A unique business name is important for branding, but it’s easy to get lost in all the Kansas business name rules.
This page will teach you how to look up your LLC name and make sure it’s available to use.
Kansas LLC name
If you file your Kansas LLC paperwork with a name that is already used by another Kansas business entity – or that doesn’t meet the Kansas 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 Database Search and Name Availability 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 Kansas Secretary of State’s rules, which we’ve broken down below.
How do I search the Kansas business entity name database?
You can use the business entity search and name availability search to check your business name against the existing business entities registered in Kansas.
Visit the Kansas Business Name Search pages
Kansas has two different business entity search tools for checking a potential business name: The Business Entity Database Search and the Name Availability Search. We explain how to use both tools below.
Business Entity Database Search
We recommend starting with this tool so you can see other businesses with similar names.
From the Business Entity Search Station homepage, click “Business Entity Database“.
On the next screen, click the link to search “By business entity name“.
Now you can enter your desired LLC name in the Name of Business field and click Search.
- This database searches all business entities registered in Kansas. It shows you all similar names.
- Don’t enter a designator (like “LLC”) during the search.
Tip: It’s best to enter only the main part of your desired Kansas LLC name in the search bar. For example, if your desired LLC name is Riverwalk Studios LLC, first do a search for the words “Riverwalk Studio”. And then do a search for “Riverwalk”. This helps make sure that you see everything that is potentially similar.
Name Availability Search
We recommend using this in addition to the Business Entity Database Search to double-check that your Kansas LLC name is unique.
Go to the Name Availability Status page.
Simply enter your desired LLC name in the box and click Search.
- You’ll get an “available” or “not available” response.
- If your name is not available, the Name Availability Search will show you the existing business names that are too similar to yours.
How to interpret the Kansas LLC search results
If the Business Entity Database Search 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.
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 Kansas 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.
Once you have a name that appears to be unique, check again using the Name Availability Search tool. If you get a message that the business name is Available, you should be good to go!
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 Kansas Secretary of State to confirm that your LLC name is available.
Not all states offer this service, but the representatives in Kansas will help you use the Kansas Business Name Search and Name Availability Search to figure out whether your business name is available.
Their phone number is 785-296-2564. Their hours are Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm Central Time.
Kansas Limited Liability Company Name Requirements
As per Section 17-7920 of the Kansas Business Entity Standard Treatment Act, there are a few rules and requirements for naming a Kansas 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 Grandpa Joe’s, you can file it as:
- Grandpa Joe’s LLC
- Grandpa Joe’s, LLC
Or, instead of having “LLC” as your designator (ending), there are a few other options in Kansas.
What designators (endings) can I use in my LLC name?
Your Kansas LLC name must contain one of the following designators at the end:
Note: Most people choose “LLC”.
The following designators are not allowed
Your Kansas LLC can’t make itself sound like a Kansas Corporation or any other business entity besides an LLC.
The following words and designators can’t be used anywhere in your LLC name:
What words are not allowed in my Kansas LLC name?
Your Kansas 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.
You can’t use certain symbols in your Kansas business name. This has to do with how the state’s business entity database works.
If you submit LLC paperwork with a name that has these characters, the Secretary of State will reject your filing and ask you to change the name.
The prohibited symbols in Kansas are:
- caret ^
- back slash \
- tilde ~
- vertical bar |
- ellipsis …
- underscore _
You may use other symbols (like a comma, period, parenthesis, or &) in your business name. However, those symbols won’t make your business name distinguishable from other similar names. Learn more about this rule below.
Your Kansas business name must be distinguishable (unique)
When you search the Kansas Secretary of State Business Entity Database, 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.
Differences in designators (endings) don’t create distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name is Box Turtle Fishing LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found in the Kansas Business Name Search results:
- Box Turtle Fishing, Inc.
- Box Turtle Fishing, Corp.
- Box Turtle Fishing L.C.
Kansas has a special list of words that don’t create distinguishability. These words are generally business descriptors or designators. The Kansas Secretary of State has decided that these words don’t sufficiently differentiate one business name from another.
