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Starting a business in Nevada takes 7 steps:
- Choose a name for your business
- Choose the right type of business entity
- Register your business with the Nevada Secretary of State
- Get your EIN Number (Federal Tax ID Number)
- Open a business bank account and get a business debit/credit card
- Get a state business license
- Register with the Nevada Department of Taxation
We’ll show you how to complete each step. We will also give you some tips to make starting your business in Nevada easier.
Step 1: Choose a Name for Your Nevada Business
Choosing a name for your Nevada business is not something you want to breeze through. In fact, rushing the process of choosing your business name can be a big mistake.
We recommend taking some time to choose a name people will remember and associate with your business.
To make sure your business is worth remembering, you should choose a name that:
- rhymes or contains alliteration (ex: Piggly Wiggly, Dunkin’ Donuts)
- speaks about the benefits of your business
- you can say with pride
- is easy to pronounce
- has a positive connotation for your potential customers
- and ideally, is available as a “.com” domain name
By the way, the first bullet point above refers to the phonological loop. Your brain can better remember words that rhyme and sound similar.
For additional steps and some good business naming tips, check out how to choose a good business name.
After you’ve thought of a few business names, you should search them on the Nevada Business Name Search page: https://www.nvsos.gov/sosentitysearch/corpsearch.aspx
How to find a good domain name:
Finding a good domain name nowadays is not always that easy. To help you out, we recommend using Lean Domain Search: https://www.leandomainsearch.com
Just enter one or two key terms relevant to your business, and the tool will come up with a list of domain names that are not only available, but are easy to spell and remember.
(note: there’s more tips on domain names and websites at the bottom of this guide)
Step 2: Choose the Right Type of Business Entity
Next, you’ll need to decide the best type of legal structure for your Nevada business.
The most common are a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, or Limited Liability Company (LLC).
A Sole Proprietorship in Nevada happens when you operate your business as yourself. There is no separate legal entity created; the law treats you and your business as one person. You are responsible and personally liable for all business activities or any wrongdoing.
A Nevada Partnership is the same as a Sole Proprietorship, but just with 2 or more people. Like a Sole Proprietorship, a Partnership doesn’t create a separate legal entity and the partners are responsible and personally liable for any business activity or wrongdoing.
A Nevada Corporation is a more complex legal structure that requires a board of directors, corporate officers, and shareholders. Corporations don’t usually work for most small business owners since they face double taxation. Corporations can be beneficial to companies that are looking to raise capital investment, take the company public, or have large healthcare expenses for their employees. The most common types of companies that form Corporations are high-growth technology and startup companies.
Unlike a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership, a Corporation is a separate legal entity. It provides personal liability protection for its owners (shareholders).
An LLC in Nevada is a hybrid entity that combines the benefits of a Corporation and a Sole Proprietorship/Partnership.
A Nevada LLC is a separate legal entity under the law. And like a Corporation, it provides personal liability protection for the owners. If the LLC is sued, the owner’s personal assets – like their home, cars, and bank accounts – are protected. And like a Sole Proprietorship, an LLC also has pass-through taxation (so there’s no double taxation).
A Nevada LLC is the most popular option and a good choice for people who want to run a business for two reasons:
- Personal liability protection (personal assets are kept safe)
- No double taxation
Unlike a Sole Proprietorship (and a Partnership), your Nevada LLC’s assets are separate and distinct from your personal assets. In the event your LLC gets sued, your personal assets are protected.
And unlike a Corporation, your LLC is not subject to double taxation. Instead, your LLC’s profits will “flow through” to your personal tax return.
For more details, on which is the best entity type for you, please see: LLC vs Sole Proprietorship vs Corporation.
If you want to form an LLC in Nevada, we have instructions here: Nevada LLC formation.
If you want to form a Corporation in Nevada, you can file it yourself or you can hire a filing company like Northwest Registered Agent.
Step 3: Register Your Business with the Nevada Secretary of State
You may need to file business formation documents with the Nevada Secretary of State.
The cost to form a Nevada LLC is $425.
This breaks down as follows: $75 for the Articles of Organization, $200 for the State Business License, and $150 for the Initial List of LLC Managers or Managing Members.
For most people, the cost to form a Nevada Corporation is $725.
