Maine Business Facts
Small businesses make up a great part of Maine’s economy. In 2014, three-fifths of the private workforce comes from companies with less than 500 employees. One of the big challenges Maine is confronted with is the sparse population. Hence, the need to strengthen tourism in Maine is highly imperative.
Major Companies Headquartered in Maine
Maine is the headquarters of many major companies including L.L.Bean, DEXX Laboratories, Ahlstrom-Munksjö, TD Bank, and Hannaford Supermarkets.
Starting a business in Maine is easy because of the ready access to capital, collaborative environment, and supportive communities. For many startups, conforming to state regulations and obtaining mandatory licenses or permits is reasonably straightforward and simple.
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 (changing your business name is possible, but the best practice is to keep the original name). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Maine, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Maine state databases:
NOTE: Familiarize yourself with the Maine naming guidelines. LLC entity names need to contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation LLC, and certain words are restricted or prohibited.
Restrictions on Maine 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 Maine.
How to form an LLC in Maine
How to Incorporate in Maine
NOTE: When registering a new company the Secretary of State can take several weeks to file the paperwork. You can expedite the process by hand delivering the documents directly to them or one of their field offices and paying an additional fee.
TIP: Check our order form to see how long Maine is currently taking to process regular and expedited orders.
How to File a DBA in Maine
Optional Considerations when registering a Maine business
Ready to register a business in Maine?
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 what you need to do 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.).
Top 5 Major Banks in Maine
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 work with a company that can obtain and prepare business licenses and permits for you. Click here to learn more.
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. This means your company needs a method 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 Fictitious Business Name should be valid for 5 years, with the option for renewal.
LLC: Maine corporations are required to file a Periodic Report with the Maine Secretary of State by June 1 each year, in addition to general taxation. Information on your business’ taxes can be found here.
Corporation: Businesses in Maine should file a report by June 1 annually to the Division of Corporate and Consumer Services. LLCs and Corporations will pay a filing cost of $85.
Click here to view our MyCompanyWorks Premium™ service which can automate most of your ongoing compliance tasks.
Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions (for Corporation and LLC filings)
101 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0101
Maine Taxation Departments
Maine Labor and Employment Departments
Maine Startup Resources
1. Small Business Administration (SBA) Maine District Offices
2. SCORE Maine
3. Maine Legal Statutes
6. Maine Angel Investors
7. Maine Business News
9. Maine Small Business Development Center
10. Maine Environmental Leader Program
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