Kentucky Business Facts
The Bluegrass state of Kentucky has many advantages that contribute to its friendly business climate. The state’s central location enables the distribution of materials and goods to a huge consumer and industrial global market. Kentucky’s colleges and universities are true partners in workforce development and Kentucky is a great place to raise a family with one of the lowest cost of living rates in the United States.
Kentucky has enjoyed top rankings in vehicle production per capita, employment in motor vehicle manufacturing, aerospace-related exports, air cargo shipments, employment for upstream metal manufacturing, and top manufacturing states by percentage of the workforce. The Bluegrass State is currently listed as #8 in the U.S. among top business climates.
Major Companies Headquartered in Kentucky
Many major companies call the Bluegrass State home, including Yum! Brands, Texas Roadhouse, Humana, Kindred Healthcare, Grupo Antolin
Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, and Papa John’s International.
Kentucky ranks third lowest in the nation for the cost of doing business and the state offers free workforce recruiting and training of employees. Kentucky entrepreneurs also benefit from some of the lowest electricity costs in the nation, high quality of life, short commute times, a central location, global shipping hubs, and incentive programs such as the Kentucky Innovation Network offering startup and capitalization support and mentoring to help grow small businesses.
There are 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation, or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Choosing a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from picking the wrong name (you can always change it later but it’s easier if you can stick to your first business name). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Kentucky, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Kentucky state databases:
Tip: search misspellings, plurals, variations of spelling, sound-alikes, and other versions of your chosen name to be sure it’s not already registered.
Restrictions on Kentucky Business Name & Business Purpose
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and selected your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Kentucky.
How to form an LLC in Kentucky
How to Incorporate in Kentucky
Considerations when registering a Kentucky business
TIP: Check our order form to see how long Kentucky is currently taking to process regular and expedited orders.
How to File a DBA in Kentucky
Sure, you could do all the steps above or you could spend 5-10 minutes on our order form and let us take care of it while you work on more important things.
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLCs and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
TIP: We will obtain your EIN for you if we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and inquire about the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork, b) your EIN, and c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
Click here to view a list of our recommended banks in our Vendor Network.
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments, or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years. View our “Accounting & Financial Management” section for help with setting up an accounting system and purchasing accounting software.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
TIP: We can help you identify the necessary forms to obtain your business license.
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both). View our “Employees & Payroll” section for help with hiring employees and processing payroll.
Review our list of recommended Payroll Providers in our Vendor Network.
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy”. This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection.
Click here to view our list of insurance providers in our Vendor Network.
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. Some kind of system needs to be developed to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business. View our “Manage Your Company” section for help with systemizing and automating your business.
Now that you’ve set up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer. View our “Marketing & Sales” section for help for more information.
DBA: Your Assumed Name in Kentucky is valid for 5 years (unless you change the company name or other information listed on the certificate) at which point you’ll need to renew it.
LLC: Kentucky LLCs must file an annual report every year by June 30.
Corporation: Kentucky corporations are required to file an annual report each year by June 30. LLCs and Corporations will pay a filing cost of $15.
Click here to view our MyCompanyWorks Premium™ service which can automate most of your ongoing compliance tasks.
Business Services (for Corporation and LLC filings)
700 Capital Ave., Ste. 152
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: (502) 564-3490
Kentucky Taxation Departments
Kentucky Labor and Employment Departments
Kentucky Startup Resources
1. Small Business Administration (SBA) Kentucky District Office
2. SCORE Kentucky
3. Kentucky Legal Statutes
4. Kentucky Chambers of Commerce
5. Kentucky Business One-Stop Business Portal
6. Kentucky Angel Investors
7. Kentucky Business News
8. Governor’s Office of Minority Empowerment
9. Kentucky Small Business Development Center
10. U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Kentucky
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