Starting a business in Michigan? Learn how to confirm your chosen entity name’s uniqueness with our comprehensive guide on performing a Michigan entity name search.
Michigan Entity Name Search (Summary)
To search for business name availability in the state of Michigan, you can follow these steps:
- Visit the official website of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), which is responsible for business registrations: Michigan LARA
- On the LARA website, locate the “Business” section or search for “Business Entity Search” or “Corporations Division.”
- Click on the relevant link to access the business entity search page. This page allows you to search for existing businesses and check the availability of a business name.
- On the business entity search page, you will typically find a search field where you can enter the desired business name.
- Enter the business name you wish to search for and click on the “Search” button or a similar option.
- The search results will display any existing businesses with similar names or indicate if the name is available for registration.
- Review the search results to determine if the business name you want is already taken. If the name is available, you can proceed with registering it for your business.
Please note that the exact process and layout of the website may vary over time, so it’s important to navigate through the Michigan LARA website and look for the most up-to-date information and search tools.
Here is the link to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) website: Michigan LARA
Please visit the website and explore the business section to find the specific business entity search tool or related resources for checking business name availability in Michigan.
What is a Michigan Business Entity?
A Michigan business entity refers to a business organization that is legally registered to conduct business activities in the state of Michigan. The rules and procedures for forming and operating a business in Michigan are governed by the state’s laws and regulations, specifically through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
In Michigan, as in most other states, there are several types of business entities:
- Sole Proprietorship: This is the simplest form of business structure, owned by a single person who is responsible for all the company’s debts and liabilities. This type of business doesn’t require formal registration with the state, but it might require other local permits or licenses.
- Partnership: This is a business owned by two or more people. There are different types of partnerships, including general partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships, each with different levels of liability for the owners.
- Corporation: This is a more complex business structure that is considered a separate legal entity from its owners (shareholders). Corporations offer strong liability protection but also have more administrative, regulatory, and reporting requirements.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC is a hybrid structure that combines the limited liability features of a corporation with the operational flexibility and tax simplicity of a partnership. The owners, or “members,” of an LLC have limited personal liability for business debts and actions.
- Nonprofit Corporation: A nonprofit corporation is an entity organized for a purpose other than making a profit, and any profits must be used only for the operation of the organization.
Michigan Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
When forming a corporation, LLC, or partnership in Michigan, it’s necessary to file the appropriate documents with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
Michigan LLC name search is one step to starting an LLC in Michigan.
Michigan Reference Links
Michigan LLC Act: Section 450.4204
Michigan LLC Act: Section 450.4205
Michigan LLC Act: Section 450.4206
Michigan Secretary of State: Restricted words
Michigan Secretary of State: Reserving a name
Michigan Secretary of State: Entrepreneurs Guide
Michigan Secretary of State: Reserve a Name Form
Michigan Secretary of State: Business Entity Search FAQ
Michigan Secretary of State: Naming a Limited Liability Company
Michigan LLC Name Guidelines
When you file for an LLC in Michigan, it is important to choose a name. There are many rules in Michigan regarding names.
To get a feel for the regulations that you will need to follow when naming your LLC, you can search the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs database (LARA). These are the most important rules to remember:
- Your LLC name must contain the words limited liability company or L.L.C.
- Your LLC name cannot be used to refer to any other legal entities. Avoid words such as “Incorporated,” or “Corporation” or any abbreviations like “Inc.”
- Your LLC name must be distinct from other LLCs or corporations.
- Without obtaining permissions or licenses, the name of your LLC can’t be used to refer to certain services, such as attorneys, medical practices, banks, etc. These license requirements must be met in order to create a Professional LLC (PLLC).
- You only need to pay a small fee to reserve a name in an LLC for six months.
Naming a Limited Liability Company in Michigan
You must think carefully about how you name your LLC.
Names should convey the purpose of your business. Plumbing should be included in your business name if you are a plumber. A second strategy is to emphasize the high quality of your company. Your name must be easy to remember and pronounce. If your customers attempt to look you up online, they will be able find you.
These are not the things your last name conveys. If it is difficult to spell, you shouldn’t use it. Quality 24-Hour Plumbing will be remembered by more people than a name like Sztruch and Sons.
Business Entity Name Search in Michigan
Sometimes, a name is already registered by another company. You can take steps to ensure the name is not already registered. These steps will help you find a company with the name you want.
- Enter the name of the company to search for the identification number. This will give you the best search results.
- Search for your ID number and business details to find an active entry.
- This data can be used to verify that the business remains in operation and determine what filings were made by it.
You can search Michigan’s LARA database for business entities. You should follow these steps if you discover that the name you wish to use is already registered. You may still be allowed to use the name even if the business has ended or no longer exists.
This is a complex issue that can be helped by a qualified attorney. Sometimes the owner might be willing to sell the name.
Search the United States Patent and Trademark Office Database
When naming their company, a trademark is something that many people forget to consider. Although searching the Michigan LARA database may give you enough information to determine if the name you want is in use, it’s not sufficient to search for trademarked names.
Your business name must not be identical or substantially the same as an existing trademark or service mark.
After becoming successful, many companies find themselves in a difficult position when they discover that their company name infringes on another’s trademark.
