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How Much Does it Cost to Start an LLC in South Carolina?

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How Much Does it Cost to Start an LLC in South Carolina?

How Much Does it Cost to Start an LLC in South Carolina?

If you’re thinking of starting a limited liability company (LLC) in South Carolina, you’ll want to know in advance how much it’s going to cost. LLC formation fees vary by state, so it’s wise to do a bit of research and prepare yourself, and your new business, for the necessary steps. 

LLC Costs in South Carolina

RequirementCost/Fee
Articles of Organization$110
Certified Copy – Articles of Organization$3 plus $.50 per page
Certificate of Existence$10
Name Reservation$25
Registered Agent Service$50 – $300
Operating Agreement$0 – $2500
Annual ReportNone
Franchise TaxNone
Business Licenses and Renewalsvaries – check with state and local government

Articles of Organization Cost

In South Carolina, you form an LLC by filing articles of organization, which requires a $110 fee. It’s a simple process you can do online at the South Carolina Secretary of State’s website. If you file online, your LLC should be approved and formed with 24 hours. 

If you need a certified copy of the articles of organization, there is a $3 fee plus $.50 per page. If you need a Certificate of Existence, there is a $10 fee. If you’d like the state to hold your LLC name before you register, you can apply here for $25 to reserve it for 120 days.  

You’ll need to mail the from with the fee to:

Secretary of State

Attn: Corporate Filings 

1205 Pendleton Street Suite 525 

Columbia, SC 29201

Registered Agent Cost

In South Carolina, you are required to have a registered agent, also known as an agent of service in process.  A registered agent is a person or business authorized to accept and respond to legal, tax, and financial documents on behalf of your business.  

In South Carolina, you can be your own registered agent, or it can be another member of the LLC. An individual who is not a member or a professional agency can also serve as the registered agent for your LLC. 

Costs for a registered agent service range from $50 a year up to $300 or more. Several online firms, such as ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent, provide quality services at reasonable rates. 

Business Licenses and Permits Cost

Starting an LLC requires obtaining the required licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments. Fees for these vary, but most costs are minimal.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as, health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments to learn more. 

Business license fees depend on the type of business and the agency issuing the license or permit. On average, business licenses cost between $100 and $300+, plus renewal fees.

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package ($149 + state fees). They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

Operating Agreement Cost

In South Carolina, your LLC is not required to have an operating agreement in place. But it’s highly recommended, as an effective operating agreement can help avoid disputes and lawsuits that could threaten the stability of your LLC. 

An LLC operating agreement is an important legal document that details who owns the business and provides essential information pertaining to member duties. An LLC operating agreement establishes the financial relationship between members and the basics of the working relationships between those members and the managers who oversee daily operations. 

The operating agreement is not filed with the state, but instead remains private. It’s advisable to hire an attorney to ensure your operating agreement is thorough and legally binding. 

Creating an operating agreement is free if you just draw it up yourself. Alternatively, you can pay around $100 for guidance from an online business advisory.

This is an extremely important document, so it’s recommended that you use the services of a specialist or legal firm. If you choose to hire an attorney to help you create this document, the price will be around $500 for a single-member LLC and $2,500 for a multi-member LLC

LLC Formation Service Cost (Optional)

Forming an LLC in South Carolina tends to involve a lot of red tape and paperwork, so for many entrepreneurs just starting out it’s a good idea to hire an experienced service provider. 

Some of the best services for forming an LLC are ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent. LLC Formation service will take care of all the key steps, keeping you updated while allowing you to focus on launching and growing your business.

The cost of professional services depends on your requirements and LLC formation plan. Most LLC service providers offer different plans/packages and there are many LLC services that offer free LLC formation. Registered agent service (mentioned above) is very often included in these plans.

Ongoing South Carolina LLC Costs

Every state has a different fee structure and timelines for LLC documents and licenses. It’s important to stay up-to-date or your business could face significant penalties. The fees and timelines for South Carolina are detailed below. 

Business License Renewal Fees

Some business licenses and permits must be renewed periodically, which may have a small associated fee. In South Carolina, a retail license is needed to collect sales tax, and the cost is $50, but it does not need to be renewed. 

Other business-specific licenses and permits, such as food permits for restaurants, must be renewed annually. You’ll need to check with the offices that issue your required licenses and permits, at both the state and local levels, for renewal requirements and fees.

It’s best to set calendar reminders for all your license renewals so that you stay in compliance with the law.