How to Do a Business Name Search in Montana


Montana LLC Act: 35-8-310 Business Information
Montana Secretary of State: Business Services
Montana Secretary of State: Business Services FAQ
Montana Department of Commerce: Business Start-up Recommendation List

The city in which the business will operate must approve and apply for a Montana business license. A license proves that the owner of the business has followed all the steps necessary to open a Montana business. This includes registering and filing the application. The business license must be obtained within one year of the start of business.

Although most businesses need a Montana license, some types of business may be exempt from the state and federal laws. For information about whether your business is eligible for exemption status, please contact the city in which you will locate it.

It is easy to apply for a basic business license. This can often be done online. Additional paperwork is required if your company will be designated as a corporation, partnership, or limited- liability company. Additional paperwork will be required, including filing articles for the organization and selecting a registered agent responsible for receiving and sending legal documents. There will also need to be an annual report. It is highly recommended that these types of businesses use a professional service to handle all aspects of their application.

The current license can’t be used by the new owner if the owner sells their business. The current license must be transferred or assigned to the owner. Or, the owner may apply for a new license.


This information will help you get a Montana business license. Each city might have its own procedures and contact points for obtaining a business license.

Step 1.

Name Search – Before you apply for a business license, you’ll need to search the name database to see if it is available. Search at the Montana Secretary Of State’s website.

Step 2.

Application – Apply for the license and sign it. Be sure to include the fee. The type of business that you are operating will determine the type of license you need. The requirements for obtaining a business license vary from one city to the next. Contact or visit your nearest courthouse or city office for information on your particular location.

Step 3.

Filing — This step is required for companies that intend to operate in Montana as a partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC). These types of businesses must register with the Secretary of State of Montana.

Step 4.

Professional Licensing – Montana law requires that business owners who provide professional or occupational services must have a license. These businesses can include nurses, pharmacists and dentists, lawyers, accountants, and lawyers.

Step 5.

Fictitious Title – When starting a business, an owner can choose to use the owner’s name or create a fictitious one. The owner of LLCs or corporations must file a fictitious/assumed name form with the Secretary of State. An “assumed name” of a “DBA”, (doing business under), is also known as a fictitious.

Step 6.

Registered Marks – Trademarks, Service Marks or Trade Names set a company apart among competitors by using a visual enhancement or catchy addition to highlight products and services. The Registration of Mark form is available at the Montana Secretary of State’s website. Owners will need to pay a filing fee.


Q. Is it possible to start my own business without applying for a license?

A. No. An application form must be signed and accompanied by a payment.

Q. I would like to open an at-home company. Is this permitted?

A. First, you must apply for and obtain a business license. Your business must also comply with the local zoning ordinance.

Q. What is the average time it takes to obtain a business license in your state?

A. It takes about two to four weeks for a permanent business license to be issued.


LLC Formation + Registered Agent Service = $225 $39   Northwest $39 Discount