Michigan LLC Name Search

How to Do a Business Name Search in Michigan

Selecting the right name is an essential first step for your Michigan LLC, requiring you to ensure the name’s availability. Performing a business entity databse search in Michigan is vital to avoid infringing on existing business names and intellectual property rights within the state.

Our Michigan LLC name search guide offers essential tips on checking LLC name availability in Michigan, reservation, and registration, helping you secure a unique and compliant business identity efficiently.

Michigan Entity Name Search (Summary)

An illustration of a woman at a desk with a laptop performing a Michigan entity name search.

To search the Michigan business entity database for name availability, you can follow these steps:

  1. Visit the official website of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), which is responsible for business registrations: Michigan LARA
  2. On the LARA website, locate the “Business” section or search for “Business Entity Search” or “Corporations Division.”
  3. Search the Michigan Taxable Entity Search. This page allows you to search for existing businesses and check the availability of a business name.
  4. On the business entity search page, you will typically find a search field where you can enter the desired business name.
  5. Enter the business name you wish to search for and click on the “Search” button or a similar option.
  6. The search results will display any existing businesses with similar names or indicate if the name is available for registration.
  7. 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?

What is an 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Business Name Search Page

Michigan Reference Links

Michigan LLC Act: Section 450.4204

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

Michigan LLC name search

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

An illustration of a man sitting in a chair with a laptop and checking if a business name is trademarked

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:

  • Voting
  • Management structure
  • Membership benefits
  • Dissolution
  • Addition of new members

Michigan Secretary of State

Mailing Address

Corporations Division
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
P.O. Box 30054
Lansing, MI 48909

Physical Address

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
644 W. Ottawa St.
Lansing, MI 48933

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Email: CorpsMail@michigan.gov

Phone: (517) 241-6470

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.

You may want to be your own registered agent in Michigan, or if you ever want to change your Michigan registered agent, the options are available for a smooth transition.

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 Bizee can provide valuable guidance and assistance throughout the dissolution process, ensuring a smooth conclusion to your LLC’s operations in Michigan.

Business Name Search 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:

  1. Go to a domain registrar website, such as GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com.
  2. In the search bar on the homepage, type in the domain name you want to check.
  3. Click on the search button to see if the domain name is available or not.
  4. 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.

4. Check if Social Media Name is Available

Check if a social media name is available for a new business name

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 Bizee, these LLC services have business name tools available for you to do a quick search.

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.

7. Create a Brand Logo

Creating a business logo involves several steps. There are affordable online services that can design a logo for you and assist with 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.

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.

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.

Michigan LLC Name Search FAQs

What is the purpose of searching for a business entity name in Michigan? Searching for a business entity name in Michigan is essential for ensuring that the name you intend to use for your business is not already taken or too similar to existing registered business names. This is a key step in the business formation process to establish a unique identity and ensure legal compliance.

How can I conduct a business entity name search in Michigan? You can perform a business entity name search using the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) online database. This tool allows you to search the state’s records to check the availability of your desired business name.

Is there a fee associated with performing a business name search in Michigan? No, conducting a preliminary business name search on the Michigan LARA website is typically free. However, there may be fees for more detailed reports or official documents.

What should I do if my desired business name is already in use in Michigan? If your preferred business name is already in use, you’ll need to choose a different name that is unique and adheres to Michigan’s naming guidelines. It’s advisable to have a list of alternative names as a backup.

Can I reserve a business name in Michigan, and what is the cost? Yes, Michigan allows business name reservations. You can reserve a name for a certain period by submitting an application and paying a reservation fee. The fee and reservation duration are specified by Michigan’s LARA.

What are the specific requirements for business names in Michigan? In Michigan, your business name must be distinguishable from other registered business entities. Additionally, certain types of entities, like LLCs or corporations, must include a specific suffix in their names. The state’s guidelines detail any prohibited or restricted words.

How do I ensure my chosen business name complies with Michigan’s regulations? To ensure compliance, review the naming rules provided by Michigan LARA. Additionally, consider conducting a trademark search to avoid potential infringements.

After finding an available name in Michigan, what are my next steps? Once you find an available business name, you can proceed with registering your business entity by filing the appropriate formation documents with Michigan LARA, along with any required fees.

Is it possible to operate under a different name than my registered business name in Michigan? Yes, in Michigan, you can operate under a ‘Doing Business As’ (DBA) name. However, you must ensure the DBA name is registered and distinct from other registered names in Michigan.

How often is the business name database updated in Michigan? The Michigan business name database is regularly updated to reflect new registrations and changes. For the most accurate information, it’s best to perform your search close to your planned registration time.

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‚Äôs 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.

author avatar
Brian Wilson Writer and Editor
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 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:   info@llcradar.com Phone: 972-776-4050


  1. Avatar Gabriel Morris says:

    Brian, thanks for the name search links. I just finished reading your article on starting a business and conducting a business name search in Michigan, a useful post.

  2. Avatar Jackson Cox says:

    Great tips, Brian! Your article on Michigan business name searches has helped me avoid potential legal issues. Keep up the good work.

  3. Avatar Henry Ramirez says:

    Thanks for sharing the info and links, Brian.

Comments are closed.

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