Selecting the right name is an essential first step for your Alabama LLC, requiring you to ensure the name’s availability. This process is vital to avoid infringing on existing business names and intellectual property rights within the state.
Our Alabama LLC name search guide offers essential tips on checking LLC name availability, reservation, and registration, helping you secure a unique and compliant business identity efficiently.
Alabama Secretary of State: Business Entity Name Search
To do an AL SOS entity name search, follow these steps:
- Visit the official website of the Alabama Secretary of State. The Secretary of State’s website provides a business entity search tool that allows you to search for registered business names in the state.
- On the website, locate the section related to business services or business entities. It may be titled “Business Services” or “Business Filings.”
- Within the business services section, you should find a link or tab for searching business entities or business name availability. Click on that link.
- You will be directed to the business entity search page, where you can enter the business name you want to search for. Enter the name in the designated search field and click the search button.
- The search results will display a list of business names matching your search criteria. You can review the list to see if the desired name is available or if it is already registered to another entity.
- Clicking on a specific business name in the search results will provide more detailed information about the entity, including its registration status, address, and filing history.
|Here are the links to the relevant websites for conducting a business name search in Alabama:
By using these resources, you can easily search and find information about registered business names in the state of Alabama.
The Alabama Secretary of State offers a search engine that allows the public to look up any type of entity, including corporations and limited liability companies ( LLC), as well as limited partnerships (LP), limited partnership (LLP), and limited liability limited partnerships(LLLP) through the Secretary of State.
You can search for the entity’s name and number, registered agents, incorporation, and date.
You will be able to view detailed information on the entity after you receive the search results.
How Do I Look Up an LLC in Alabama? (Summary)
If you want to look up an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in Alabama, you can do so through the Alabama Secretary of State website. Here are the steps:
Search Business Names in Alabama (Alabama LLC Lookup Guide)
1. Alabama Naming Guidelines
Before you begin your search for a business name, we recommend that your business name meet the guidelines.
The first step to starting an LLC is choosing a name. You should choose a name that is both compliant with Alabama’s naming requirements and that potential customers can find easily.
Follow these naming guidelines:
- Your name must contain the phrase “limited liability company” or one its abbreviations (LLC, L.L.C. ).
- Check with the LLC name availability checker for name availability
- Your name cannot contain words which could cause confusion between your Alabama LLC and a government agency (FBI or Treasury, State Department, etc.). ).
- Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, and University may need additional paperwork. A licensed individual such as a doctor, lawyer or other professional can also be required to join your Alabama LLC.
2. Search Alabama LLC Name Availability
To check the availability of the entity name you are interested in, use the Alabama Business Entity Search before you submit your name reservation request.
For the best search, enter the entity name that you want to use. This will return all entities with the same or similar name. If the name you are looking for is not found, it means that the name is not available.
When you file online, you will be prompted to conduct a search before you submit your form. To avoid rejection if you file by post, make sure to do a thorough internet search before you submit your paperwork.
3. Register Your Alabama Business Entity Name
Alabama’s Secretary of State Business Entities Division deals with all LLC naming queries and requests. To ensure that the name chosen is available for use, all foreign and domestic LLCs must obtain a Certificate Of Name Reservation. You can request this certificate online or by post.
You will need to pay a filing fee when you reserve your name. You must make checks payable to the “Secretary for State”. To submit an online request, those who aren’t subscribers to Alabama Interactive will need to pay $28 additional. You do not need to pay an additional fee to file a request by mail.
Business Entity Search Options
Search by Alabama Entity Name
First, you must navigate to Alabama’s Business Entity Search website. Only the name of the entity to search for is required. However, you can refine your search by entering additional information:
- Type of entity
- Place of formation
- City of principal address
Simply enter the required fields and click search. The Alabama business name search is free.
1. Trademark Search
When searching for a business name, it’s important to note that availability doesn’t necessarily mean the name is free to use if it’s already a registered trademark.
To avoid potential complications down the line, it’s wise to conduct a thorough trademark search using the Trademark Electronic Search System before finalizing a business name.
2. Choose a Registered Agent
After you have chosen an LLC name that is distinctive and unique, you can now choose your LLC’s Registered Agent.
3. Check if the Domain Name is Available
To check if a domain name is available, you can follow these steps:
- Go to a domain registrar website, such as GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com.
- In the search bar on the homepage, type in the domain name you want to check.
- Click on the search button to see if the domain name is available or not.
- If the domain name is available, you will be prompted to purchase it. If it’s not available, the registrar will suggest some alternative options or you can try a different domain name.
It’s a good idea to check the availability of multiple domain name options as your first choice may already be taken.
Additionally, if you are considering registering a domain name for your business, make sure to also check for any existing trademarks that may conflict with your chosen domain name.
4. Check if Social Media Name is Available
To check if a social media name is available for a new business, you can follow these steps:
- Start by choosing a social media platform where you would like to create an account for your business. Some of the popular options include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok.
- Once you have selected the platform, go to the sign-up page and try to create an account using your desired social media name.
- If the name is already taken, the platform will display an error message indicating that the name is not available. In this case, you may need to consider alternative names for your social media account.
- If the name is available, the platform will allow you to create an account using that name.
