If I’m considering starting an exotic pets and supply store, is an LLC required?

UPDATED: Jan 30, 2016

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If I’m considering starting an exotic pets and supply store, is an LLC required?

If the LLC is not required, is it recommended? Right now, my business will be transient.

Asked on January 30, 2016 under Business Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

An LLC, or limited liability company, is a type of busness organization. It is not required--you can own the business yourself, in your own name, as a sole proprietorship (sometimes referred to as a "D/B/A" or "DBA"), for example. However, it is advised to form and own the busines through either an LLC or a corporation. The reason is, if you own the business itself, you are personally liable for business debts, whether from contracts, loans, injuries (e.g. customer slip and falls at your store), or product liabilty (including sick animals), and so your personal property, real estate, and bank accounts are vulnerable; but if you have an LLC or a corporation, your personal assets are protected and only the business's own assets are at risk. Of those two organizational forms, for smaller and more informal businesses, an LLC is generally the better choice: there is less paperwork and formalities involved.

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