t want to have your business confused with others. Search the Texas State Comptroller’s Taxable Entity Search to verify the name is unique.

Avoid using offensive terms, illegal activities, and anything indicating involvement in strictly-regulated businesses. See the Texas rules for business entity names for specific examples.

Even if you don’t want a website immediately, it’s wise to investigate the domain names (URLs) related to your LLC name. If you don’t, someone else could buy it to resell at a significant markup.

Doing-business-as names (DBAs) allow you to operate under a name different from the LLC. For example, “Sugar Land Manufacturing LLC” could operate under “Sugar Land Machine Repair.” If you get overwhelmed in finding a perfect LLC name, remember that you can select a DBA name to operate.

Instant
Free

2. Appoint a Registered Agent

What is a registered agent? In Texas, every LLC must appoint a registered agent as the main point of contact for the business. It is the contact for legal service of process, tax documents, and other notifications.

The service of process is the paramount role of the registered agent. If anyone brings a lawsuit against your LLC, they send notices to the registered agent’s address. It’s important to maintain a presence at the registered agent’s address.

Business owners may appoint themselves as registered agents. Doing so comes with the following advantages:

  • It’s cheap: Avoids an extra expense for your new business.
  • It’s simple: Use the same contact information across the board.
  • It’s reliable: All documents and important notices will come to you.

Some of the disadvantages include:

  • No privacy: The registered agent’s address is public information. The Texas Comptroller and Secretary of State list it on their websites.
  • Junk mail/spam: High-volume advertisers may target your registered agent address.
  • No breaks: Registered agents must be available during all business hours.
  • Business interruptions: Avoid embarrassing situations by separating your business functions. Legal notices and lawsuits stay out of sight of your customers.
  • It’s your fault if you miss something: Failing to see notices is your responsibility alone without a registered agent service.

We recommend using a registered agent service to mitigate these risks. Costing around $100-$150 per year, the service receives important notices. It also keeps your address confidential. Attorneys can charge up to $500 per year to serve as registered agents.

If you choose to start your LLC by using a business formation company, they often include a registered agent service in their packages. Feel free to take a look at our registered agent recommendations article for more information.

Instant
$0 - $100

3. File Certificate of Formation

How do you file a Certification of Formation for a Sugar Land, Texas LLC? It’s time to grab some coffee if you’re dozing off because this step is critical to forming an LLC in Texas. Filing the Certification of Formation converts a business from an idea to a registered entity. Other states call this the Articles of Organization.

Some people think only an attorney can complete this task. It’s likely more straightforward than you think.

The Texas Business Organizations Code Section 3.005 specifies what should be in a Texas LLC Certificate of Formation. It needs to include the LLC name, purpose, and duration. Plus, it has the contact information for the registered agent and the people forming the LLC. The Texas Secretary of State provides a fill-in form to make this process painless.

Once complete, submit your Texas LLC Certificate of Formation. There is a $300 filing fee for Sugar Land LLCs, as described in the Texas Secretary of State’s fee schedule.

You can also review the estimated processing times. This can be up to 72 business days for documents submitted by mail or fax. Use expedited processing and electronic filing to shorten the delay to as little as 10 days.

The Secretary of State will process the application. Once complete, the SOS will provide acknowledgment to you. Then you can celebrate that your Sugar Land LLC now exists and can do business. But don’t stop here.

To save time and avoid the hassle of LLC filings, all seasoned entrepreneurs use LLC formation services. For recommendations, check out our article on the best LLC services.

5-7 days
$300

4. Draft an Operating Agreement

How to draft an operating agreement for a Sugar Land, Texas LLC? We encourage every business owner to create an operating agreement. This private contract depicts the rules by which your company does business. Without one, a Sugar Land LLC falls back to the Texas laws that might not align with your interests.

