Yes, you can have multiple businesses under one LLC. You can run two or more businesses under one LLC by either:
- running all the business activities under one LLC name, or
- registering DBAs (“doing business as”), also known as Fictitious Names.
Whether that LLC has any DBAs (Fictitious Names) is up to you. Meaning, you don’t have to file a DBA to run multiple businesses under one LLC, but you certainly can file a DBA (or multiple DBAs) if you’d like.
You’ll want to look at the pros and cons of one LLC versus multiple LLCs. It would also be advisable to speak with an attorney about the details of your situation and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Running multiple businesses under one LLC
- easy to test business models, products, offerings, etc.
- initially simpler (but not if things grow)
- lower costs (one articles of organization and one LLC annual report)
- liability risk could be larger (all liability under one “roof”)
- non-separate finances and books could be confusing
Among our readers, we usually see people fall into two groups.
• The first is those who have little money, perceive their risk to be high, and are testing out business models and how to make money. They’ll often have multiple business activities under one LLC.
• The second is a more experienced business person. They’ve established profitability or are confident in what they’re doing. They decided to “do it right” from the start, form two LLCs, and keep the liability separate.
While there are more pros listed above than cons, we often see more experienced business owners choose to separate their liability exposure and set up a different LLC for each business.
Am I required to register a DBA for my LLC?
No, you don’t have to register a DBA/Doing Business As for your LLC.
Note: Depending on your state, a DBA may be called a Fictitious Name, Trade Name, or Assumed Name. They all mean the same thing though; think of it as a “nickname” for your LLC.
(related article: do I need a DBA for my LLC?)
If you want to have one LLC that has multiple businesses under it, sometimes people prefer to register a DBA for each type of business activity. Alternatively, the LLC could just do business under its true LLC name.
Again, the choice is up to you though. You’re not required to register a DBA for your LLC’s business activities, but you can if you’d like to.
Is it better to have 2 LLCs instead?
Many people prefer to limit the liability, and therefore would choose two LLCs instead of one.
If you have one LLC doing multiple different activities, the liability exposure could be increased.
For example, if your LLC sells products online and also has a small shop in town, if you’re sued because of an issue that happens with an online customer, that could jeopardize your physical store location.
Example of one LLC with multiple DBAs
Under this setup, there is only one LLC that runs several businesses (each under a different name).
Example: John’s Fresh Produce LLC runs a meat deli shop called “John’s Deli Shop” and a vegetable store called “John’s Fresh Veggies”. Note that there is only one LLC that does business under two different names.
Example of multiple LLCs running separate businesses
Under this setup, multiple LLCs run separate businesses.
Example: Dan’s Bike Shop LLC runs a bike shop while”Mike’s Motorcycle Store LLC runs a motorcycle store. Note that the two LLCs are entirely separate and unrelated entities that run their own respective businesses.
How does this affect my taxes?
For most people, whether you have one LLC or two LLCs, the amount you pay in taxes should be relatively the same. How you file your taxes may vary though.
One LLC with one line of activity or multiple lines of activity will be reporting all income and losses together.
• For a Single-Member LLC (taxed as a Sole Proprietorship) that means income/losses are usually reported on a Schedule C, as a part of your personal 1040 tax return.
• For a Multi-Member LLC (taxed as a Partnership) that means income/losses are reported on a 1065 Partnership Return and then each LLC Member will get a K-1 for their share of income/loss.
(related article: how is my LLC taxed?)
If you have multiple LLCs, the amount you pay in taxes will be more or less the same, but how those taxes are filed will vary from the above example.
• Multiple Single-Member LLCs (taxed as Sole Proprietorships) will report their income/loss on multiple Schedule Cs, however, the combined amount of Schedule C income/loss just “flows” to your personal 1040 tax return.
• Multiple Multi-Member LLCs (taxed as Partnerships) will report their income/loss on multiple 1065 Partnership Returns and the LLC Members will be issued K-1s (one from each LLC). However, all the K-1 income/loss will “flow” to the Member’s personal 1040 tax return.
Separate bank accounts
If you decide to form multiple LLCs, you’ll not only want to keep all business activity separated, you’ll also want to open separate LLC bank accounts.
Additionally, you’ll want to keep a separate set of books. That can be done via a spreadsheet or online software, such as QuickBooks Online.
We hope this article has been helpful in painting an overview of whether multiple business should be ran under one LLC or multiple LLCs.
226 comments on “Can you have two businesses under one LLC?”
Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.
Thanks for the article, Matt!