This breaks down as follows: $75 (or more) for the Articles of Incorporation, $500 for the State Business License (instead of $200 for LLCs), and $150 for the Initial List of Officers and Directors.
Note: The filing fees will be calculated based on the total value of the shares that the Corporation issues. The larger the total value, the larger the state filing fee.
Nevada Sole Proprietorship or Partnership:
Unlike a Nevada LLC and a Nevada Corporation, if you choose to operate your business as a Sole Proprietorship (1 owner) or a Partnership (2 or more owners), you don’t have to file a “formation” document with the state.
Instead, you just need to obtain a State Business License, which is $200.
For more information on the Nevada State Business License, please see here: https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/licensing/state-business-license/state-business-license-faq
If you would like for your Sole Proprietorship or Partnership to operate and do business under a name besides the first and last name of the owner(s), you’ll want to register a Fictitious Firm Name (FFN), also known as a DBA or Doing Business As.
In Nevada, Fictitious Firm Names/DBA Names aren’t filed with the Secretary of State. Instead, they are filed with the County Clerk’s Office which is located in the same county where you’ll be doing business.
For FFN/DBA filing fees and instructions, you’ll need to call the County Clerk’s Office where you’ll be doing business.
You can find County Clerk information here: https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/businesses/resources/county-clerk-information-for-filing-a-fictitious-firm-name-or-dba-doing-business-as
Note: If you’re going to form an LLC or Corporation in Nevada and operate under the LLC or Corporation’s full name, you don’t have to file a Fictitious Firm Name/DBA.
For more information on whether or not a DBA name is needed, please see: Do I need a DBA?
If you have any questions, you can contact the Nevada Secretary of State:
Step 4: Get an EIN Number
An EIN Number is also known as an Employer Identification Number or Federal Tax ID Number. It is used by the IRS to identify your Nevada business for tax purposes.
Think of your EIN Number as the “social security number” of your Nevada business.
The EIN Number for your Nevada business is used to open a bank account, file taxes, get financing, and handle employee payroll (if applicable).
You can get an EIN for your Nevada business by mail, fax, or online. Getting your EIN online is the fastest option, since it only takes about 15 minutes.
You can access the IRS EIN Online Application here: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online
For instructions on how to complete the online EIN application for a Nevada LLC, please see here: Nevada EIN Number.
Note: Make sure your LLC or Corporation is approved before applying for your EIN Number.
Step 5: Open a Business Bank Account
A separate business bank account and debit/credit card for your Nevada business is important because:
- it keeps your personal assets separate from your business assets
- accounting and finances will be easier to manage
One of the main reasons courts are able to “pierce the corporate veil” is due to the commingling of assets. This is when business and personal finances are mixed together.
Keeping the assets of your Nevada business separate from your personal assets also helps keep clean records.
To learn how to open a bank account for your Nevada LLC, you can read this lesson: LLC business bank account
Your bank will provide you with a debit card after the account is open. You can also get a business credit card and earn cash back or other rewards.
Step 6: Nevada State Business License
All businesses in Nevada are required to get a State Business License. This license allows you to do business in the state and it must be renewed every year.
A Nevada State Business License costs $500 for Corporations.
A Nevada State Business License costs $200 for LLCs, Sole Proprietorship, Partnerships, and all other businesses.
City/County licenses and permits:
After getting the State Business License, you’ll also want to check with your local city or county to see if you need a business license or permit to operate there. If applicable, this would be in addition to the State Business License.
You can use the State’s city and county search page to get in touch with your local officials: http://nv.gov/government/cities-counties/
If you want to save time, you can use a company like IncFile. They’ll do the research for you and/or prepare your license and permit applications. Just fill out their 3-minute questionnaire to get started.
Step 7: Register with the Nevada Department of Taxation
After your Nevada business is formed, you’re required to register with the Nevada Department of Taxation.
This can be done online through SilverFlume (via the Common Business Registration). Registering your Nevada business for taxes is free. There is no filing fee.
If your Nevada business will sell or transfer tangible personal property, you’re required to collect sales tax from your buyers. Those collected taxes are then sent to the Nevada Department of Taxation.
Sales Tax Permit:
A Sales Tax Permit is required for any business that needs to collect sales tax. A Sales Tax Permit costs $15 per storefront/location and this can also be obtained through SilverFlume.