Here’s the full list of “ignored words”:
- Professional Association (or “PA”)
If your desired LLC name is Limestone Landscaping LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- Limestone Landscaping Club Inc.
- Limestone Landscaping Limited L.C.
- Limestone Landscaping Union Corp.
- Limestone Landscaping Fund LLC
Those might all sound like different business names. But in Kansas, these “extra words” get ignored.
Adding non-meaningful or filler words (the, a, an, and, &, to, with) won’t create distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name is Lewis & Clark LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- The Lewis & Clark LLC
- Lewis and Clark Inc.
- Lewis Clark Corp
- Lewis With Clark L.C.
Note: The letter “A” can sometimes create distinguishability.
If the letter “A” is used as an initial, it creates distinguishability. For example: “ABC Daycare” is distinguishable from “BC Daycare”.
If the letter “A” is used as an article, it doesn’t create distinguishability. For example: “A Sunny Bakery” is not distinguishable from “Sunny Bakery”.
Punctuation and Symbols
Adding or removing punctuation, symbols or special characters doesn’t create distinguishability. In Kansas, only numbers and letters are considered when determining distinguishability.
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.
- Honey Bee $oap $tore L.C.
- Honey*Bee*Soap*Store Corp.
- “Honey Bee” Soap Store, L.L.C.
How to create distinguishability in Kansas
The easiest way to create a distinguishable business name is to come up with something completely unique. This is the best method, because it also avoids confusion for your customers.
But if you’re really attached to a name idea but it’s very similar to an existing business, we can help.
Here are two tricks for how you can distinguish your desired LLC name from other business names in the state.
Plural or Singular Words and Possessive Words
Adding a letter “s” to make a word plural or possessive creates distinguishability in Kansas.
Let’s say your desired LLC name is Meadowlark Music LLC. But there’s already another business called Meadowlark Music Inc., so that name isn’t available to use.
Instead, you could use Meadowlark‘s Musics LLC.
Numerals or Spelled Out Numbers
Using numerals (like 5 or 101) instead of spelling out the number (like “five” or “one hundred and one”) creates distinguishability in Kansas. And using Roman numerals (like V for 5, or MMXII for 2012) can also create distinguishability.
Let’s say your desired LLC name is 25 Stars LLC, but there’s already a business called 25 Stars Corp.
Instead, you could use any of the following:
- Twenty-Five Stars LLC
- Twenty 5 Stars LLC
- XXV Stars LLC
What if my Kansas business name is rejected?
If you file your Kansas Articles of Organization (the document that creates your Kansas 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.
Kansas Business Name FAQs
Do I need a name reservation in Kansas?
No, a name reservation isn’t required to form an LLC in Kansas. 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 Kansas require LLC in the name?
Yes. Your Kansas LLC name must contain one of the allowable designators at the end. The most commonly used designator is LLC.
Does my Kansas LLC need a DBA?
No, you’re not required to file a DBA (“Doing Business As”) for your business entity in Kansas.
A DBA lets your LLC conduct business under a name which is different from its true and legal name (the name on your Articles of Organization).
However, Kansas doesn’t register DBAs at the state or county level. There are no forms to fill out or fees to pay.
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:
Find a domain name
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 Sunflower Landscapers LLC. But there is already a business in another town called Sunflower Landscapers, Inc. Because your desired LLC name is the same as that existing Kansas 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 Kansas 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:
- First, write down the features of your company and things that you want to be associated with.
- 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.
- Now go back and read through them. Write down any variations that come to mind.
- 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.
- Read the whole list out loud. If you want, get input from friends, business partners, and family.
- Repeat the process: sleep on the ideas, write down new variations, read them out loud again.
- 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.
Can I use the name of another Kansas entity?
No. You can’t use the same name as another Kansas 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 Kansas Secretary of State website.
But if a business is “forfeited” or “dissolved” for more than 1 year, 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 Kansas.
How to start an LLC in Kansas?
Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Kansas:
- Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
- Choose who will be your Kansas Registered Agent
- File the Kansas LLC Articles of Organization
- Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
- Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS
- Open an LLC bank account
- Check whether you need a business or sales tax license in Kansas
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.