One question for you. If I operate 2 different businesses (DBAs) under the same LLC, do you know if they both could be covered by the same general liability insurance policy, or would I have to get a separate policy for each DBA?
If I set up a 2 dbas for one llc and later decide I want to have separate llcs, it that possible?
I really appreciate all the information you’ve provided, it has been very helpful. Do you have any information/feedback on Series LLCs- more specifically for Indiana. I own several rental properties and Indiana is one of the states that allows and LLC that I am seriously considering; and trying to determine if it’s best to do that are just multiple LLCs– or a C-corp as the owner of the other entities. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you, Marva
Hi Marva, you’re very welcome :) Unfortunately, we haven’t done our “deep dives” into Series LLCs yet, so we don’t cover them at this time.
Okay,Thank you! I still appreciate the wealth of information available here
You’re welcome! Thanks so much. Happy to help :)
Hey Matt! First off thank you for all of this information. I’ve been lost on videos and feel like I’m always getting different information from different people. I have a few questions:
Currently i have:
One rental property that is paid for in VA (Ex. VA Rental LLC)
One rental property looking to be purchased in AK in the next couple months (will assign a separate LLC)
Investing in a trucking company partnership out of TX(I’m assuming a new LLC and then use that LLC to partner with the other parties??)
Joining into a current business using a partnership (would i create a new LLC and then use that LLC to partner with the existing business for asset protection?
So there’s currently a lot going on. I’ve always had the idea that i would use a single company name for all of my ventures but realized that one wrong lawsuit could strip all i’ve worked for. Is there a legal way to use one business name and still separate the LLCs?
I know when I open each llc i need to open all individual bank accounts but is it possible to funnel all profits into one parent company bank account? Or do I simply deposit the funds for each business into their own separate accounts and then transfer out to my personal or the parent name account?
I know i have additional questions but don’t want to overload you especially since I’m hoping that some questions get answered as if figure all of this out.
Thank you so much in advance.
Hey JMJ! There’s no “one size fits all” best answer to this stuff… there’s many ways to slice the pie. However, you may want to consider having a Holding Company LLC (formed wherever you like). And then that LLC owns VA Rental LLC, AK Rental LLC, Trucking Ventures LLC, Partnership/Joint Ventures LLC, etc.
There isn’t a simple way to use one business name for all ventures. For example, you could use a DBA for your LLCs, however, that adds to the paperwork complexity, banking logistics, and you’ll need to use the LLC names anyway in contracts and agreements. Personally, I’d avoid DBAs, especially with a lot of entities.
You could also form an LLC in each state under the identical name (assuming they’re available), but if you want to be confused (and confuse others), this is definitely the way to do it. I definitely wouldn’t do this LOL.
If you have the Parent/Child LLC setup (aka Holding/Subsidiary LLC setup), all businesses would deposit money into their respective bank accounts. Then LLC distributions would be sent from the Subsidiary LLCs to the Holding Company LLC. Then from there, the Holding Company LLC would send distributions to you. All the Subsidiary LLCs would be Disregarded Entities. So the Subsidiary LLCs wouldn’t file their own tax returns. Instead, everything would be reported on the Holding Company’s tax return.
Awesome article! Our business grew way faster than expected and we now have 8 business locations under 1 LLC. They are all the same franchise brand. They are also across 4 states. How would we break those in 4 llc (one per state)? Does our current llc become the holding company? And we just apply for a new Ein for each subset of locations we want to have under the new llc? Could all employee paychecks go through the holding llc or would employees to get set up as new hires under the new llc for their specific location? Worried about the complexities since we currently offer medical to certain employees through our llc. What are other best practices to know when splitting a single LLC up to reduce liability?
Thanks Hillary! And congrats! Do you own any real estate, or are all locations leased?
There’s a lot of ways to go about this. However, if you’re worried about complications and want to keep things simple re: employees and payroll, you could just run everything through one LLC, and purchase adequate business insurance. However, the LLC will need to register as a foreign LLC in 3 states. So it would be one LLC (formed in its original state) with 3 registrations (aka foreign qualifications) to do business in 3 other states. Then all payroll and benefits stay the way they are.
Here’s an alternative variation. You form a new LLC (in whatever state you’d like). This will be the LLC holding company. You keep the original LLC you have, but you assign the LLC Membership Interest from yourself to your LLC holding company. So now LLC#1 is owned by the LLC holding company.
