Indiana Business Name Search (LLC lookup) - 2024 Guide

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LLC names
A unique business name is important for branding, but it’s easy to get lost in all the Indiana business name rules.

This page will teach you how to look up your LLC name and make sure it’s available to use.

Indiana LLC name

If you file your Indiana LLC paperwork with a name that is already used by another Indiana business entity – or that doesn’t meet the Indiana name rules – your filing may be rejected.

The first step to checking if your LLC name passes is to make sure your name is not already taken by another business.

You can do this using the Business Entity Search. And you need to do this because two business entities in the state can’t have the same name or be too similar.

The second step is to make sure your LLC name follows the Indiana Secretary of State’s rules, which we’ve broken down below.

How do I search the Indiana business entity name database?

You can use the business entity search to search your business name against the existing business entities registered in Indiana.

Note: This tool is sometimes called the Indiana Business Name Search or the Indiana Business Entity Search. They both refer to the same website and get you the same search records.

Visit the Indiana Business Search page:

Indiana Secretary of State: Business Search

It’s simple: enter your desired LLC name in the “Business Name” field. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Search“.

Leave the “search by” setting on “Contains“. That way you see all possible similar business names.

Screenshot with instructions on how to use the Indiana Business Entity Search

(You may need to complete a security or captcha challenge to use the Business Search tool.)

Search tips:

  • Leave out “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, “Limited Liability Company”, etc., when doing your searches.
  • Leave out any commas, periods, apostrophes, etc.
  • You can search using uppercase or lowercase letters.


How to interpret the Indiana LLC search results

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

  • Let’s keep using the example above. If your desired name is Riverwalk Studios LLC, and the only similar names you saw were “Riverwalk Rentals” and “Riverwalk Studio Starters”, then your name should be available.
Screenshot of sample results from the Indiana Business Entity Search
Example of Indiana Business Entity Search results

If no results show up, that means your LLC name is unique and it should be available for use. To be safe, run your search again using only part of your LLC name (to double-check that there are no similar names).

  • For example, search just the word “Riverwalk” instead of Riverwalk Studios.

If your exact LLC name appears in the list of search records, your LLC name is not available for use because another Indiana business entity is already using it.

If the results show a name that is very similar to yours, your LLC name may not be available for use.

  • If your desired name is Riverwalk Studios LLC, and the search results show a “Riverwalk Studio”, then your name is not available.

What if my desired LLC name isn’t available?

If your name is not unique, you’ll need to come up with a variation or a different name for your LLC.

Tip: Wait until your LLC is approved before you apply for your LLC EIN Number or purchase any other marketing materials. This way you don’t spend money on business supplies you can’t use because your business name isn’t available.

When in doubt, call the Secretary of State

You can call the Indiana Secretary of State to confirm that your LLC name is available.

Not all states offer this service, but the representatives in Indiana will help you use the Indiana Business Name Search and Name Availability Search to figure out whether your business name is available.

The Indiana Secretary of State has a specific “Name Availability Hotline” you can call at 317-232-6576.

If you have other questions about LLC name rules, the Business Services Division phone number is 317-234-9768. And their hours are 8:00am to 4:30pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Indiana Limited Liability Company Name Requirements

As per Section 23-18-2-8 of the Indiana LLC Act, there are a few rules and requirements for naming an Indiana business entity that you need to know.

Do I have to use a comma in my LLC name?

No, you don’t have to. You can file your LLC name with or without a comma. Both versions are accepted by the Secretary of State.

For example: If your desired business name is Tulip Trees, you can file it as:

  • Tulip Trees LLC
  • Tulip Trees, LLC

Or, instead of having “LLC” as your designator (ending), there are a few other options in Indiana.

What designators (endings) can I use in my LLC name?

Your Indiana LLC name must contain one of the following designators at the end:

  • LLC
  • L.L.C.
  • Limited Liability Company

The following designators are not allowed

Your Indiana LLC can’t make itself sound like an Indiana Corporation or any other business entity besides an LLC.

