A limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure that combines elements of different types of business structures. For example, it commonly provides the protection of a corporation with the ownership of a partnership. LLCs do not issue stock or allow for outside investment from shareholders. Owners may have certificates of ownership but cannot usually sell them to outside individuals prior to discussing it with other members. Additionally, directors or board members are also absent in this business structure.
In an LLC, the owners each receive a membership stake, thus the term "member." These individuals will have specific duties as outlined in the LLC start-up documents or agreements. Similar to a partnership, LLCs allow for the flow through taxation of company profits, per the membership agreement. Membership agreements can divide profits however they wish; members also have limited liability from these agreements, meaning their personal assets are not at stake for business activities.
Managers are typically the next step down from members. These individuals help allocate resources and coordinate the activities that consist of the company’s normal business operations. While LLCs may offer these individuals profit sharing, they commonly receive wages or other compensation for services. Large LLCs may have several management layers separated by function, geographic location or other structure. This classification can also include supervisors who deal directly with front-line employees who are responsible for completing tasks and activities.
Employees are most often the lowest position in an LLC. They do the bulk of the work, completing the lower level tasks. Most receive hourly compensation, although differences may occur based on the LLC’s operating environment. Most companies derive a business structure in which employees have specific duties to fulfill. Similar to managers, they may receive a share of profits in the LLC depending on how the members set up the company.