Take the time to draft and execute an operating agreement for your Texas LLC. It customizes the rules according to your business needs and expectations, including:

  • They determine the rights and duties of LLC members. If one LLC member is responsible for running the business or managing the books, the operating agreement should say so.
  • They say whether the LLC has a member or non-member manager and what the manager has the right to do. Managers also have special duties to the company and its members. The operating agreement should state these.
  • They outline what the LLC is legally able to do. The operating agreement should also set down how the company is allowed to conduct its business from day to day.
  • They say how new members can join the company. They also have rules about how exiting members can leave.
  • They set down how and when profits are paid to members. They can also create different types of membership and payment schemes.
  • They say whether members or managers are in charge. They also say how to hire and fire managers.
  • They say how and under what circumstances the LLC should end. You might not want to dissolve your business now, but you might in the future. It’s best to think about it and plan before it becomes an issue.
  • They say how to change the rules. You may need to amend your operating agreement in the future. The operating agreement should set down the rules for making changes.

Some states have mandatory operating agreement requirements. But creating one for an LLC in Sugar Land, Texas is not required and you do not need to file it with the state. They are private contracts between the LLC members.

Experienced business owners complete this vital step to protect their business and interests. We recommend using one of the best LLC formation services, which provides operating agreement templates for as little as $50.

Varies
Varies

5. Get an EIN (Employer Identification Number)

How to get an EIN for a Sugar Land, Texas LLC? The IRS uses Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) to track tax information and payments. They’re like social security numbers used for individuals.

Not all Sugar Land LLCs need to get an EIN, but many do. The IRS stipulates that an LLC needs an EIN if it has:

  • more than one member,
  • hires any employees,
  • or is taxed as a C-corporation or S-corporation.

Even if none of the above apply, we recommend getting an EIN for any Sugar Land LLC. Some states require one to file taxes. And banks need an LLC’s EIN to open a business bank account.

Obtaining an EIN is a free, painless process completed online through the IRS. It should only take a few minutes to apply. There is no reason to pay to have a third party file for you unless it’s part of a wider LLC formation package.

Read More: How to get an Employer Identification Number in Texas

Instant
Free

Cheapest way to start your LLC

Do it Yourself
Gain personal knowledge
Lower upfront cost
You're losing money when you consider how much time it takes
There's the risk of making a mistake
It's a headache
Potential price
$0
Potential time
5+ days
Formation Service
Very easy to use
Affordable ($39 for an LLC)
Same-day filing
Highly reliable
Not ideal for complex LLCs
Potential price
$39
Potential time
30 min
Attorney
A lawyer can help you manage risk
Offers more customization when you need it
Costs more than any other method
Finding one takes time
Slower compared to formation services
Potential price
> $400
Potential time
5+ days

Licenses and Permits in Sugar Land, TX

When starting a new business, you’ll need to get any necessary licenses and permits. These can come from the state, county, and city-level authorities. Failing to get the required approval can result in grave consequences.

State

A state-level general business permit or license is not required for most Texas LLCs. But Texas issues licenses for specific types of businesses. These are highly-regulated industries, such as medical, legal, and financial professionals.

Local

Besides the State’s needs, following the City of Sugar Land and Fort Bend County’s rules is critical. While a general business license isn’t offered, many business activities need to get a permit. These include things like:

  • food establishments,
  • rental housing,
  • and building construction.

Start by becoming familiar with the City of Sugar Land business permits. You’ll also need to review the Fort Bend County permits to see if your business needs any.

Reach out to the local authorities to ensure you have all you need before launching. They can help navigate the process and get you up and running in no time.

Support for Small Businesses in Sugar Land, TX

Starting a business is full of new challenges and unforeseen situations. By leveraging the experience of local leaders, you can find ways to overcome hurdles. Learn from seasoned entrepreneurs to discover the path to sustainable success.

Here is a list of local organizations dedicated to helping businesses thrive:

Next Steps After you Register your LLC

Forming your Sugar Land LLC is a monumental part of starting your business. Take a moment to celebrate, but keep up the momentum by completing a few other essential tasks right away.

  • Register a Matching Domain

    Not every Sugar Land LLC creates a website as part of the initial startup. But registering a domain name (URL) that matches your business name should be a priority. You should also consider reserving domains with names closely related.

    If you don’t secure the domain name immediately, others could buy the domain name. These people, known as domain squatters, buy the URL with the intent to resell it to you at an inflated price. Other businesses could get the domain name matching your LLC to stifle competition.

