Florida Name Search

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Florida LLC Name Search

Note: This lesson provides step-by-step instructions on how to search your desired LLC name in Florida. You can follow the video instructions directly below (which are more detailed), or the written instructions after the video.


Video Transcript:

Welcome to the LLC Name Research Video.There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your LLC name. Your desired LLC name must be “distinguishable” and cannot be too similar to the names of existing organized entities. There are also certain restrictions and requirements to keep in mind regarding the use of certain words and abbreviations. Suffixes and different business types do not constitute a difference. For, example, the name “Business Enterprises, LLC” would not be available for use if there was an active corporation filed under the name “Business Enterprises, Incorporated”. The singular, plural, and possessive forms of a word are considered the same, and spaces and punctuation do not constitute a difference. Inserting the words “A”, “An”, “The”, “and”, or using the ampersand symbol constitute a difference either. For example, “Umbrellas, LLC”, “An Umbrella, Incorporated” and “The Umbrella, Limited” are considered the same and are not distinguishable from one another. Neither are the names “Apple Orange, LLC”, “Apples and Oranges, LLC” and “Apple and Orange Limited”. The word “Florida”, the abbreviation “FL”, or the words “of Florida” at the end of the name do not constitute a difference either. For example, “PGM Logistics, LLC” would not be available for use if there was an active LLC with the name “PGM Logistics of Florida, LLC”. Your LLC name will be available for use if there are no other names like it. You will also need to pay attention to the status of existing registered names in the search results as some are available for use, and some are not. Names with an “Inactive” or “Inact” status are available for use. These are prior business names which have since expired and are now available to new businesses. Names with the “Active”, “Act”, or “Inactive/UN” (for “Inactive and Unavailable”) are not available for use. Active names are currently registered business names and an inactive and unavailable name is not yet available for new businesses to use. We will go into detail through our examples in our online search. Since an LLC is not a Corporation, you cannot use the words “Incorporated” or “Corporation” or an abbreviation of either, such as “Inc.” or “Corp.”. Your LLC name must end with the words “Limited Liability Company”, or the abbreviations “L.L.C.” or “LLC”. The abbreviation “LLC” is the most common. If your LLC will be used in conducting business with others, you may want to make it easy to remember, easy to spell, and something remarkable. We also recommend thinking of an alternative name, now in case you find yours is unavailable. Example, your desired LLC name is “Speedy Delivery Services, LLC”, and an alternative would be “Quick Delivery, LLC” or, “At Your Door Quick, LLC”. Keep in mind that if after you submit your Articles of Organization (which is discussed in Lesson 2) and it is discovered that your name is not available for use, the Division of Corporations will send back your filing with details on what needs to be changed. There are no additional costs associated with this. We are now ready to search your desired LLC name against all the registered entities in Florida. The link below this video will take you to the state’s online database. Let’s head over to the state’s website. This is what the search page will look like. If for any reason the link below this video did not work, please go www.Sunbiz.org. Once on the homepage, scroll down and on the left click “Search our Records”. Underneath “Corporations, Trademarks. Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies”, click the 1st link which is “Inquire by Name”. For our 1st example, we will use “Bagels With Lox, LLC”. I’m now going to type “Bagels With Lox” into the search bar, and then click “Search Now”. Capitalization is not important, and don’t enter the suffix, such as “Limited Liability Company” or the letters “LLC”. You can just enter the 1st part. Once the search results are displayed, you have to look through the alphabetical list and find the LLC name. Here you can see “Bagels With Lox, LLC”, and if you scroll over to the right under “Status, this is “Active”. That means that this is a registered business and I cannot use that name for my LLC. Remember, if you see the status “Active”, “Act”, “Inactive/UN”, (which is “Inactive and Unavailable”) or you see “Name HS”, any of those names will not be available for use. I’m now going to click the back button and let’s try another search. For this example I’m going to use “The Ride Adventures, LLC”. I’ve entered the words “the ride adventures” and I’m going to click “Search Now”. You’ll see here in our search results that the 1st one that came up was “Ride Adventures, LLC” and if I look under status, this is an active registered business. Although my desired name was “The Ride Adventures, LLC”, there’s already a business with the name “Ride Adventures, LLC”. Remember, the words “The”, “An”, “A”, and ampersand (&), or a space, don’t constitute a difference. In this example, I cannot use this name. I’m going to hit the back button again, and we’ll do another example. For this example, I’m going to go with the name “Ship’s Cafe of Florida, LLC”. I’ve entered the words and I’m now going to click “Search Now”. Sometimes you need to scroll through the list in order see whether or not there is a similar name. Since i typed in “ship’s cafe”, I’m realizing that the 1st results are a little bit ahead in alphabetical order. I’m going to scroll down, and click “Previous List”, and I’m going to scroll down to the bottom. You’ll see at the bottom here, I found “Ship’s Cafe, LLC”, and although I wanted the name “Ship’s Cafe of Florida, LLC”, using the word “Florida”, the abbreviation “FL” or the words “of Florida” does not constitute a difference. And in this case, because this business is active, I cannot use this name. Let’s go back to the search screen and do another example. For this example, the desired LLC name is “Consulting Across Borders”. I’ve entered the desire name and will click “Search Now”. For this example, you’ll see that we’ve come across ” Consulting Across Borders, Incorporated”. However, if you look to the right-hand side, this name is “Inactive”, which means it’s available for use. The status “Inact” or “Inactive” means that the name has expired and is now available for new businesses. If this were my LLC name of choice, I could now move forward onto the next step, which is the Articles of Organization. Let’s do 1 more example. Let’s go with the name “Baya Management, LLC”. I’ve typed in the words “baya management” and I’m going to click “Search Now”. As I scroll through this list, I realized that there are no other existing businesses with even the word “baya”, let alone “baya management” or something similar. For this example, I could move forward with the name “Baya Management, LLC”. If you have specific questions regarding your LLC’s name availability, you can call the Division of Corporations directly at 850-245-6051. Once you have found a name that either no one else has registered, or a name that has an “Inactive” status, you’re ready to move forward onto the next step. Please see Lesson 2 for instructions on how to file the Articles of Organization. This now concludes the Name Research Video.

