LLC Name Search. Person searching for LLC names on a laptop.

LLC Name Search

Selecting the perfect name for your Limited Liability Company (LLC) involves more than just creativity.

It’s important to perform an LLC name search so that the name you choose is available and accurately represents the essence of your business, including its products or services.

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Where to Search for an LLC Name – Your State’s Database

To look up and find an existing business entity name in all 50 states, you can use your state’s search database below to see if your chosen LLC name is available for use in your state.

Step 1: Find Your State
Step 2: Visit and Search Your State’s Database

Name Search Guide for the 50 States

LLC Formation Guides State Govt. Department State’s Database Name Search Tool
Alabama Secretary of State Business Entity Search
Alaska Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development Corporations Database
Arizona Arizona Corporations Commission eCorp Business Entity Search
Arkansas Secretary of State Business Entity Search
California Secretary of State Business Search
Colorado Secretary of State Business Database Search
Connecticut Secretary of State Business Records Search
Delaware Department of State: Division of Corporations Business Entity Search
Name Availability Search
Florida Department of State Sunbiz Division of Corporations Entity Name Search
Georgia Secretary of State Business Search
Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Name Search
Idaho Secretary of State Business Search
Illinois Secretary of State Corporate and LLC Search
Indiana Secretary of State Business Search
Iowa Secretary of State Business Entities Search
Kansas Secretary of State Business Filing Center – Name Availability Status Search
Kentucky Secretary of State Name Availability Search
Louisiana Secretary of State Business Filings Search
Maine Secretary of State Corporate Name Search
Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation Business Entity Search
Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Business Entity Search
Search Name Reservations
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Business Entity Search
Minnesota Secretary of State Business Filings Search
Mississippi Secretary of State Business Search
Missouri Secretary of State Business Entity Search
Montana Secretary of State Business Search
Nebraska Secretary of State Corporate & Business Search
Nevada Secretary of State Business Entity Search
New Hampshire Department of State Business Search
New Jersey Department of the Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services Business Entity Name Search
New Mexico Secretary of State Business Search
New York Department of State Corporation and Business Entity Database
North Carolina Secretary of State Business Entity Search
North Dakota Secretary of State Archived Business Records Search
Ohio Secretary of State Business Name Search
Oklahoma Secretary of State Business Entities Search
Oregon Secretary of State Business Name Search
Pennsylvania Department of State Business Entity Search
Rhode Island Secretary of State Business Entity Search
South Carolina Secretary of State Business Name Search
South Dakota Secretary of State Business Information Search
Tennessee Secretary of State Business Name Availability Search
Texas Secretary of State or Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Taxable Entity Search
SOSDirect Name Search
Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code Business Name Search
Vermont Secretary of State Business Name Search
Virginia State Corporation Commission Business Entity Search
Washington Secretary of State Corporation Search
Washington DC Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection CorpOnline Business Search
West Virginia Secretary of State Business Organization Search
Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Corporate Records Search
Wyoming Secretary of State Business Entity Search

Our LLC Name Search Guides

Visit our LLC name search guides for more instructions on searching business entity names in your state.

Entity Search AL

Entity Search AK

Entity Search AZ

Entity Search AR

Entity Search CA

Entity Search CO

Entity Search CT

Entity Search DE

 Entity Search FL

 Entity Search GA

 Entity Search HI

 Entity Search ID

 Entity Search IL

 Entity Search IN

 Entity Search IA

Entity Search KS

Entity Search KY

 

 

When it comes to naming your LLC, you must adhere to specific regulations that vary depending on your business location. Each state has its own set of rules and requirements for LLC names.

How to Look Up and Search for an LLC Name

This LLC Name Search guide will provide you with detailed information on LLC naming standards, how to conduct a thorough LLC business name search in your state, and other vital insights to assist you in this crucial step of establishing your LLC.

Understanding the Basics of an LLC Name Search and the Rules

LLC Naming Conventions

The rules and requirements for LLC names are not uniform and vary based on the state where your business is located. A basic rule across most states is the naming structure: it should typically be in the format of “business name LLC.”

Despite the differences in state-specific laws, there are several universal guidelines to consider when naming your LLC:

  • Inclusion of an LLC Indicator: Your business name must include a designator indicating its LLC status. This could be “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or the full phrase “Limited Liability Company.”
  • Avoidance of Misleading Designators: Your LLC name should not contain terms typically associated with other business structures, such as “Corp,” “Inc.,” or “Nonprofit,” to prevent confusion.
  • Government Agency Distinction: Avoid using terminology that might imply a connection to government agencies, like “FBI,” “Secretary of State,” or “Department of the Treasury.”
  • Restricted Term Usage: Certain terms, such as “bank,” “university,” “law center,” or “insurance agency,” are typically restricted. Using these terms in your LLC name usually requires specific charters or professional licenses (e.g., legal, medical, or insurance qualifications).
  • Uniqueness: Your LLC name should be distinct enough to avoid confusion with existing businesses. It’s essential to differentiate your business name to maintain clarity for customers.

