Today, out of millions of small businesses in the US, 43% of them are limited liability companies (LLCs). There’s a reason why almost half of small business owners choose this structure: the company’s debts and liabilities are separate from the owner, which provides a huge form of protection.
Unfortunately, a part of this protection means that it’s more difficult for people to find out the exact identities of LLC owners. And in many cases, ownership information is necessary to proceed with other actions.
Read on to find out how to find the owners of an LLC and why you’d need to do so in the first place.
Why You’d Need to Perform an LLC Owner Search
Before you perform an LLC ownership lookup, you need to determine if it’s even a necessary action. By being better informed, you can save yourself some time and effort.
Below are a few reasons why you may need to find the owners of an LLC.
If you’re thinking about starting a business relationship (such as a partnership, joint venture, investment, merger/acquisition, or contractual agreement), then you’ll want to know if the other party is credible. In addition, you’ll want to find out how stable the business is, so you’re not taking on unnecessary risks.
If you find out who the LLC owners are, then you can discover more details that’ll help you make a prudent business decision. This enables you to do your due diligence, as you can evaluate the company’s history, financial standing, and overall viability.
Networking and Partnerships
On that note, exploring networking opportunities, collaborations, or partnerships can help your business grow. In these cases, it’s beneficial to know the owners of an LLC as part of building those professional relationships.
Should there be lawsuits or disputes involving the LLC, other parties may want to get information about the owners to identify those who are responsible. Plus, that information can be used as part of the legal discovery process.
Practically all industries are highly competitive, so knowing what your rivals are doing is a must. By looking into LLC ownership, competitors can gain insights into their adversaries’ decision-making processes, strategic directions, and potential vulnerabilities.
How to Find the Owners of an LLC
After reading about why you’d want to find owners of an LLC, you may now be wondering how to get the process going. Admittedly, it may not be as easy to do as it is for publicly traded companies, but it’s still feasible. Here’s how to find out the business owner of an LLC.
Look at the LLC’s Operating Agreement
The simplest and easiest way to find out who owns an LLC is to look at the operating agreement. This legal document outlines the ownership structure and management of the business, and it may also include details about the members, which includes the owners, plus their ownership percentages.
However, do note that not all states require LLCs to have operating agreements. And even if they do, this document may not be publicly available.
Search the Secretary of State’s Office Database
To form an LLC, you must register it with the Secretary of State’s office. This means you can search the online business entity database of this organization in the relevant state.
This option also comes with a caveat though. The level of detail can vary by state, and some will charge a fee for access to certain information.
Check the Articles of Organization
The articles of organization is another document that’s attached to LLCs, and you have to file one with the Secretary of State when you form an LLC. It might not explicitly list the owners, but it can provide information about the organizers or initial members. Again, the level of detail available can vary by state.
If you’re thinking of creating your own LLC but are wary about the paperwork involved, then let Business Anywhere help. We can help you with business registration and ensure you don’t have to do any of the hard work.
Look at Public Filings
Some states require LLCs to file annual reports or other periodic filings. These filings may include information about the members or managers of the LLC.
You can check the state’s business filing website for any available documents.
Check Business Directories
There are several business directories out there that can provide insight into LLC ownership, both online and offline. But depending on where you look, the information can be limited and not up-to-date. However, it can still be a good starting point.
Contact the LLC Directly
If you’ve tried all of the above options and are still coming up short, then the last resort is reaching out to the LLC directly. You never know if the other party will tell you what you need to know.
However, you should be aware that they may not be obliged to provide this information, especially if they have privacy concerns.
Use Professional Services
In more serious cases, you can enlist the aid of legal or investigative professionals. They can help you obtain ownership information, but this typically involves legal processes and may not be accessible to the general public.
Perform an Efficient LLC Lookup for Ownership Details
Now you know how to find the owners of an LLC, and in what circumstances you’d need to do so. It can be more challenging to find what you’re looking for, but it won’t be impossible. The availability of information can vary by state, so what you turn up will depend on where the LLC’s established.
Just remember that privacy laws may restrict access to certain details and that you should always respect them. Only use legal and ethical means to obtain data, and if you’re ever unsure or need legal advice, it’s wise to consult with an attorney.
Would you like to start your own LLC? Then sign up with Business Anywhere now. Not only do we have a business registration service, but we can provide you with notary services and a virtual mailbox too.