Name

Choosing Your LLC Name

**Short Answer: Choosing an LLC name has certain state requirements and restrictions. Your LLC name must also be “distinguishable”.**


Video Transcript:

A well-chosen LLC name can be essential to your business success. Your name will last for many years and it will become an important part of your brand, your company’s reputation. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when you’re brainstorming options for your LLC name. Make your LLC name easy to spell, you want to make sure that people can find you when they’re looking for you. Make your LLC name short, shorter names are easier for people to remember and also makes it easier for people to refer you to their friends. Make your LLC name have a positive connotation, leave people with a good feeling when they hear about your business. In order to make sure your desired LLC name is available for use, you will need to search it against the existing companies on your State’s database. We will walk you through the details step-by-step in another lesson. You need to know if your name is taken so that you can avoid infringing upon someone else’s name rights, differentiate your business from existing companies, and make sure your desired LLC name is available for use before you file your documents. There are a few requirements you need to know of when choosing your LLC name. Your LLC name must end with the words, Limited Liability Company or the abbreviations LLC or L.L.C. 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. There are also a few restrictions to be aware of when choosing your LLC name. Your LLC name cannot imply that it is a corporation, you’re not allowed to use the words corporation or incorporated or Corp or Inc anywhere in your LLC name. Let’s look at our example again. Since Joe wants to form an LLC, he can’t call his company Joe’s Landscaping Services Inc or Joe’s Landscaping Services Incorporated. Your desired LLC name must also be distinguishable. This means it cannot be too similar to the names of the 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. We will now go over a few examples. Let’s talk about designators first. Designators are the identifiers at the end of a business name. For example, Inc or Corp for corporations, and LLC or L.L.C. for Limited Liability companies. Differences in these designators do not create distinguishability. Let’s say your desired LLC name is Smith Investments LLC but during your search of the database, you find an existing company called Smith Investments Inc. In this example, your desired LLC name would not be available for use, you’ll need to use an alternative LLC name, for example, Smith Financial Group LLC. Grammatical differences such as singular, plural and possessive forms of the word do not create distinguishability. Let’s say your desired LLC name is Apple Farm LLC, but during your search of the database, you find an existing company called Apple Farms LLC. In this example, your desired LLC name would not be available for use. Again you’ll need to use an alternative name, for example, Bob’s Apple Orchard LLC. Differences in articles such as a, an or the do not create distinguishability. Let’s say your desired LLC name is, Print Shop LLC, but during your search of the database, you find an existing company called, The Print Shop LLC. In this example, your desired LLC name would also not be available for use, you’ll need to use an alternative LLC name, for example, Printing Solutions LLC. Names that are too similar to existing companies also known as deceptively similar also do not create distinguishability. Let’s say your desired LLC name is Speedy Delivery Services LLC, but during your search of the database, you find an existing company called Speed Delivery Services LLC. In this example, your desired LLC name would also not be available for use. You’ll need to choose an alternative LLC name, for example, At Your Door Quick LLC. When you search the database, you should search your desired LLC name every way that you can think of. Unfortunately, we can’t show you exactly how to search your desired LLC name because it depends on the state where you’re forming an LLC. Every state has their own database. If you become a member of our site, we will show you with a step-by-step video how to search your state’s database and how to make sense over the results that you see. This is an important step in forming your LLC, so take the time to ensure that your name is unique and that it does not conflict with any existing companies.

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.

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when you are brainstorming options for your name.

– Make your LLC name easy to spell. You want to make sure people can find you when they’re looking for you.

– Make your LLC name short. Shorter names are easier for people to remember. It also makes it easy for people to refer you to their friends.

– Make your LLC name have a positive connotation. Leave people with a good feeling when they hear about your business.

Is Your LLC Name Taken?

In order to make sure your desired LLC name is available for use, you will need to search it against the existing companies on your state’s database.

We will walk you thru this step-by-step in another lesson.

You need to know if your name is taken, so you can:

– Avoid infringing upon someone else’s name rights.

– Differentiate your business name from existing companies.

– Make sure your desired LLC name is available for use before you file your documents.

Name Requirements for Your LLC

Your LLC name must end with the words “Limited Liability Company”, or the abbreviations: “L.L.C.” or “LLC”.

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.

Name Restrictions for Your LLC

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”.

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.

We will now illustrate several examples.

Designators (Inc. / Corp. / LLC / L.L.C.)

Designators are the identifiers at the end of a business name.

For example, “Inc.” or “Corp.” (for Corporations) and “LLC” or “L.L.C.” (for Limited Liability Companies).

Differences in designators do not create distinguishability.

Let’s take a look at how this works:

Let’s say your desired LLC name is Smith Investments, LLC

But, during your search of the database, you find an existing company called Smith Investments, Inc.

In this example, your desired LLC name is not available.

You will need to use an alternative LLC name. For example, Smith Financial Group, LLC.

Grammatical Differences

The following do not create distinguishability.

Singular, Plural, and Possessive Words

Differences/variables in singular, plural, and possessive forms of a word do not create distinguishability.

Let’s say your desired LLC name is Apple Farm, LLC.

But, during your search of the database, you find an existing company called Apple Farms, LLC.

In this example, your desired LLC name is not available.

You will need to use an alternative LLC name. For example, Bob’s Apple Orchard, LLC.

“A”, “An”, or “The”

Differences in articles such as “A”, “An” or “The” do not create distinguishability.

Let’s say your desired LLC name is Print Shop, LLC.

But, during your search of the database, you find an existing company called The Print Shop, LLC.

In this example, your desired LLC name is not available.

You will need to use an alternative LLC name. For example, Printing Solutions, LLC.

“And”, “or”, “&”

The following also do not create distinguishability.

The use of conjunctions such as “and”, “or”, and the ampersand symbol (&).

Let’s say your desired LLC name is Night & Day, LLC.

But, during your search of the database, you find an existing company called Night and Day, LLC.

In this example, your desired LLC name is not available.

You will need to use an alternative LLC name. For example, Moon and Sunshine, LLC.

Hyphens, Periods, and Commas

The use of certain punctuation such as hyphens, slashes, periods, commas, etc.

Let’s say your desired LLC name is Peter Paul & Mary Studios, LLC.

But, during your search of the database, you find an existing company called Peter-Paul-Mary Studios, LLC.

In this example, your desired LLC name is not available.

You will need to use an alternative LLC name. For example, PPM Productions, LLC.

Alphanumeric

Differences in numerical or written numbers do not create distinguishability.

Let’s say your desired LLC name is Three Teachers Consulting, LLC.

But, during your search of the database, you find an existing company called 3 Teachers Consulting, LLC.

In this example, your desired LLC name is not available.

You will need to use an alternative LLC name. For example, A Few Good Teachers Consulting, LLC.

Deceptively Similar

Names that are too similar to existing companies also do not create distinguishability.

Let’s say your desired LLC name is Speedy Delivery Services, LLC.

But, during your search of the database, you find an existing company called Speed Delivery Services, LLC.

In this example, your desired LLC name is not available.

You will need to use an alternative LLC name. For example, At Your Door Quick, LLC.

Searching the State’s Database

When you search the LLC database, you should search your desired LLC name every way you can think of.

Every state has their own database.

To search your state name database, select your state and get started.

This is an important step in forming your LLC, so take the time to ensure your name is unique and does not conflict with any existing companies.

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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 LLC formation (for free) in all 50 states. We're here to help, so reach out with any questions!

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