Adhering to these guidelines ensures that your LLC name aligns with legal standards and aids in establishing a clear and distinct identity for your business.

Preliminary Steps Before Conducting an LLC Name Search

Before initiating your search, it’s vital to consider several factors that influence your LLC’s naming process. First, differentiate your business entity from others in your industry and region to avoid legal complications. Intellectual property plays a significant role here.

Conduct a preliminary trademark search to ensure your proposed name does not infringe on existing trademarks, safeguarding you from potential legal disputes.

Check Domain Name Availability

In today’s digital world, checking the availability of a corresponding domain name is equally important. A domain name that matches your LLC name not only strengthens your brand but also enhances your online presence.

  • To explore domain name availability and registration, visit popular domain registration websites like GoDaddy or Namecheap.

How to Conduct an Effective LLC Name Availability Search

Now, let’s delve into the actual name search process. Start with the state business registry, often found on the Secretary of State’s website.

Here, you can search through the corporate name database to check the availability of your desired LLC name.

This online tool is invaluable for identifying any existing businesses with the same or similar names, ensuring your chosen name is unique within your state.

Search the Federal Trademark Database

Additionally, a broader check at the national level is advisable. Visit the Trademark Office’s website to conduct a trademark search. This step is crucial to avoid infringing on nationally recognized names, offering an extra layer of security in your name selection process.

Find Additional Resources for LLC Name Search

Beyond the basic search tools provided by the Secretary of State and the Trademark Office, there are additional resources that can greatly assist in your LLC name search. Business registration consultants offer professional services to help navigate the complex landscape of business naming.

These experts are well-versed in the intricacies of state-specific rules and can provide valuable insights, especially if you’re considering operating in multiple states.

Legal expertise can also be invaluable in this process. Legal professionals can assist in ensuring that your chosen name is not only available but also aligns with broader legal considerations, such as intellectual property laws and entity name reservation protocols.

Additionally, they can guide you through the process of reserving your LLC name if you are not ready for immediate registration, securing your desired name for future use.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of domain registration websites. Even if you’re not ready to launch a website immediately, securing a domain that matches your LLC name is a strategic move.

This ensures consistency in your online and offline branding and protects your brand from being used by others online.

Finalizing Your LLC Name Choice

Once you have thoroughly researched and selected your LLC name, the next step is to formalize it. Registering your LLC name with the state business registry is typically done as part of the LLC formation process.

This usually involves filing your Articles of Organization and paying the required fee. Ensure that all the information, especially your LLC name, is accurately represented in these documents.

If your LLC name has a unique brand identity that you wish to protect beyond just your state of operation, consider trademarking the name. This gives you exclusive rights to the name across the United States and offers legal recourse in case of infringement.

The process involves filing an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and, while it can be complex, it offers significant protection for your brand.

Finally, remember that your LLC name is an essential part of your business identity. It should not only comply with legal requirements but also resonate with your target audience and reflect your business values and services.

The Importance of Conducting an LLC Name Search

Engaging in an LLC name search is a critical step in establishing your business identity. This process allows you to make informed choices about your LLC’s name.

By researching potential names, you gain valuable insights into any existing businesses that may already be operating under your preferred name. This knowledge empowers you to select an alternative name if necessary.

Securing a distinct and legally recognized name for your LLC is more than a formality; it’s a foundation for building trust and credibility.

When potential clients or partners see that your business has a unique name, it enhances their confidence in your professionalism and legitimacy. Moreover, a thorough name search helps to ensure that your chosen name does not unintentionally infringe upon the legal names or trademarks of other entities, safeguarding you from potential legal complications.

LLC Name Search Availability FAQ

How do I check if an LLC name is already in use?

You can check the availability of an LLC name by visiting your state’s Secretary of State website or business registry. Most states offer an online search tool where you can look up the desired name and see if it’s already taken.

Can I reserve an LLC name before forming my LLC?

Yes, many states allow you to reserve an LLC name for a certain period before forming your LLC. This is done through the Secretary of State’s office, usually for a fee and for a limited time.

What are the most common mistakes to avoid when naming an LLC?

