Choosing an LLC name has certain state requirements and restrictions. Your LLC name must also be “distinguishable
Naming your LLC is one the most important and challenging steps for entrepreneurs. How you decide to brand your business will play a large role in your success. A well chosen LLC name can be essential to your business success. Your name will last for many years and will be an important part of your brand – your company’s reputation.
Why Should I Perform an LLC Name Search?
Name searches are a quick and easy way to confirm some important aspects of your LLC’s formation. First and foremost, it will determine whether your name is unique and wholly distinguishable from all other businesses in the state.
No two business entities in any state are allowed to have the same name ― or even names that are deemed deceivingly similar ― so you’ll want to see if your desired name is available before you get too hung up on it. If you’re not ready to form your LLC quite yet, you can always reserve the name for later use.
Just to be safe, you should multiple name ideas for your business. This way, if your favorite is taken, simply move on to the next one down the list. Every state has online business name searches available, so the process really couldn’t be much easier.
These search functions serve multiple purposes, though. They’re not just for name availability. You can also use them to find information on existing businesses. Let’s say you need to contact a corporation about a potential partnership or maybe even a lawsuit. You can find its contact and registered agent information through the search tool.
Outside of the state-sponsored name search, you should consider searching online to determine if the corresponding domain name is available. If it’s already taken, you’ll have to head back to the drawing board and get creative. But even if your first-choice URL is off the table, there will likely be other options for you if you try different words or phrases.
LLC Name Rules
Using the abbreviation “LLC” is the most common.
For example, Joe wants to start a company by the name “Joe’s Landscaping Services”. Since he is forming an LLC, he must use the name “Joe’s Landscaping Services, LLC”. Again, using the abbreviation “LLC” (or the full word) is a requirement when forming an LLC.
LLC Name Restrictions
Your LLC name cannot imply that it is a corporation. You are not allowed to use the words “Corporation” or “Incorporated”, or the abbreviations “Corp.” or “Inc.” anywhere in your LLC name. Let’s look at our example again. Since Joe wants to form an LLC, he cannot call his company “Joe’s Landscaping Services Inc.” or “Joe’s Landscaping Services Incorporated”.
LLC Name Distinguishability
Your desired LLC name must also be “distinguishable”. This means it cannot be too similar to the names of existing companies that are found in the results during the search of the database. The state will not approve your LLC if there is an existing company with your desired LLC name or if your name is too similar to an existing company.
Searching the States’ LLC Name Databases
Most of the time, you’ll find a state’s name search tool on its Secretary of State website, but sometimes it can be buried among the site’s many other pages. But don’t fret, because we just made the process a lot easier for you by linking them all right here! Just click on your state to access its name search.
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While the business name availability search might not be the most complicated aspect of the limited liability company formation process, it is vitally important.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you should never get too focused on one name until you have that name registered for your LLC. If you have a name that you like, but you’re not ready to form your LLC yet, you can always reserve it with your state government so that it’s still available when you need it.