Business Name Search

Starting an LLC business name search is an important step for anyone who wants to form an LLC in the US. Whether you want to create a limited liability company in Florida, Delaware, or any other state, the process is almost the same.

Here we will explain how to do an LLC business name search considering all the legal requirements.

Why is LLC Naming so Important?

Naming your company is a critical aspect of its creation. By law, your LLC's name must be included when you are filing your Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation.

While these two documents have different names, they serve the same purpose in the state in which they are used. They are used to form your company and they must contain the name of your company.

Some states even require that you reserve an LLC entity business name before filing the formation paperwork. The name certificate should be attached to the Articles of Organization.

The Business Name Database

Each state has a Business Name Database, which is managed by the Secretary of State. You can search that database to find any names that are like yours.

There is no cost to doing that and you can conduct the free search right from your computer or mobile device.

Always ensure that your search is being conducted on the state website where you want to form your LLC. For example, if you live in Milwaukee but want to register an LLC in Texas, ensure that you're searching the database in Texas.

When you're considering names for your LLC, you'll have terms that are related to the product or service you offer. You should enter one of these terms in the search bar provided on the Business Name Search webpage of your respective Secretary of State.

Selecting the Search Terms

Don't enter your entire name in the search bar because this will not give you names that are similar.

For example, if you're offering a tree cutting service, you should enter "tree cutting" in the search bar and see which business names come up. If you get a lot of names, you can refine your search by adding another word from your proposed name.

If you would like your business to be called Mitchell's Tree Cutting and Horticulture, you can add the word "horticulture" to the other words in the search bar.

If you follow this process, you'll quickly see if there's a Mitchel Tree Cutting Horticulture, Mitchels Horticulture and Trees or another variation that's similar to your name. While the former is too close to your name, the latter is not. If there are names which only differ from yours in pluralization or in the sequence of the words, it's better to choose another name.

Things to Omit when Searching for a Business Name

When you're conducting a business name search for an LLC, you will not need to include commas, apostrophes and other punctuation.

You can also leave out designators such as LLC, since these do not make the name of your LLC unique. For example, "Mitchell's Horticulture LLC" is the same as "Mitchells Horticulture L.C."

You won't need to worry about capitalization, since that also does not make your name unique.

No Results Found

If you get a message such as, "No results found", after you've only searched using part of your desired name, you have cause to celebrate. That means your name is available and no one else is using it. If that's the case, you may want to file online as soon as possible to create your LLC.

Business Name Reservation

You could also consider reserving your name. This option is offered by most states but the length of time that you can reserve a name for varies. Some states let you reserve your name for 60 days while others will let you reserve your name for up to four months. You cannot pursue this option if a name appears that's exactly like yours.

A cost is attached to the name reservation. You might be asked to pay $20 in one state but another state may request $75. Some states allow you to mail the name reservation form in while others prefer that the application is done online. You can pay by check, money order, or via your debit or credit card.

Some states allow you to use a Name Consent form in cases where the name of an existing company is similar to your ideal name. The company that has the name must give you written consent to the use of a similar name.

This document must be submitted along with your Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation at the time of filing.

You don't need to worry about writing a Name Consent document on your own. It's not like the operating agreement, which each LLC has to develop on its own.

Several states, such as Delaware, Indiana, and Texas, already have a standard form that can be used for this purpose.