How to evaluate potential employment at an LLC
July 29, 2008 12:30 PM   Subscribe

What would you recommend be considered when applying to work for an LLC (as opposed to a corporation)?

LLCs are fairly new on the business scene and I have relatively little first hand experience with them. Is there a brief overview of how LLCs compare to corporations (with respect to what it's like to work at one) available online? In particular, what aspects of the organization should be collected and considered during the application and interview process?
posted by doriangray to Work & Money (8 answers total)
I think the term would be "fast-paced work environment"

You can interpret that as you wish. In my experience, it has tended to mean rapidly-shifting project priorities based on the daily interests/whims of the owner/CEO/partners.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:41 PM on July 29, 2008

It's different in every state. Generally, a Limited Liability Company is an in-between corporate status designed for companies that are not large enough to make public offering of stock and regular board elections and meetings feasible, but which are large enough to make limiting the liability of the owners and officers a good idea.

So: very loosely, an LLC is going to be a smaller company, usually thirty or forty people, than an incorporation.

If you want to check on the corporate status and information with the state, you usually go to the state-level Secretary of State web site. These list all companies that have applied for this status and their standing.

If you tell me what state you're in, I can give you a link and more info. The Wikipedia article is helpful.
posted by koeselitz at 12:54 PM on July 29, 2008

It's no different really than working for any other smaller organization. Odds are job responsibilities will be somewhat fluid, benefits may be more expensive or non-existent due to the smallness of the company, but I don't think there are any gotchas that you should be specifically worried about that wouldn't exist at any other smaller organization.
posted by COD at 1:13 PM on July 29, 2008

I worked for an LLC in New York for almost a decade. There was no difference as far as benefits, pay, deductions for unemployment, etc. Everything was perfectly ordinary from an HR standpoint.
posted by bcwinters at 1:26 PM on July 29, 2008

FYI - the LLC is in California
posted by doriangray at 1:37 PM on July 29, 2008

It's a legal status for an organization. The primary reasons people form them are for tax consequences, legal liability and organizational costs.

It would probably make little difference in your life if you held no equity or upper-level management positions.

If you're really curious, visit the California Secretary of State website? That's where you would setup one of these things.

"The advantages of forming a limited liability company are that the members are afforded limited liability and have pass-through taxes similar to a partnership."

I doubt you'd be saying things at interviews like, "So, corporation eh? How's that double tax treatin' the 'ol shareholders."

Wikipedia is always a good place to get an overview about anything.
posted by abdulf at 2:27 PM on July 29, 2008

The Secretary of State of California has a status search page here. Just type in the name of the company, and they'll tell you if it's in good standing and who the resident agent of the company is; this is usually the president or owner.

Aside from that:

There is no essential difference between working for an LLC and working for an incorporation. It's not even precisely true when I say that LLCs are usually smaller; I've seen incorporations that consist of a single person. (This is particularly common in California, where LLCs are not, for example, allowed to hold contractor's licenses.) And I've seen LLCs that had half a dozen offices and hundreds of employees.

I guess the only real thing you can say about how working at an LLC is different is that you won't get offered stock options.
posted by koeselitz at 2:39 PM on July 29, 2008

Like koeselitz says, it isn't really possible to predict anything about a company based on the letters tacked on after its name. I know plenty of one person Inc's and at least one 900 employee law firm that is an LLC.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:18 PM on July 29, 2008

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