- It’s important to note that just because a social media name is available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s free to use. You should still do your due diligence to ensure that the name is not already a registered trademark or being used by another business in your industry.
5. Register Alabama Business Entity
When you complete the required documents for filing a new business entity, you then register your business and business name with the state. The state of Alabama will either approve your business name or reject it.
If you hire a good LLC service like Northwest Registered Agent, ZenBusiness or Incfile, these LLC services have business name tools available for you to do a quick search. I recommend using any of these 3 services to assist you with forming a new business. They can save you time and provide you with guidance through the formation process.
6. Register an Employer ID Number (EIN) With the IRS
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses and other entities for tax purposes.
Here’s how you can get an EIN:
- Determine if you need an EIN: You’ll need an EIN if you have employees, operate your business as a corporation or partnership, file employment tax returns, have a Keogh plan, or are required to file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
- Apply for an EIN: You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, by mail, or by phone. The quickest and easiest way is to apply online through the IRS website.
- Provide the necessary information: When applying for an EIN, you’ll need to provide your legal name, trade name (if applicable), business address, and the type of legal structure of your business (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC).
- Wait for your EIN: If you apply online, you can receive your EIN immediately after completing the application. If you apply by fax or mail, it can take up to four weeks to receive your EIN.
Note that there is no fee to apply for an EIN. Once you receive your EIN, be sure to keep it safe and use it on all tax documents and forms.
7. Create a Brand Logo
Creating a business logo involves several steps. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Define your brand: Before you start creating a logo, you need to define your brand’s personality, values, and mission. This will help you create a logo that accurately represents your brand.
- Determine the design style: Decide on the design style you want for your logo. Do you want it to be modern or classic, minimalistic or intricate, colorful or monochromatic? Consider your brand personality and target audience when making this decision.
- Choose the colors: Pick a color palette that reflects your brand personality and complements your design style. Colors have psychological meanings and can affect how people perceive your brand.
- Brainstorm ideas: Brainstorm several logo design concepts based on your brand personality, values, and mission. You can use online resources for inspiration or hire a professional logo designer to create a custom logo for you.
- Sketch your ideas: Once you have some logo design concepts, sketch them out on paper to visualize how they might look. This can help you narrow down your options and refine your ideas.
- Design the logo: Use a graphic design software program like Adobe Illustrator or Canva to create your logo design. Search on Fiverr for logo designs. Make sure it is scalable and can be used across different mediums.
- Get feedback: Share your logo design with colleagues, friends, or family to get feedback. This can help you refine your design further.
- Finalize the logo: Once you have incorporated feedback, finalize your logo design. Be sure to use high-quality images and files for your logo.
- Protect your logo: If you want to protect your logo, consider trademarking it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This will prevent others from using a similar logo and protect your brand’s identity.
8. Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan involves a comprehensive process that covers various aspects of your business, including the industry, market research, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and more. Here are some steps to guide you in writing a business plan and links to resources that can help you:
- Executive summary: This section provides a summary of your business plan, highlighting key information about your business, target market, products or services, and financial projections. It should be brief but comprehensive.
- Company description: This section describes your company’s mission, vision, values, and legal structure. It also includes information about the management team, business location, and history.
- Market analysis: This section provides a detailed analysis of your industry, target market, competition, and customer demographics. It also includes information about market trends and growth projections.
- Marketing and sales strategies: This section outlines your marketing and sales strategies, including branding, advertising, pricing, and distribution channels.
- Products and services: This section describes your products or services, their features and benefits, and how they will meet the needs of your target market.
- Financial projections: This section provides a detailed financial forecast for your business, including projected revenue, expenses, profits, and cash flow. It also includes a break-even analysis and funding requirements.
Here are some links to resources that can help you in writing a business plan:
- Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA offers a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan, including templates and sample plans.
- SCORE: SCORE provides free business plan templates and guides, as well as mentoring and counseling services.
- Bplans: Bplans offers a wide variety of business plan templates, tools, and resources, including sample plans for different industries.
- LivePlan: LivePlan is a cloud-based software that provides business planning tools and templates, financial forecasting, and collaboration features.
- Canva: Canva offers a range of customizable business plan templates and design tools to help you create a professional-looking plan.
9. Open a Business Bank Account in Alabama
A bank account is generally required for a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation to separate personal finances from business finances and to establish a clear record of business transactions.
Having a separate bank account for your LLC will help you keep track of your business’s income and expenses, which will be useful for tax purposes, accounting, and financial management. It will also make it easier to accept payments from customers and pay bills, suppliers, and employees.
To open a bank account for your LLC, you will typically need to provide the following documents:
- Certificate of Formation: This is a legal document that shows that your LLC has been registered with the state.
- Operating Agreement: This document outlines the rules and procedures for running your LLC and is required by some banks.
- EIN (Employer Identification Number) Confirmation Letter: This is a letter from the IRS confirming your LLC’s tax identification number.
- Identification documents: You will need to provide personal identification documents, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID, and proof of address, such as a utility bill.
Note that the specific requirements for opening a bank account for an LLC may vary depending on the bank and state where you are located. It’s best to contact the bank you plan to use to inquire about their specific requirements.
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar.
Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor’s degree in business journalism from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications.
Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email: email@example.com