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I've received a payment and will continue to be receiving payments contingent on me getting paid as an LLC. The problem with that is, is that starting an LLC is expensive and I don't have the funding on my own to start this LLC, but I can't cash the check because that's what its written out to, instead of myself. How would I go about this so that I can start using this money?

EDIT I am in Orlando, Florida

  • Welcome to Money.SE. Could you comment or edit your post to indicate what jurisdiction you are in? – Vicky Mar 11 '15 at 9:34
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    How expensive is expensive? According to the official instructions, the State of Florida LLC filing fees are $125. After that you should be able to open a bank account in the company name. – mustaccio Mar 11 '15 at 15:01
  • To back up @mustaccio's comment, you can even get a company to do all of the paperwork and such and get most everything taken care of for $300~$500, depending on the options – Noah Mar 11 '15 at 15:29
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How would I go about this so that I can start using this money?

You would open the LLC. The checks were not written out to you, they were written out to the LLC. Only the LLC can endorse them.

  • Yes, but I don't have enough personal money to start the LLC – Brian says Reinstate Monica Mar 11 '15 at 4:39
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    @BrianLeishman so why did you tell people to pay to the LLC then? Bummer. Now you're stuck. – littleadv Mar 11 '15 at 4:43
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    I didn't, I was hired as an independent contractor and because of tax reasons they were unable to pay otherwise – Brian says Reinstate Monica Mar 11 '15 at 4:47
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    @BrianLeishman so they paid a non-existent company for the work you've done? Sue them. "Tax reasons"? Not sure what that would mean, but in any case - shouldn't be your problem. – littleadv Mar 11 '15 at 4:54
  • @littleadv If the work was contingent on OP being an LLC, and OP is not an LLC, then any suit is more likely to results in a countersuit. – DJClayworth Oct 5 '16 at 15:18
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Depending on how the check was made out, you may be able to file a DBA ("doing business as"), which would give you the business name locally. Then open an account under that name and deposit the check.

Or simply go back to the customer and say "hey, I don't have yhe company bak account open yet; could I exchange this check for one made out to me personally?" That's how I've been handling hobby income under a company name. (I really do ned to file that DBA!)

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    You cannot DBA as LLC if you're not an actual LLC – littleadv Mar 11 '15 at 17:06
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    If the check is made out to Xxxx, LLC that's a problem. If it's just madeoutto Xxxx, a DBA will probably suffice for now, to be replaced by the LLC once you incorporate. – keshlam Mar 11 '15 at 17:11
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    If you are advertizing yourself as 'LLC' and you're not an LLC then you may be in trouble – DJClayworth Oct 5 '16 at 15:15
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I expect the company wanted to pay you for a product (on a purchase order) rather than as a contract laborer. Whatever.

Would they be willing to re-issue the check to you as a sole proprietor of a business named ABC Consulting (or anything like that)? You can register your sole proprietor business with the state using a "Doing Business As" (DBA, or fictitious name), and then open the bank account for your business using the check provided by the customer as the first deposit. (There is likely a smaller registration fee for the DBA.)

If they won't re-issue the check and you have to go the LLC route...

Scrounge up $125 doing odd jobs or borrowing from a friend or parents. Seriously, anyone can earn that amount of money in a week or two.

Besides the filing fee for the LLC, your bank may require you to provide an Operating Agreement (which is not required by the State). The Operating Agreement can be simple, or more complex if you have a partner (even if it's a spouse). If you do have a partner, it is essential to have such an agreement because it would specify the responsibilities and benefits allocated to each partner, particularly in the event of equity distributions (taking money out of the business, or liquidating and ending the LLC).

There are websites that will provide you a boilerplate form for Operating Agreements. But if your business is anything more than just single member LLC, you should pay an attorney to draw one up for you so the wording is right. It's a safeguard against potential future lawsuits.

And, while we're at it, don't forget to obtain a EIN (equivalent to a SSN) from the IRS for your LLC. There's no cost, but you'll have to have it to file taxes as a business for every year the LLC exists and has income.

Good luck!

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