Why Start a Philadelphia LLC?
Looking to establish a foothold in a vibrant and diverse economic landscape? Starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Philadelphia could be the right move for you.
Philadelphia, nicknamed the "City of Brotherly Love," boasts a rich history, an enviable geographic location, and a range of advantages that make it an attractive destination for business ventures small and large.
Why choose Philly to start your business? Philadelphia has a steadily growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, which serves to create a supportive environment for startups and small businesses. For example, organizations like the Philadelphia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provide valuable guidance on business planning, funding options, and how to navigate business rules and regulations. Similarly, the city offers a variety of business tax credits to qualifying companies.
While every business is different, all Philadelphia LLCs enjoy a unique blend of historical significance, strategic location, and a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem. The city's connectivity, diverse economy, access to talent, and commitment to assisting small businesses all contribute to an environment where new ventures can flourish.
Benefits of Starting a Philadelphia LLC:
There are plenty of reasons why you might want to start a business in Philadelphia — here are five of the most convincing ones:
Relative affordability: The cost of living in Philadelphia is significantly lower than the cost of living in nearby New York City, and so is the cost of renting retail or office space.
Strategic location: Situated in the heart of the East Coast, Philadelphia's central location provides businesses with access to a vast market of consumers and suppliers.
Easy online access: Philadelphia has a user-friendly online portal that allows entrepreneurs to easily register their businesses, obtain licenses, and navigate local compliance requirements, reducing potential bureaucratic hurdles.
Millions of tourists: Tens of millions of tourists visit Philadelphia (and spend billions of dollars there) each year. So, if you offer products or services that appeal to tourists, the city's thriving tourism industry could be a major boon to your business.
Diverse industries: Philadelphia's diverse economy encompasses a wide range of industries, from healthcare and education to technology and manufacturing. Such diversity creates opportunities for businesses to tap into different markets, collaborate across sectors, and seek success in multiple fields.
How to Form a Philadelphia LLC Yourself in 6 Steps
Here’s how to create a Philadelphia LLC of your own:
Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search
Establish your business's identity by picking a creative name. During the brainstorming process, try to think of ideas that are one-of-a-kind, a breeze to spell and pronounce, and highly memorable. (Hint: If you're stuck, our free Business Name Generator can help.)
Once you've narrowed down your choices to a few top contenders, ensure they're not already taken by another PA business by performing a search through the Pennsylvania Department of State. Alternatively, use our Business Name Search Tool and we'll do the search for you.
Provide an Official Business Address (or Get a Virtual Address)
An official business address is about more than just giving your business a set location upon formation — it's also where you'll receive crucial business correspondence, including bills, invoices, and payments.
But what if your business doesn't have a physical street address and you don't want to use your home address to form your LLC? In that case, the most convenient solution is to get a Pennsylvania virtual address.
With our Virtual Address service, you'll get a real street address you can call your own, and we'll also scan and upload your mail to our secure online portal so you can access it whenever and wherever you want.
Assign a Registered Agent
A Registered Agent is required in all 50 states, Pennsylvania included — the only difference is that, in PA, a Registered Agent is referred to as a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP). Both a Registered Agent and a CROP perform the same function: to receive official and legal mail on your business's behalf.
If the state government sends your business a notice that it has past due fees, for example, that notice will be addressed to your CROP. If you miss this type of correspondence, the consequences could be time-consuming and costly.
So, instead of listing yourself or a business partner as your CROP, we strongly recommend using a Registered Agent service. A dedicated professional will receive all legal and official mail on your behalf and promptly notify you of any new correspondence. That means no missed deadlines, no late fees, and no wasted time.
File Your Certificate of Organization With the Pennsylvania Department of State
After securing a name, address, and Registered Agent, you'll be ready to make your Philadelphia LLC official by filing your Certificate of Organization with the PA Department of State.
On your Certificate of Organization form, you'll need to provide key details about your business and who owns it.
Once your form is completed, you can mail it to:
File by Mail
Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
P.O. Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722
State Filing Time
Expedited Filing Time
4 Business Days
Decennially in years ending with the number “1” (2021,2031, etc.)
Any time during the reporting year.
*The decennial filing is only required if no other filing (agent changes, amendments, etc.) have been submitted to the state during that 10 year period.
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) From the Internal Revenue Service
To be clear, not all businesses need an EIN. But if you want to hire employees or if you have a multi-member LLC that will be taxed as a partnership, you'll be required to get one.
You can get an EIN — also known as a Tax ID Number — by applying directly through the IRS. Or, if you want to save yourself some paperwork, use our EIN service and we'll do the legwork for you.
Create an Operating Agreement
Like many other states, Pennsylvania doesn't require LLCs to have an operating agreement in order to form. The fact remains, though, that it’s always wise to create one.
Why? An operating agreement essentially serves as a roadmap for running your business. It defines who's in charge, what each person's responsibilities are, and what to do if certain events unfold.
Having a well-written operating agreement can prevent a number of headaches and disagreements down the road. Take the time to create one now — you'll be glad you did. And once you become an Incfile customer, you'll automatically get access to our operating agreement template.
Other Philadelphia LLC Types
When you create an LLC in Philadelphia, you'll have the chance to form one of these special LLC types:
Restricted Professional Company
If your company will offer any restricted professional services, it will need to be formed as a restricted LLC.
These services include:
- Medicine and surgery
- Public accounting
- Veterinary medicine
Learn more about PLLC vs. LLC and which one is right for your company.
Will your company serve a purpose that benefits the general public? It may be categorized as a benefit LLC.
Note that benefit companies are required to prepare an Annual Benefit Report, distribute the report to its members, and file it with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
If you formed your LLC in another state but want to do business in Philadelphia (or any other part of Pennsylvania), you'll need to register your company as a foreign LLC.
Find out more about Pennsylvania foreign LLC registration.
Helpful Resources for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania both offer a variety of helpful resources for small business owners.
Looking for general information? Check out:
And if you need resources for Philadelphia businesses in particular, see: