Start a Business for Free in PA with 4 Easy Steps

Are you looking to learn how to start a business for free in Pennsylvania? Here’s how:

  1. Free – Ensure your business name is available for use in PA: Check to see if your business name is available using the Pennsylvania Business Name Search (called Search Business Entity) on the PA Department of State’s website.
  2. Not Free, but Optional – Find and Register a Domain Name: Ensure your a domain name is available that closely matches your domain name: Is your business name available as a Domain Name? Check to see if your business domain has an equivalent Domain Name available that people will remember using our Find a Domain Name Tool. If one you like is available, I recommend you register it as soon as possible before anyone else registers it before you do! I highly recommend you do not skip this step since most people will research your business online before doing business with you. You may also find that searching and finding a good domain name will help you tweak your business name into something people will more easily remember.
  3. Free – Apply for an Employee Identification Number (EIN) online from the IRS: You’ll need this when you’re filing your business application with Pennsylvania. Learn more at https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online
  4. Free for Veterans, $125 for non-veterans – Apply for your Business with the Pennsylvania Department of State: I recommend using Pennsylvania’s online business document filing system called PENN File for submitting your application, but a snail mail version of all the Registration Forms is still available. Learn more at https://www.corporations.pa.gov/.

That’s it! That wasn’t too hard now was it? Congratulations!

Disclosure:

  • Depending on the type of business you’ve started you may need to to apply for a local business license, apply for a nonprofit status with the IRS, etc. For more information on obtaining nonprofit status, reference Applying for Tax Exempt Status.
  • I’m not a business lawyer so you may want one of those. Even so, I’ve helped several people through the process of starting their own LLC or Nonprofit in PA especially since the COVID Pandemic. In my opinion, filing taxes is where things start to get complicated and you’ll likely want to get a good lawyer and an accountant on your side when you start seeing financial success. However, use your own judgement.
  • Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start small and grow with your successes.