The following words and designators can’t be used anywhere in your LLC name:

  • Inc.
  • Corp.
  • Incorporated
  • Corporation

What words are not allowed in my Indiana LLC name?

Your Indiana LLC name can’t contain words and abbreviations that are restricted by law.

For example, you can’t make your LLC name sound like it’s a bank, part of the government or a government agency, or anything else that misleads the public.

You also can’t use words that are reserved for licensed professionals. These vary by state, but some common examples are accountants, architects, attorneys, dentists, and engineers.

Your Indiana business name must be distinguishable (unique)

When you use the Indiana Secretary of State Business Search, you will compare your desired LLC name to existing businesses in the state.

If your name is not unique, you’ll need to come up with a variation or a different business name.

Below are rules and examples of LLC names that are not distinguishable.

Designators

Differences in designators (endings) don’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Cardinal Card Company LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found in the Indiana Business Name Search results:

  • Cardinal Card Company, Inc.
  • Cardinal Card Company, Corp.
  • Cardinal Card Company, L.L.C.

Filler Words

Adding non-meaningful or filler words (the, a, an, and, &) won’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Limestone & Love Farms LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • The Limestone Love Farms LLC
  • A Limestone Love Farm Inc.
  • Limestone and Love Farms L.L.C.

In Indiana, “and” and “&” are interchangeable. If you see a business name using “and”, you can’t register a similar name by using “&” instead.

Plural or Singular Words and Possessive Words

Adding a letter “s” to make a word plural or possessive doesn’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Peter’s Boats LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • Peters Boats LLC
  • Peter’s Boat Inc.
  • Peters Boat, L.L.C.

Numerals or Spelled Out Numbers

Using numerals (like 5 or 101) instead of spelling out the number (like “five” or “one hundred and one”) doesn’t create distinguishability. Using Roman numerals (like “II” instead of 2) doesn’t create distinguishability, either.

If your desired LLC name is 25 Stars LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • Twenty-Five Stars LLC
  • Twenty 5 Stars Inc.
  • XXV Stars L.L.C.

Punctuation, Symbols, Spaces

Adding or removing punctuation, symbols and spaces doesn’t create distinguishability.

And in Indiana, you can’t create distinguishability by hyphenating or combining words.

If your desired LLC name is Honeybee Soapstore LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • Honeybee-Soap-Store Inc.
  • Honeybee “Soapstore”, LLC
  • Honey Bee Soap Store, L.L.C.

Capitalization

Differences in capitalization don’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is WABASH Bass LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • wabash bass Inc.
  • WaBaSh BaSs LP
  • Wabash BASS LLC

Said another way, you’re allowed to use any capitalization you want. It just doesn’t make your name distinguishable from an existing company with the same name.

What if my Indiana business name is rejected?

If you file your Indiana Articles of Organization (the document that creates your Indiana LLC) and the business name is not available, don’t panic. The state will notify you and tell you why your filing was rejected.

You will just need to file again with a variation of your LLC name or a different LLC name.

Indiana Business Name FAQs

Do I need a name reservation in Indiana?

No, a name reservation isn’t required to form an LLC in Indiana. It’s an unnecessary step and a waste of money.

You can just file your LLC’s Articles of Organization with your desired LLC name.

Does Indiana require LLC in the name?

Yes. Your Indiana LLC name must contain one of the allowable designators at the end. The most commonly used designators are:

  • LLC
  • Limited Liability Company
Does my Indiana LLC need a DBA?

No, you’re not required to file a DBA (“Doing Business As”) for your business entity in Indiana.

A DBA (known as an Assumed Business Name in Indiana) lets your LLC conduct business under a name which is different from its true and legal name (the name on your Articles of Organization).

If you want your LLC to do business under a name that’s different from its true and legal name, you have to file a Assumed Business Name Registration online or by mail and pay an additional fee of $30 to the Secretary of State.

If you are going to file an Assumed Business Name for your Indiana LLC, it must also be distinguishable from existing business names in the state.

There is no limit to the number of Assumed Business Names an LLC can have.

For more information, please see Does my LLC need a DBA?