Then you can form 3 new LLCs, each in its own state. Make all 3 of these LLCs owned by the LLC holding company. So now you have 4 LLCs all owned by your LLC holding company. Each LLC will need its own EIN Number and its own LLC bank account. And if each LLC is going to hire employees, each LLC would need to meet each respective state’s employee compliance requirements. And payroll and benefits would need to be ran through each of the 4 LLCs.
A slight variation to that is to set up a 5th LLC. Let’s call this your staffing company LLC. Just like the original scenario, you’d still need to foreign qualify this LLC in every state where you have employees, but now you’re isolating your employment liability to its own LLC (which is separate from your 4 operational LLCs). Then you’d have a have an agreement in place between the staffing company LLC and the 4 operational LLCs. Basically, the staffing company provides employees and staff for your operational LLCs for a fee. And you’d have an agreement in place. This will keep all payroll and benefits in one company.
I know, a lot to think about. Let me know if you have any questions. I’d also recommend speaking with the franchise (you’ll need new franchise agreements for the 3 new LLCs, if you went that route) and it might be helpful to speak to an asset protection attorney in the state where you reside. And an employment attorney. There isn’t a simple “one size fits all” best answer here. There’s many ways to slice the pie. Hope that helps though.
Thank you for the quick reply! We currently are doing the insurance route – we have a VERY large umbrella policy & EPLI policy. All our locations are leased and they are all identical brand. It has been much easier because we are able to just classify expenses and assets by location in our books but dont have to worry about if the vendor or state is using the correct EIN/business name. And, has made our growth seamless as we have done just as you said and registered as forgein entities each time we are in a new state. Besides general insurance & EPLI -are there other insurance policy types youd recommend if we stayed the course with just the one LLC for all locations? Does a large enough insurance coverage adequately negate the concerns of liabilty risk from not being separate LLC for each location? I worry about splitting out the locations into new LLC with how many overhead staff we have that technically do work across many of the locations (supervisors etc). I worry we would drown in paperwork & logistical missteps if we tried to run them as 10 LLCs. But, articles implying that one LLC for multiple locations (especially 10 like us) is a terrible decision…this worries me that we made the wrong call having them all under 1 LLC despite our very large umbrella policy.
You’re very welcome Hilary. I think you pointed something out that’s super important (that so many articles likely don’t cover). Like you said, you were able to scale your business using just one entity. Having lots of entities – especially for a business that already has a lot of moving parts – can drain massive energy. It takes a lot of bandwidth to set up and continually maintain and use correctly.
Glad to hear you have the foreign qualifications in place and the insurance policies. We’re not as well versed in insurance as LLCs, so don’t have much to comment on there; apologies. And I might be able to elaborate on an idea re: assets and intra-liability (one location affecting another in a worse-case-scenario-lawsuit-event). But first, what assets does each location have that the others don’t?
i have two business.Ones is selling E-commerce products on Shopify and the other one is service based business as a paid advertising agency.Like Facebook advertising service for customers.Can i operate these two business under one LLC and same bank account? Thank you in advance.
Hi Oguz, yes, you can. It’s better to think of them not as 2 separate businesses (because they won’t be; it’ll be one LLC… aka, one business entity), but think of them as 2 separate business activities. Hope that helps :)
I have created 3 different one product shopify stores (and still going). Im in the process of getting paperwork done and very confused. Thanks for your information I now understand the risk part of it however still would like advice on what you would do.
Can I do business under my assumed name (EIN already given) until the stores show profit and then apply for an LLC? Is that recommended? Just trying to save money in case one or more stores are a flop. Also, do I have to get assumed name for each one when im starting out?
When i see profit and want to create an LLC should I create an LLC for each one product store or create an llc like “blah blah blah commerce” and have each website under that main LLC? (If assumed name is okay in the beginning i dont mind spending the money on seperate LLCs because at that point I’ll know the product site is profitable)
I was also reading into LLCs being taxed as an S corp. Do you recommend this?
Sorry for all the questions and if some of them dont make sense I am literally teaching myself everything from scratch and just started 2 weeks ago.
Hey Margareta, no worries on the questions. I totally get it. There’s a lot to unpack with LLCs LOL! I’ll give you my honest take based on what you shared. First, don’t worry about an LLC taxed as an S-Corporation right now. They are much more complicated to setup and far more complicated to maintain. They only make sense to begin looking at once there is at least $70,000 of net income per LLC Member (on a consistent basis).
Also, it sounds like you’re in the testing phase with various different store ideas, products, etc. I’d keep things super simple and just focus on making money. And even if things grow, having multiple LLCs for this sounds like overkill. And could be really stressful with a lot of paperwork to manage, multiple bank accounts, multiple tax filings, etc.