Common mistakes include choosing a name too similar to another business, using restricted words without the necessary credentials, and forgetting to include an LLC designator like “LLC” or “Limited Liability Company” in the name.

Can I use words like “bank” or “insurance” in my LLC name?

Using words like “bank,” “insurance,” or “university” in your LLC name is often restricted and typically requires specific licenses or charters. Check your state’s naming guidelines for specific rules.

Is it necessary to trademark my LLC name?

While not a legal requirement, trademarking your LLC name can provide additional protection, especially if you plan to do business across state lines. It prevents others from using your business name nationwide.

How important is it to match my LLC name with a domain name?

Securing a domain name that matches your LLC name is highly recommended for branding consistency and online presence, though it’s not legally required. It helps customers easily find and recognize your business online.

Can I change my LLC name after it’s been established?

Yes, you can change your LLC name. This typically involves filing an amendment with your state’s Secretary of State and paying a fee. Remember, you’ll also need to update your name with tax authorities, banks, and any other relevant entities.

Do LLC name rules differ significantly from state to state?

Yes, LLC name rules can vary considerably between states. While there are common themes, such as requiring an LLC designator and avoiding certain restricted terms, specific regulations and restrictions are state-dependent.

What happens if I accidentally infringe on another company’s trademark with my LLC name?

If you infringe on another company’s trademark, you may be legally required to change your LLC name and possibly pay damages. It’s crucial to conduct a thorough search, including a trademark check, to avoid this.

Can an LLC name reflect the nature of my business?

Yes, it’s generally advisable for your LLC name to reflect the nature of your business as it helps customers understand what services or products you offer. However, ensure it complies with all state-specific naming rules.

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

18 Comments

  1. This article is a must-read for anyone looking to start a new business! The tips on how to navigate business name availability in any state are straightforward and easy to follow. I especially appreciate the advice on reserving your business name once you find it’s available. It’s a crucial step that offers peace of mind while you sort out other aspects of setting up your LLC. The links to resources were a nice touch, making it easy to jump straight into a search. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

  2. Thank you for this detailed article! The step-by-step process you outlined for conducting an LLC name search is incredibly helpful. I particularly found the section on trademark searches enlightening. Many new business owners, myself included, might not realize the importance of this step to avoid future legal issues. It’s great that you highlighted the significance of checking both state and federal databases to ensure comprehensive name availability. Great job!led article! The step-by-step process you outlined for conducting an LLC name search is incredibly helpful.

  3. Fantastic read! I appreciated the emphasis on starting with your state’s Secretary of State website for an LLC name search. It’s a tip that’s often overlooked by first-time entrepreneurs. I learned this the hard way when I started my first business. Also, the reminder about checking for domain availability alongside the business name is invaluable. It’s a step that’s easy to forget in the excitement of finding an available business name. Thanks for putting together such a thorough guide!

  4. Great article on LLC Name Search! Understanding how to effectively check business name availability is key to a smooth LLC formation process. Your insights into the nuances of state regulations and the importance of a distinctive name for brand protection and legal compliance are spot on. This guide is a must-read for anyone starting their business journey.

  5. Appreciating the detailed walkthrough on how to search for business name availability. This is an essential step in the LLC formation process, ensuring that the business name adheres to state-specific requirements and avoids legal pitfalls. The emphasis on checking name availability across multiple platforms is a valuable tip for entrepreneurs.

  6. Brian, your guide on conducting an LLC Name Search is incredibly helpful for those in the early stages of forming their business. It’s crucial to ensure the chosen name is not only unique but also aligns with state guidelines for LLC formation. This step is foundational for establishing a strong brand identity and legal compliance.

  7. Avatar Evelyn Fisher says:

    This article offers a comprehensive overview of how to perform an LLC name search, a fundamental step in the LLC formation process. Ensuring that a business name is not only available but also aligns with state filings and legal compliance is key. The tips provided here for conducting an effective name search are invaluable for entrepreneurs looking to navigate this process smoothly.

  8. Avatar Kai Montgomery says:

    Appreciating the detailed walkthrough on checking business name availability for LLCs. This step is crucial for asset protection and establishing a strong brand presence. The emphasis on understanding state-specific requirements and the importance of a unique name to avoid legal complications is particularly valuable. This article is a must-read for anyone in the process of forming an LLC.

  9. Avatar Serenity Monroe says:

    Your guide on conducting an LLC name search is incredibly helpful for entrepreneurs in the early stages of forming their business. It’s essential to ensure the chosen name complies with state regulations and is distinct enough for brand identity. This article does a great job explaining the steps for a thorough name availability check, which is a critical aspect of the legal compliance process for LLC formation.

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