Entity Name Search: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/ByName

The first step to forming an LLC in Florida is to search your desired LLC name and make sure it is available for use.

Your Florida LLC name must be unique and must follow certain state requirements.

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your LLC in Florida:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

Florida LLC Name Requirements

Before searching your LLC name in Florida, there are a few requirements you need to know:

1. The abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.” must be used at the end of your Florida LLC name. The abbreviation “LLC” is the most common.

2. Because a Florida LLC is not a Corporation, your desired LLC name cannot use the word “Corporation”, “Incorporated,” or their abbreviations (“Corp.”, “Inc.”).

3. Your desired LLC name must be distinguishable. This means it must be different and unique from all other businesses registered in Florida.

Differences in designators (the identifiers at the end of a business name) and differences in grammar do not create distinguishability.

For example:
• LLC, L.L.C, Inc., Corp.
• singular, plural, and possessive
• A, An, The
• and, or, &
• hyphens, slashes, periods, commas
• three vs. 3

The following examples are NOT distinguishable:
– Smith Investments, LLC vs. Smith Investments, Inc.
– Apple Farm, LLC vs. Apple Farms, LLC
– Print Shop, LLC vs. The Print Shop, LLC
– Night & Day, LLC vs. Night and Day, LLC
– Peter Paul & Mary Studios, LLC vs. Peter-Paul-Mary Studios, Inc
– Three Teachers Consulting, LLC vs. 3 Teachers Consulting, LLC

Searching the Florida Name Database

1. Visit the Database
Go to the Entity Name Search page: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/ByName

2. Search your LLC
Enter your desired LLC name in the the search box.

• Leave out the ending “LLC” and any punctuation.

• Capitalization doesn’t matter.

• To be thorough, just enter the first word or two of your LLC name to ensure you see everything that is potentially similar. (Ex: if your desired Florida LLC name is “Johnny Apple Farm LLC”, just enter “johnny apple”).

• To be even more thorough, just enter a part of the first word. (Ex: if your desired Florida LLC name is “Printing Solutions LLC”, just enter “print”).

3. Browse the Results
Click the “Search Now” button and browse the list of existing Florida businesses:

• If the results show names that are not too similar to yours (meaning yours is distinguishable), then your desired LLC name is available for use.

• If your desired LLC name appears in the list exactly as you want it, your desired Florida LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.

• If the results show a name that is deceptively similar to your desired LLC name, your desired Florida LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.

Tip: And don’t worry, if you’re not 100% sure that your desired Florida LLC name is distinguishable, just file your paperwork with the state. If your name is not available, the state of Florida will send back your filing and let you know that the name needs to be changed.

Next Step

Once you find a Florida LLC name that is unique and distinguishable, you’re ready to select your LLC’s Registered Agent. We’ll discuss this in the next lesson: Florida LLC Registered Agent.

Florida Secretary of State Contact Info

If you have any questions, you can contact the Florida Secretary of State at 850-245-6052.

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Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator at LLC University
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! We teach people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your entrepreneurial journey.

8 Comments

  1. Victoria July 25, 2017

    Matt, your tutorials have been extremely helpful and informative. When searching for a name for an LLC, can the same name be used if it is a completely different type of business? For example: Smith Bicycle Repair and Smith Florist

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz July 26, 2017

      Hey Victoria, glad to hear! Yes, the same root (ex: “Smith”) can be used for different LLC names. So in your example, Smith Bicycle Repair LLC and Smith Florist LLC can both be in existence. The only exception to this would be if there was a state-level or federal-level trademark filed for the root word that was registered in the same business class.

      reply
      • Victoria July 26, 2017

        Thanks…..You made my day!!!

        reply
        • Matt Horwitz July 27, 2017

          Awesome! You’re welcome.

          reply
  2. Catherine Burns September 29, 2018

    Hi Matt,
    Thank you very much for your site and all the material you provide. I was a little confused by all the regulations of starting a business but your information made it seem less intimidating.
    I have attempted several times to search my business name in Florida at search.sunbiz.org without any success. I’m unable to connect to the site. What is the correct url?
    Thank you!
    Catherine

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz October 25, 2018

      Hi Catherine, you’re very welcome! Have you since been able to access the FL LLC name search link on Sunbiz? It’s the correct URL. Any chance you’re outside of the U.S.? Sometimes, people have issues accessing the site if they’re outside the U.S. You could try using a proxy site/server if you’re outside the U.S. Hope that helps.

      reply
      • Catherine October 26, 2018

        Thank you! It finally worked. It was probably operator error.

        reply
        • Matt Horwitz November 22, 2018

          Awesome. That’s great to hear!

          reply

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