If I wanted to keep things super simple, I’d just operate all stores as a Sole Proprietorship with an Assumed Name (aka DBA), which is sounds like that’s what you have. Then when I have extra funds, I’d form an LLC and run the stores through one LLC. Does that help?
Thank you for this article, and please forgive me if you already sort of answered this, but I have heard some conflicting information.
I have an LLC in Georgia for online selling (ebay etc) and I am wanting to do freelance bookkeeping services which is really a totally different line of business. Is it possible/legal for me to get a DBA for the bookkeeping under the same LLC? If so, in your opinion do you think it would be better to have a separate LLC? My online selling is very small time right now but could grow.
Thank you so much.
You’re very welcome Christy. You don’t have to do anything; it’s up to you. Meaning, you can run multiple different business activities through your LLC (with or without a DBA). Or you could form 2 LLCs. Gauging from your tone though, it sounds like simpler might be better. And you focusing on your bookkeeping services might have the biggest ROI for you. So personally, I’d focus my efforts on growing that business. And if I happen to sell a few items through the same LLC, that’s probably a lot easier than having another LLC (with its own bank account, separate EIN Number, etc). And with one LLC (and multiple different business activities), you don’t need a DBA for online selling. For your taxes, you’d just have two Schedule Cs. Hope that helps.
Thank you! That really helps a lot! :)
You’re very welcome Christy!
Hi, thank you for your help. I am going to open a truck company with a partner what will be the best legal adult entity to open the truck company three separate LLc one for my partner, one for me and one for the business and how that work. Thank you again for your help.
As far as entity structuring (entities owning entities), there isn’t a single answer to the “best” set up. Having said that, you might not need the complexity. You could just form a Multi-Member LLC. Aka, one LLC owned by both of you.
Thank you for your help They told me for Taxes purpose is better that way open 3 LLC
You’re welcome Roger.
Thank you for providing the article, it was very helpful. If I were to establish a PLLC with a professional license, am I also able to provide services outside of what that license entails. For example sake, let’s say the PLLC is established through an existing Certified Public Accountant license. Could that PLLC also sell clothes under the same PLLC? Or could those services (which do not need an LLC or PLLC) just be considered as being sold under the same name of the company, just not with the PLLC after its name.
Thank you in advance.
Hi Laurel, you’re very welcome. I don’t have all the state’s PLLCs acts on the top of my noggin, since we do less work with PLLCs. You’ll want to check your state’s LLC statute or call the Secretary of State. However, generally, PLLCs are restricted to only engaging in professional services.
I have a registered corporate name in Utah which operates a “Doing Business As” entity, can I rent the use of the entity name (the DBA) without losing ownership? I am entering into a 5 year “lease to own” relationship with an individual and their accountant wants them to have access to the name (this has to do with credit and factoring).
Hi Ron, I don’t follow. DBAs aren’t entities. And I’m not sure what you mean by “corporate name”. If you are licensing the rights to a name, it might be best to speak to an attorney to draw up the paperwork and strategize with; one who’s familiar with name rights and licensing agreements. Hope that helps.
Wow, this was incredibly helpful! I have two questions.
I’m about to form an LLC for a consulting business I’ve been doing as a sole proprietor for a while, and my wife has a graphic design side hustle. Should I have her setup her side hustle as a separate LLC or add it as a DBA under my LLC?
Finally, if I go with the latter, can I have one bank account and deposit payments under both the LLC’s name and the DBA’s name, so my clients can pay me and her clients pay her?
I would love to know the answer to this question as well! I have two businesses personally, and my husband is considering starting consulting. None carry a lot of liability and wondering if we can set it up with all of them under one family LLC.
Hi Sarah, just letting you know I replied below :)
Thanks Eric! You’ll want to double-check with your bank of choice, but typically yes; an LLC can open a bank account and deposit payments made payable to the LLC and to its DBA (assuming of course the DBA is registered and given to the bank at the time you open the LLC bank account). About whether or not to use one LLC or two for your and your wife’s business activities, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to this. For simplicity, yes, you could have multiple business activities under one LLC (with or without a DBA or DBAs). However, if you’d rather keep things separate and/or isolate liability, then 2 LLCs may be preferred.
Hi! Thanks for your help by creating this content!
I’d like to ask couple questions:
– if сan I have one LLC and receive money from social media (website development), construction, painting and transportation?
– Is it possible to have different licenses for one LLC? (eg painting, construction, transportation)?