When would my LLC use a DBA?

Let’s say you form an LLC called Hoosier Heavy Lifting LLC, but you also want to use a friendlier, catchy name, like Hoosier Lifts. In this case, your LLC would need to file an Assumed Business Name Registration to use the name Hoosier Lifts.

If you don’t file an Assumed Business Name Registration for a different name, you can only use your legal entity name of Hoosier Heavy Lifting LLC.

Similarly, if you want to do business under the name Hoosier Heavy Lifting, just without the letters “LLC” in the name, you will need to file an Assumed Business Name for Hoosier Heavy Lifting.

How do I get a business domain name?

Once you’ve found a business name that you like, it’s a good idea to check if your domain name is available before forming your LLC.

You can search for available domain names with GoDaddy:

What does “distinguishability” mean?

Each business entity name must be “distinguishable upon the records” of the Secretary of State.

This means that no two businesses can operate with the same exact name. Said another way, if a business already exists with your desired LLC name, you can’t register your LLC with that name.

For example, let’s say you want to form an LLC called Hoosier Landscapers LLC. But there is already a business in another town called Hoosier Landscapers, Inc. Because your desired LLC name is the same as that existing Indiana Corporation, it is not distinguishable. You can’t use it and must choose another name.

How do I come up with a business name?

Business names are important for branding and recognition. The name of your Indiana LLC can be your company’s brand name, but it doesn’t have to be (please see the FAQ about DBAs above). Either way, picking a good LLC name is an important decision.

Here are some quick tips for coming up with business names:

  1. First, write down the features of your company and things that you want to be associated with.
  2. Then list out as many business names as you can think of. Don’t edit or analyze them. Just get as many names on the page as you can.
  3. Now go back and read through them. Write down any variations that come to mind.
  4. Next, set the list aside. Do something else, like go for a walk or get groceries, or sleep on it for the night. Then come back and review the list of names. As you go through it, write down additional ideas and variations.
  5. Read the whole list out loud. If you want, get input from friends, business partners, and family.
  6. Repeat the process: sleep on the ideas, write down new variations, read them out loud again.
  7. The best business name will often “rise off the page” and present itself. If it doesn’t, you can try this trick: Close your eyes and count to 10. When you get to 10, you must choose a name. When you open your eyes, force yourself to make a decision. Sometimes we know the best name deep in our subconscious, and this trick can help it come out. Trust yourself and go with what feels best.

For more tips, please see How to Choose an LLC Name.

Can I use the name of another Indiana entity?

No. You can’t use the same name as another Indiana business.

And it doesn’t matter what entity type it is – your LLC can’t have the same entity name as another corporation, LLC, or any other entity type.

You can’t use another business’s name even if the entity is in “delinquent” status on the Indiana Secretary of State website.

But if the business entity is dissolved, they no longer have rights to that name. This means you can form an LLC with the same name.

How do I change my LLC name?

You can change your LLC’s name later by filing an Amendment form with the Secretary of State.

We have step-by-step instructions on how to change an LLC name in Indiana.

How to start an LLC in Indiana?

Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Indiana:

  1. Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
  2. Choose who will be your Indiana Registered Agent
  3. File the Indiana LLC Articles of Organization
  4. Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS
  6. Open an LLC bank account
  7. Check whether you need a business or sales tax license in Indiana

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz is the leading expert on LLC education, and has been teaching for 15 years. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

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4 comments on “Indiana 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.

  1. I would like to learn about your services and costs to set up LLC in Indiana and Wyoming (if you handle that as well)

    • Hi Tony, we don’t offer filing services. We are an education company. If you’d like to file the LLCs yourself, please see our Indiana LLC and Wyoming LLC guides. If you’d like to hire someone to file the LLCs for you, please see Best LLC Services.

  2. I am forming an LLC- If my business name is “Business name LLC,” can I also go by Business Name Co. and Business Name Company?

    • Hi Matthew, no, you couldn’t use “Business Name Co.” and “Business Name Company” without filing an Assumed Name (aka DBA) – for each name – with the Indiana Secretary of State.

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