Can You Have Multiple Businesses Under One LLC? [US LLCs]

In this article, we’re answering “can you have multiple businesses under one LLC?”

In short, the answer is “yes” but, there are important nuances business owners should consider, which we’ll discuss below.

Additionally, if you’re looking to open bank accounts for your US LLC, you can use our library of free articles to navigate your options. This includes opening 100% remotely as a foreign non-resident business owner.

These articles range from broad topics like how to open US business bank accounts remotely to specific topics like Wyoming LLC pros and cons.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. Can You Have Multiple Businesses Under One LLC
  2. Should I Have Separate LLCs?
  3. How to Register Multiple LLCs
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Ready to Explore Your Options?

Can You Have Multiple Businesses Under One LLC?

Yes, you can have multiple businesses under one LLC in the United States. However, the limited liability protection offered by an LLC will not protect the assets of each business. Instead, if either business is ever sued, the assets of both businesses will be exposed to the liability. That said, the personal assets of the business owner will continue to be protected.

In most cases, when operating multiple businesses under one US LLC, business owners register a “Doing Business As” or a “DBA”. This is also referred to as a “Fictitious Name”. Depending on the state of registration, it may be required to register a DBA, though this is not always the case (e.g. Wyoming does not require registration).

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Should I Have Separate LLCs?

To answer whether you should have separate LLCs, you need to consider the cons of doing so. As always, the specific cons will depend on the business owner, the business activities, and the objectives of the business, but we’ll share two of the most important cons worth considering.

Limited Liability Protection:

The limited liability protection that is offered by US LLCs only protects assets that are outside of the LLC. With this in mind, if you operate multiple businesses under one LLC, the assets of all the business can be exposed to lawsuits or claims against any of the businesses. Of course, the limited liability protection of the LLC still extends to the assets outside of the LLC (e.g. personal assets).

Complex Accounting:

Business owners hoping to sell any of their businesses will face additional accounting complexities when multiple businesses are operating under the same LLC. Prospective buyers will need clear accounting, and want to see a separation of assets, liabilities, reporting, previous taxes, and more.

As a result, when multiple businesses operate under one LLC, it can complicate the reporting requirements and make it difficult for a buyer to make an informed decision. While this may not end the prospect of a sale, it may reduce the valuation that a buyer is willing to pay.

How to Register Multiple LLCs

When business owners explore whether can you have multiple businesses under one LLC, they typically look at the two most straightforward options. These options include using a single LLC with DBAs to carry out multiple businesses and registering a single LLC for each business. We’ll explore both of these below.

  1. Single LLC With DBAs

As mentioned, you can register a DBA for your business in order to distinguish between two business lines. In fact, you can register multiple DBAs if you intend on having multiple businesses operating under one LLC. That said, as you can see above, there are downsides to doing this.

  1. Single LLC for Each Business

The second (more obvious) option is to register a single LLC for each business. Depending on the number of businesses that you are planning to operate, this could become expensive. However, if you consider the costs of registering a DBA in the state where your LLC is formed, the difference may be negligible.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that there is a big difference in the fees for registering LLCs in different US states. As a result, the cost of registering multiple LLCs in one state (e.g. Wyoming) may be similar to the cost of registering multiple LLCs in another state (e.g. Delaware).

Registering an LLC for Foreign Businesses

When it comes to LLCs, both non-US businesses and out-of-state businesses may be referred to as foreign. We’ll address both of these scenarios below to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Out-of-State Businesses

If a US LLC that has been registered in a different state than where it intends to operate, it typically needs to register locally. In most cases, this involves registering as a “foreign LLC” with the local Secretary of State.

That said, instead of duplicating annual reporting and fee requirements, most business owners would opt instead to register an in-state LLC.

Non-US Businesses

If you are instead interested in registering a non-US business, meaning a US LLC that does not operate within the United States, then you only need to register in the state where you intend to form the LLC.

To complete the registration process, you should identify a registered agent that offers the support, services, and fees that you’re comfortable with. Importantly, while residents of the state can act as their own registered agent, non-residents are not able to do this. So, registering a foreign business as a non-resident does require you to hire a registered agent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are three of the most common questions that we receive from people wondering if they can have multiple businesses under one LLC. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

How Do I Run Multiple Businesses Under One LLC?

To run multiple businesses under one LLC, most business owners choose to register a “DBA” or “Doing Business As” in order to distinguish each business from the other. This essentially means that each business has a “trade name”. In certain states, a “DBA” is also known as a “Fictitious Name”.

Do You Need Multiple LLCs for Multiple Businesses?

You do not need multiple LLCs for multiple businesses. However, there are consequences that business owners should consider before operating multiple businesses under the same LLC. These consequences include a lack of limited liability protection, accounting complications, and more.

Can I Use the Same EIN for Two Businesses?

Yes, you can use the same EIN for two businesses if the two businesses operate under the same LLC. However, if you have separate LLCs for each business, each LLC will need it’s own EIN. The EIN is important for many reasons, including tax filing, bank account opening, and more.

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