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Can I start a generic/umbrella LLC if I don’t know exactly what I want to focus on?

GameOver

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I just want to start trying a few things to see what I think of different markets, and to see what kind of sticks for me. I’d like some light legal entity coverage, and I’d like to have something I could point to to get a business credit card with a specific bank I already have a relationship with.

Can I just start an LLC and make the name kind of nonspecific and on the Secretary of State form where it asks what kind of business, put something generic? Is this legal/ok?

Edit: when I was a kid I remember working for a couple that had one legal entity, say XYZ Enterprises, and then they had several businesses each one was like XYZ DBA Company X, XYZ DBA Company Y, etc.

What’s a DBA and how do I do that? That is sort of what I’m thinking about. Thx.
 

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Em7

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I'm European so it's a bit hard to say if this will apply to us.

But I not too long ago registered a limited company and was also asked about the services we provided, a friend even suggested to keep it as vague and open as possible and wrote down just about any service I was offering despite mainly doing web & app development.

So my gut reaction is yea, list down what you aim to do, selling products and our services within X, Y, Z industries might be vague but specific enough to capture what you do :)
 

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I registered a limited company 3 years ago that has a very nondescript name so I can morph it to another niche as and when required.

I would expect that a LLC documented category could be amended if so required, and I’m sure it could be confirmed it’s a viable option with a simple phone call.
 

B_Mac

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Yes, you can do generic names. GameOver Trading works. Then you can do business with that. If in the future you want to start a towel making business, you can do with that original name or do another llc, either owned by the first llc or separately.

There may be tax implications to doing it one way or another, neither of which I can expound on.
 
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Rabby

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You can literally register a business and do nothing. People do it all the time accidentally, so why not? In most US states, the business description of every registered business is something like "any and all legal business." The government can't tell you what to do with your business, other than "ya caint break teh laws." So register all the LLCs you want.
 

George Appiah

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Edit: when I was a kid I remember working for a couple that had one legal entity, say XYZ Enterprises, and then they had several businesses each one was like XYZ DBA Company X, XYZ DBA Company Y, etc.

What’s a DBA and how do I do that? That is sort of what I’m thinking about. Thx.
As others have said, in most cases, and in most jurisdictions, you can run multiple different businesses under the same legal entity, and there's no need for an officially registered DBA (Doing Business As).

But if you want to register your DBA(s) as well, the requirements vary greatly depending on your US state in question.

For instance, in Delaware where I have my single-member LLC (I don't live in the US at all, I'm a so-called "non-resident alien"), DBAs are registered on a county basis, not statewide. So you'll have to register separately in each of the three counties ($25 each)... if you want to "own" that DBA statewide.


 

TheNamesAngel

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You can literally register a business and do nothing. People do it all the time accidentally, so why not? In most US states, the business description of every registered business is something like "any and all legal business." The government can't tell you what to do with your business, other than "ya caint break teh laws." So register all the LLCs you want.
Interesting ,I wonder can we use this strategy to open up a business checking account and build business credit.I think that will help all of us in the US if we can?
 

Bertram

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I registered a limited company 3 years ago that has a very nondescript name so I can morph it to another niche as and when required.

I would expect that a LLC documented category could be amended if so required, and I’m sure it could be confirmed it’s a viable option with a simple phone call.
In the U.S. there is no one to call (in govt.). Just document the changein your operating agreement. But you can also save yourself the trouble by forming the LLC with some very open ended language in your operating agreement and articles of incorporation. Look for examples in Legalzoom or WIKI How.
When you first create the corporation you need to identify a specific business category and activity in order to file it with the state. But add as well "and to conduct any legally alllowed business in the United States" or similar language. You can look it up in online samples.
 

Rabby

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Interesting ,I wonder can we use this strategy to open up a business checking account and build business credit.I think that will help all of us in the US if we can?
You can. You'll get credit card offers for the business too, most likely.
 

Here

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This stuff varies by state. I tried to Register a dba and was basically laughed out of the office. The workers had never even heard of the concept and thought I was nuts.
 

Rabby

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This stuff varies by state. I tried to Register a dba and was basically laughed out of the office. The workers had never even heard of the concept and thought I was nuts.
That's surprising. What state? I wonder if there's really a state without fictitious name registrations (the usual "official" name for dba-s), or if it was just the wrong office (or an office of jerks). Now genuine curiosity has me.
 

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Aaron_S

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Depends on the state as others have said. In my state you can do exactly this. Create a generic llc and once you decide what it does just update it at the time of your annual report filings. There are a few exceptions where this would be more complicated (such as businesses requiring a specific license think contractor, engineer, etc.) otherwise you can change everything but the root name including members at the time of filing.
 

Tourmaline

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Why even bother with an LLC yet?

Just get a DBA for your name and your Sales and Use Tax Permit. Unless you're doing something risky I wouldn't bother with an LLC until you decide what business to commit to.

However to answer your question, you most likely can make an LLC and then make a DBA(Doing Business As) for another named entity that is based on the LLC.
 

Here

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That's surprising. What state? I wonder if there's really a state without fictitious name registrations (the usual "official" name for dba-s), or if it was just the wrong office (or an office of jerks). Now genuine curiosity has me.
Nj. Could be because I’m a sole proprietor not an llc . But I know some states allow dba regardless.
 

Rabby

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Nj. Could be because I’m a sole proprietor not an llc . But I know some states allow dba regardless.
Yeah, for example in Florida a fictitious name filing is the same whether you're a sole proprietor, partnership, traditional corporation, LLC, etc.

It looks like in NJ they have one system for corporations and another for sole proprietors and partnerships. Probably what they should have directed you to was your county's "trade name" filing. Their words:

Alternate names are for entities, i.e. Corporations, LLC’s and LP’s only. Sole proprietors and partnerships may use a trade name that will be registered in the county the business is located.
 
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GameOver

GameOver

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Why even bother with an LLC yet?
Might not, just kicking ideas around at this point.

Mainly to take advantage of some of the business credit card offers I have been receiving. Lots of them are do x within y months an we will give you $1,000, or travel value of $1,000, etc. Often you must have an LLC as a minimum requirement though.
 
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