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Note: This lesson provides step-by-step instructions on how to search your desired business name for your Florida LLC. You can follow the video instructions directly below (which are more detailed), or the written instructions after the video.
Entity Name Search: Sunbiz Division of Corporations: Search Records
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.
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.
- 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:
Sunbiz Division of Corporations: Search Records
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.
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.
And check out TRUIC’s business name generator if you need help coming up with an LLC name.
Florida Secretary of State Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the Florida Secretary of State at 850-245-6052.
Florida Division of Corporations: Corporation records search guide
Florida Division of Corporations: Fictitious name search guide
Florida Division of Corporations: Explanation of status terms
Florida Division of Corporations: Title abbreviations
Florida Division of Corporations: Division FAQs
Florida LLC Act: Section 605.01125
Florida LLC Act: Section 605.0112
FLORIDA LLC GUIDE
Follow the lessons below to form your Florida LLC.
12 comments on “Florida Name Search”
Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.
So i see a company name frieght kings inc.
But i want to use freight king llc. Can i use it? And i did my research on uspto and seen frieght kings inc based in California and not Florida.
Hi Eric, the Florida Division of Corporations will likely reject your LLC name since isn’t distinguishable. A trademark registered with the USPTO is a federal trademark (national), so it doesn’t matter where the mark owner’s address is. Hope that helps.
If the name is listed as inactive is it available for use?
Hi Tye, an LLC name (or any business entity name) in Florida that is “inactive” for more than 1 year, then becomes publicly available. However, we usually recommend proceeding with caution and doing extra research. Make sure the name isn’t still being used somewhere to avoid confusing potential customers/clients. Make sure the name doesn’t have a bad reputation. Make sure the name is not filed as a federal trademark. You can search the USPTO’s trademark database called TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System). Please see here: USPTO: Search trademark database. Also make sure to search trademarks in Florida. Please see here: Florida Division of Corporations: Search by trademark name. Hope that helps.
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
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.
Thanks…..You made my day!!!
Awesome! You’re welcome.