To ensure your name is not infringing on an already used name, search the United States Patent and Trademark Office database for trademarks and service marks. To ensure that your search results are organized and accurate, you may need to hire a qualified patent/trademark researcher.
Steps to create an LLC in Michigan
After you have chosen a name and made sure it is available, you need to take a few important steps before starting your business. These are the steps:
- Filling out articles of organization using the LARA.
- An operating agreement is written.
- If the LLC has more than one member, you will need an EIN (Employer Identification number).
- Selecting a registered agent.
Michigan LLC Articles of Organization
An LLC article of organization should include basic information such as the name and purpose of the business. The main address of the LLC’s registered agent must also be included. Before filing the articles of organization, you will need to make certain decisions, such as how the LLC will operate and the intended duration. These details will also need to be included in the articles.
After you have completed your articles of organization, it is time to file them and pay $50. You can do this online using the LARA Corporations Online Filing System.
The Michigan LLC Act
Thanks to the Michigan LLC Act, it is easy to set up and maintain an LLC within Michigan. Members and owners of LLCs have the freedom to run their businesses however they like. LLCs can distribute rights, duties and profits in a way that is different from other business entities. Michigan LLCs can continue to operate even after members die or leave.
Michigan currently has more than 300,000 LLCs and over 40,000 new ones yearly. This provides great opportunities for job creation in Michigan, which is also one of the most productive states for gross domestic products.
The creators of an LLC can manage their capital contributions and profit sharing with no state intervention. Certain states require that certain types of business entities distribute shares proportional to the shareholder’s capital contributions. Different distribution percentages can be granted to members and shareholders of LLCs depending on their managerial duties or based on initial contributions to the business.
Many business owners create classes of members that have certain voting rights and share percentages. This allows some members to be more involved in the business while others can remain distant if they wish.
Michigan LLC Operating Agreement
Michigan requires operating agreements to be created by LLCs established in the state. This requirement is not mandatory in all states. Others have provisions that allow LLCs to form operating agreements without forming their own.
An operating agreement for an LLC should detail the procedures that should be followed to manage different aspects of the business. The agreement should address many issues such as:
- Management structure
- Membership benefits
- Addition of new members
Michigan Business Tips
When it comes to forming an LLC in Michigan, it’s essential to consider the best LLC services and registered agents in Michigan. A good LLC service may prevent delays and affect the length of time to form your Michigan LLC due to filing errors from diy entrepreneurs. Choosing a Michigan LLC vs S Corp is another issue to consider.
To begin, conduct a Michigan LLC name search to ensure the availability of your desired business name.
Once you’ve confirmed its availability, you can proceed with preparing the essential formation documents, including registering your Michigan business name and drafting a Michigan LLC operating agreement, which outlines the internal structure and management of your LLC.
It’s advisable to gather all required information and submit your filings promptly. Furthermore, applying for a business licenses in Michigan if you are required is something to consider, and obtaining a Michigan Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS is essential for tax purposes if you plan to have employees.
In the event that you decide to dissolve an LLC in Michigan, ensure compliance with the state’s dissolution procedures to avoid any potential legal or financial complications.
Consulting with professional dissolution services like Incfile can provide valuable guidance and assistance throughout the dissolution process, ensuring a smooth conclusion to your LLC’s operations in Michigan.
Additional Steps to Consider
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 Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan
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.
How can I check if a Michigan business is registered?
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs manages the entity search. You can search by business name, ID number, or individual name to determine if a Michigan business is registered.
How can I locate the owner of an LLC within Michigan?
If you know the name of the LLC, you can search for the owner’s name. It will display the search results by the business name in Michigan’s entity search.
What are the initial steps one should take to check the availability and compliance of a desired business name for a new LLC in Michigan?
In Michigan, the first step to establishing a new business is making sure your desired name is available and compliant. An Online Business Name Search can be initiated through the Secretary of State Search to explore the Business Name Database. This will help you avoid Name Conflict and confirm the Business Name Uniqueness.
You can also run an LLC Name Query to ensure there are no Duplicate Name Search issues. The Name Verification against State Business Records can help verify the name’s uniqueness. To be extra cautious, conducting a Trademark Search is also advisable. Michigan’s Business Naming Laws require strict Business Name Compliance, so make sure to review LLC Name Guidelines and Business Name Requirements before you proceed. It is essential to complete the Name Reservation Process to secure your chosen name.
What can one do if the preferred business name for an LLC in Michigan is already taken or similar to an existing name?
If your preferred name shows up during a State Entity Search, you may have to take steps for Business Name Conflict Resolution. Firstly, it’s crucial to review the Business Entity Status of the conflicting name by conducting a Registered Entity Search and reviewing the Business Name Report. Michigan law mandates certain State Compliance for Business Names, which you’ll need to keep in mind. Your Business Identifier and Entity Type Identifier can sometimes resolve naming conflicts.
For example, the state may allow similar names if the Entity Name Criteria and Business Structure Search indicate different types of businesses. Always perform an Availability Check and consider Trade Name Availability. You may have to revisit your Business Formation Documents and reconsider your Legal Business Name to ensure Company Name Validation before getting Name Approval from the Business Registry.
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