Other taxes may apply, such as a Commerce Tax Return, Modified Business Tax, Unemployment Insurance Tax, Payroll Taxes, and more.
The “Taxpayer Information Packet” is a helpful resource:
We recommend working with an accountant to make sure you properly register your Nevada business for state taxes, in addition to properly filing any federal, state, and local taxes that you’re responsible for.
After Your Nevada Business is Started…
1. Meet with a Local Nevada Business Expert for Free Counseling
Getting advice from others who’ve been there can be helpful in your entrepreneurial journey.
Here are some great organizations in Nevada:
- Nevada Women’s Business Center
- Veterans Business Outreach Center
- SCORE (Las Vegas, Northern Nevada)
- Business Resource Innovation Center
- Nevada Small Business Resource Guide
- Nevada Small Business Development Center
- Department of Business & Industry Resource Center
2. Start a Website
Having a website these days is very helpful for your Nevada small business. It gives your company a professional feel and allows people to learn about your products and services.
Building a website can seem like a complicated process. And it will be if you don’t have the right information.
However, I’ve built over 130 websites and used to teach people how to use WordPress to build their website. WordPress (which is free) is the tool I use and recommend. It can be used to build simple websites or it can be used to build more complicated websites.
There are 4 components to starting a website:
• Domain registrar
• Website hosting
• WordPress theme
Let’s use the housing analogy:
The domain registrar is where you purchase your domain name. Think of this as the label on the mailbox or your street address.
A website hosting company is where all the code, images, graphics, and text are stored that gets provided to the world. Think of this as the foundation of your home. It gives you the ability to build on top of it and display information to others.
WordPress is a CMS (content management system) which makes it easy to build a website. Rather than constructing your home from scratch, think of WordPress as a prefabricated home where you can easily resize rooms, move walls, and have complete flexibility in design and customization. WordPress – or the prefabricated home – “sits on top of” your foundation (the website hosting).
A WordPress theme is a “design skin” that sits on top of the WordPress CMS. If the WordPress CMS is the prefabricated home, think of the theme as all the interior decorations and painting. There are free WordPress themes, but I recommend against them for various technical reasons. Instead, I recommend using a premium WordPress theme. The difference between a free WordPress theme and a premium one is the difference between an amateur designer and a world-class professional designer.
Here are some links and prices to get you started:
Domain registrar: I recommend NameSilo.com which is $10 per year (per domain name). This is the service we use as it includes domain privacy for free to keep your address and phone number off those public record websites. It’ll also help prevent those annoying telemarketing phone calls!
Website hosting: SiteGround.com ($10 per month)
WordPress: This is automatically included (again, for free) with nearly every hosting company these days. After you sign up with SiteGround, just call them to help you install it. They’ll walk you through the steps.
WordPress theme: ThemeForest.net (one-time fee of $40 to $60)
Note 1: Make sure you’re using the “wordpress.org” self-hosted version. Not the “wordpress.com” version, which is stripped down and comes with limitations on how much you can customize your website.
Note 2: If you need help selecting a theme from ThemeForest, check out this video I made:
3. Design a Logo and Get Business Cards
Designing a logo doesn’t haven’t to be too complicated.
We recommend starting off with a “words only” logo to keep things simple (no need for super fancy graphics just yet). You can choose the font family and color yourself, or get help from 99 Designs. A cheaper option is to use Fiverr.
For some great tips on using a tagline with your logo, check out Neville Medhora’s article.
And for business cards, I like using Moo.com.
4. Get a Business Phone Number
Instead of giving out your actual cell phone number (or home telephone number), it might be a good idea to get a “virtual business number” for your Nevada business. You’ll be able to customize the number so it forwards to your cell phone.
Our favorite company is Phone.com. They have the cheapest plans and the best customer support.
You can get a local Nevada telephone number or you can get a 1-800 number for your business. Phone.com lets you easily setup call forwarding to any number you like, create pre-recorded messages, and you can get your voicemails sent right to your email.
Getting a separate phone number for your Nevada business is a good idea if you’d like to keep your actual phone number off of those annoying “public record” websites (and stop the spam phone calls).
I hope this guide has been helpful for you.