I know that better way is separate theese jobs by other LLC. Just I’d like know this.
– how to change the type of LLC activity(at ex. painting to transportation), how much does it cost, how to do it and how long it will take?
Thanks a lot!
You’re welcome Di! Yes, you can have one LLC with multiple different business activities (social media, construction, transportation, etc.). Yes, an LLC can have multiple different business licenses and permits. You don’t have to form a separate LLC for all of these. Typically, an LLC can engage in any lawful activity, so you don’t have to file any “change of activity”. Just use your LLC however you want.
Hi, if you have one llc for managing social media and marketing, can your other llc, that resells products, be a client for the first llc? Is it okay to bill one for services, even if you own both?
Hi John, yes, both are okay. One LLC can do business with the other LLC, and they can exchange funds for services… even if you own both LLCs.
If you setup a holding LLC company, then say 2 LLCs underneath it, how much more (on average) will an accountant charge you to file your taxes each year with that kind of structure since you will now have a much more complicated situation and more Schedule C and etc… forms to fill out, vs just having multiple DBAs under one LLC? (For this example I’m talking about a single member disregarded LLC)
Hi Will, it’s not entirely complicated. If I had to guess, maybe $300 to $600 more per year. Hope that helps.
How do Gas Stations do it? do they have a separate LLC/S Corp for all their stations in the city? Reason I ask is that my client is going to do tires at different locations…..wants to separate liabilities…
I don’t know all the ins and outs of that industry, but here’s how I’d do it. I’d set up an LLC holding company. All this parent LLC does is own other LLCs. And this parent LLC could be taxed as an S-Corp (depends on the owner’s financial situation) if you want. And then the “child LLCs” (aka subsidiary LLCs) own the stations/real estate. This way, there is separation of liability, but one consolidated tax return.
Thanks Mark, that seems to make lots of sense, will try that method.
You’re welcome :)
Hi, I have a quick question. I currently have a business as a tax preparer and bookkeeper. I want to add Loan Signing Notary agent as a business but I am not sure can I keep everything under my one LLC. I have error and omission insurance but wasn’t sure if it’ll be necessary to create a new LLC for the Notary with a new business bank account and insurance etc.. It seems to be all in the same type of industry but I am not 100% sure.
Hi Lily, you’re not required to form a LLC for each business activity. You can run all those activities under one LLC if you’d like!
Thank you for this article! I have a Texas LLC with one DBA. I would like to add another DBA. Will I be able to open another bank account for the new DBA without any problem? Will I have to pay state sales tax for both DBA’s under my existing tax id or can I get a tax id for the new DBA?
Hi Bruce, double-check with your bank, but you shouldn’t have an issue opening another bank account for your LLC/DBA. You won’t have to pay sales tax for a DBA, since the DBA is just a “nickname” for your LLC. The LLC pays sales tax. And no, you don’t get a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN Number) for a DBA. Only for the LLC. No matter how many DBAs you have, they are all just nicknames for your one business entity, your LLC. Hope that helps.
I found very useful content about Business/LLC…
I have a question let say I registered my LLC in TX and while applying to get EIN, I mentioned Consulting/IT Consulting….
After getting EIN I have decided not to work on Online Selling…
Do I need a new EIN?
Do I need to close my LLC and open a new one and apply to get a new EIN?
or submit any form to update the inform from Consulting/IT consulting to Online Selling?
Hey Smaz, actually, none of that. What you tell the IRS your business will initially do isn’t “set in stone”. You can change this anytime and you shouldn’t get a new EIN or form a new LLC. And you don’t need to notify the IRS.
Very helpful information! Thank you for putting it together!
You’re very welcome Gabrielle!
If you start an LLC with several small businesses, can you later split them into more LLCs if the businesses grow larger than expected?
Yes, you certainly can√
I have an LLC to cover an Amazon store that I have running.
Prior to creating my LLC and opening up my Amazon store, I created a Shopify store with a different name. It’s never been active, but I would like to start using it soon. Will I have to register it as a DBA under my LLC, or am I okay to leave it as is and just register the DBA with my bank?
Thank you so much for this information!
You’re welcome Kim. You can run both stores (aka both business activities) under one LLC. If one of the businesses will do business under a different name, you’d register a DBA with the state or county (depends on the state). You can then have one bank account under the LLC name for both business activities, or you could open a 2nd bank account (in the name of the LLC and its DBA) for the Shopify store. Hope that helps.
Thank you! This article was great and answered a ton of questions for me.
You’re very welcome Jessica!