    Registering a domain name is a straightforward and affordable process. It usually costs about $20 to $50 per year. If someone else gets the rights to a domain name before you, they could charge a considerable fee. Or refuse to give it up.

  • File for a DBA (Doing Business As)

    In some cases, it makes sense for the LLC name to be different from the operating name. This is useful for LLCs that operate many businesses or want to expand in the future.

    To operate your business under another name, file for a doing-business-as (DBA) name. For example, “Sugar Land Landscaping LLC” could operate under “Sugar Land Lawn Services.” Texas calls this an assumed name.

    Follow Chapter 71 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code to get an assumed name for your Sugar Land, Texas LLC. You will need to file with the Texas Secretary of State, who has a fill-in form DBA certificate you can use. You’ll also need to meet the Fort Bend County requirements.

    A $25 fee is due to the Secretary of State upon filing. The assumed name can last up to ten years before renewal.

  • Stay Compliant

    Some states require businesses to file annual reports and other filings at regular intervals. Texas does not require annual reports. But it does have other ongoing filing requirements.

    Your Sugar Land LLC might need to consider tax considerations to stay compliant.

    Texas state imposes a franchise tax on LLCs. It uses the “net surplus” of the company, which is the company’s assets minus the members’ contributions. The Texas state comptroller’s website has more information about calculating this tax.

    You’ll need to collect and pay sales tax if your LLC sells goods. If it has employee workers, you’ll need to register for and pay employment taxes.

    Staying compliant can be challenging. The rules can be difficult to understand and adhere to, plus they can change at any time. A business accountant can be worth their weight in gold. They ensure compliance and avoid serious consequences caused by tax issues.

LLC Formation FAQs

What are the benefits of an LLC?

Most importantly, having an LLC will ensure your personal assets are protected if your business cannot pay its debts. Running your business through an LLC can also provide you with better tax treatment. In addition, LLCs have fewer and less complicated reporting requirements compared to other types of businesses, making them particularly suitable for smaller businesses.

Do I have to form an LLC to start a business?

It is not strictly necessary to form an LLC in order to start a business. You can engage in business as a sole proprietorship instead. However, in that case, your personal assets may be at risk if your business takes on too much debt or loses a lawsuit in court.

How much does it generally cost to form an LLC?

It doesn’t cost much to set up an LLC for your business. In most states, you will need to pay less than $150 to register your new LLC with the local state authorities. In some states, you may need to pay some additional costs later on, for example, when filing an annual report or filing for a DBA.

How long does it take to form an LLC?

The time it takes to have your LLC approved can vary wildly depending on the state, the filing method you used and if you opted for expedited filing. In some states, you can have your LLC approved in as little as one day, while in others, it may take weeks or even months.

If you want the fastest possible turnaround time, you should consider using online filing and pay for expedited service, if available.

How will my LLC be taxed?

The IRS and most state tax authorities treat LLCs as “pass-through” entities. This means that your LLC does not pay taxes directly (as corporations do). Instead, the tax burden is passed through to the members of your LLC. The members will then include profits and losses from the LLC’s business on their personal income tax returns.

In what state should I form my LLC?

It is generally best to form your LLC in your home state, where you will actually carry out your business. Some people believe that it is advantageous to form your LLC in Delaware or Nevada. In reality, you would then have to register with the authorities in your home state as a foreign LLC and pay additional fees – without much benefit in return.

Do I need to file for a DBA?

You are not generally required to file for a DBA (“Doing-Business-As”). However, most business owners choose to do so anyway. Getting a DBA will allow you to omit the letters LLC from your customer-facing business name. You can also have multiple names for your LLC if you want to run more than one business through your LLC.

Can I form an LLC if I am not a US citizen or US resident?

Yes, you can form an LLC for your business in any US state. There is no requirement for you to be a US citizen in order to form an LLC, nor do you need the right to reside in the US. If your business is going to own physical property in a given state, you may want to form your LLC in that state.

Do I need to hire an attorney to form an LLC for my business?

No, you don’t need to hire an attorney to form an LLC for you. It is generally much cheaper and straightforward to file the necessary paperwork yourself or to hire an affordable LLC formation service to handle the work on your behalf. However, you may want to consider hiring an attorney if your business is very complex.