Pennsylvania Business Facts
One of America’s original thirteen colonies, Pennsylvania is a state of historical firsts including home of the United States’ first capital city, baseball stadium, auto service station, computer and daily newspaper. With an impressive group of universities and a talented workforce, the capital of Philadelphia is home to a robust tech startup scene and provides public transportation for commuters to major markets such as New York City and Washington, DC. Pennsylvania’s revitalized city of Pittsburgh offers a low cost of living and an innovative startup community.
Major Companies Headquartered in Pennsylvania
Major companies in Pennsylvania include Comcast, The Hershey Company, Crayola and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Small businesses employ nearly half of Pennsylvania’s workforce. Pennsylvania has a viable startup environment with reliable infrastructure, renowned educational facilities and access to key markets, though it should be noted that Pennsylvania entrepreneurs do face a high corporate income tax and a high tax burden overall.
How to Start a Business in Pennsylvania
Before starting a business in Pennsylvania, there are some essential steps to complete.
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 choosing the wrong name (you can always change it later, but the less number of times you have to do that, the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Pennsylvania, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Pennsylvania state databases:
Restrictions on Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania.
How to form an LLC in Pennsylvania
How to Incorporate in Pennsylvania
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 Pennsylvania is currently taking to process regular and expedited orders.
How to File a DBA in Pennsylvania
To file a DBA in Pennsylvania, the Fictitious Name registration form must be filed with the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations. This application should include the following information:
NOTE: Pennsylvania DBAs have a publishing requirement.
Considerations when registering a Pennsylvania business
Hire a professional Registered Agent. Many people list their home or business address on the Articles of Organization or Incorporation. This can cause issues because it becomes public record (you’ll get lots of junk mail). A professional Registered Agent will provide their address and forward any important documents to you, this is also convenient if you have to move (you don’t have to file forms or pay fees, just update your address with your agent).
Ready to register a business in Pennsylvania?
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 LLC’s 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 on the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork b) your EIN 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 in Pennsylvania, you may need to obtain a business license for your company. A business license 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. You should create a system 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.
Click here to view our MyCompanyWorks Premium™ service which can automate most of your ongoing compliance tasks.
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
206 North Office Building, 401 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Pennsylvania Startup Resources
Small Business Administration (SBA) Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Chambers of Commerce
Pennsylvania Small Business Assistance Network
The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (PA SBDC) – statewide, nationally accredited program that provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to empower new and existing businesses.
Entrepreneur Works – offers entrepreneurs one-on-one technical assistance, business training, and networking opportunities.
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians (WCNP) – provides training opportunities including English for Entrepreneurs, business development clinics, and one-on-one business advice.
Women’s Opportunities Resource Center – provides entrepreneurial training, business assistance, and access to business and financial resources, primarily to economically disadvantaged women and their families.
Pennsylvania Business News
Pennsylvania Green Business Resources
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