Planning a business in Florida? Follow our step-by-step guide to performing a business name search. Ensure your chosen name is unique.
How Do I Look Up an LLC in Florida? (Summary)
To look up an LLC in Florida, you can follow these steps:
Go to the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations website (https://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/).
Click on the “Search Records” tab.
Under the “Entity Name” section, enter the name of the LLC you want to look up.
You can also search by “Registered Agent Name” or “Document Number” if you have that information.
Click on the “Search” button.
A list of results will appear. Locate the LLC you are looking for and click on the name to view more details.
You will be able to see the LLC’s status, registered agent, principal office address, and other details.
If you cannot find the LLC you are looking for, it is possible that it is not registered with the state of Florida.
What is a Florida Business Entity?
A Florida business entity is an organization that is legally recognized and registered to operate within the state of Florida.
The process and regulations for setting up and running a business entity in Florida are managed by the Florida Division of Corporations, also known as the Florida Department of State.
There are various types of business entities that can be established in Florida, similar to other states, including:
Sole Proprietorship: This is a business run by an individual. The business and the owner are considered the same entity from a legal perspective. The owner has personal liability for the business.
Partnership: This can be a general partnership, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership. It’s formed by two or more individuals who agree to share in the profits and losses of a business.
Corporation: This is a separate legal entity owned by shareholders. A corporation can be either a for-profit (C corporation or S corporation) or a nonprofit organization.
Limited Liability Company (LLC): This is a hybrid business entity offering the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.
Florida Department of State Entity Search
Each of these entities has its own rules regarding formation, operation, taxation, and liability. When establishing a business entity in Florida, you typically need to file the appropriate documents with the Florida Department of State, and possibly pay a filing fee, depending on the type of entity.
Florida Business Name Search: Before you file your paperwork, you must conduct a thorough search to verify the availability of LLC names in Florida. This can be done at the Florida Division of Corporations website.
Florida LLC Lookup (Name Search Guide)
The first step in forming an LLC in Florida is to choose your name. The name of your LLC must be unique and meet certain criteria.
You can search the Florida Division of Corporations website using:
- The name of the entity
- The name of the officer
- The registered agent is named
- The name of the partner
- The FEI/EIN is the federal employer identification number.
- The document number
You can complete this search for free.
Florida Entity Name Database Search
For a start, go to the page “Entity Name Search”.
Enter your desired name in the search box. Don’t worry about capitalization. Make sure to include at least the first few words of your name in the search box.
This will allow you to search for all names similar to yours. To make a more detailed search, you can input just part of the first letter.
If you want to call your business Printing for You, then simply type “print” in its place.
Click “Search Now” to view all Florida-based businesses. This will allow you to determine if your desired name is available. You can file the necessary paperwork with the state if you’re unsure.
You will be notified if your name is similar to that of another business.
This is why this step must be completed before you invest in any domains or marketing materials.
Florida Entity Name Database Search: Search by Name
You can search by potential names if you want to do so. This search is for all general partnerships and limited liability businesses, as well as all other types of entities. You can choose to enter your full name or a portion of it.
Click on similar entities to learn more. This page will allow you to view information like the EIN of your LLC and the principal address. You can also access annual reports.
You also have the option to search by officer/partner/registered agent name or by a federal employer identification number.
Florida LLC Name Requirements
When forming an LLC you must include “limited liability”, or “LLC” within the name. You can also use “L.L.C.” You cannot use the abbreviations “corporation” and “incorporated” as you are not forming a corporation. Your name must be distinct — grammar differences do not count.
Search Status for Entity Names
If you find names that are “active”, they may not be available for your use. The name might not be available even if the company’s status reads “INACT/UA”.
Sometimes, companies may be marked as inactive due to not being in good standing. They may not have filed an annual report. These names generally become available within one year.
The same applies to “inactive” businesses. The company may have been dissolved by its owners, but this does not necessarily mean that the name can be used. These two statuses may also be available:
- “NAME HS” – This indicates that a company has changed its name. Their original name may or not be available.
- “CROSSRF” – This is an example of a cross-reference name that may not be accessible for use.
Florida: Setting up a DBA
Search the Fictitious name database before you file a DBA (or “doing business under”). You can register if the name you are interested in is available. Florida offers an online registration for fictitious names.
Before you register, please ensure you are familiar with all the laws in Florida. contains all the general information.
The DBA will remain valid for five years after it is registered. You can apply for renewal after the DBA expires.
Florida Business Tips
Forming an LLC in Florida involves several key steps and considerations. To begin, you must complete the necessary paperwork and filings to form an LLC in Florida.
Conducting a thorough Florida LLC name search is crucial to ensure that your desired business name is available and meets the state’s requirements and get your Florida entity name registered. Additionally, drafting a Florida LLC operating agreement is essential as it outlines the internal management structure and operational guidelines for your LLC.
While you have the option to be your own registered agent in Florida, many entrepreneurs opt to enlist the services of professional registered agents for their expertise and convenience. The length of time it takes to get an LLC in Florida can vary depending on various factors such as processing times and the complexity of your application.
Alongside the formation process, you’ll need to obtain a Florida Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, which is necessary for tax purposes. To streamline the process and ensure compliance, it is advisable to seek the assistance of the top-rated LLC services in Florida and the best registered agents in Florida, who can guide you through the process and handle the necessary documentation.
Moreover, it’s essential to consider any required business licenses in Florida specific to your industry and location. Understanding the associated costs to form an LLC in Florida is crucial, as it includes filing fees and potentially additional expenses based on the services you require.
If you need information on getting a Florida resale certificate, we have that.
Lastly, if you ever need to change your Florida registered agent or dissolve an LLC in Florida, it’s important to follow the state’s dissolution procedures to conclude your business operations effectively.
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 Florida 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 Florida 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 Florida
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: firstname.lastname@example.org