Last updated January 20, 2021

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LLC Name Search

How to name your LLC

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

Choosing Your LLC Name: Form an LLC (5/11)

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.

Need help with your LLC? Have a professional LLC service file for you:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

LLC Name Availability

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.

LLC Name Rules

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.

LLC Name Restrictions

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”.

LLC Name 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.

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

Corporate 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 States’ LLC Name Databases

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

Every state has their own database. After you determine the best state to form your LLC, you can either follow our 50-state LLC tutorials (which include LLC name search instructions) or just go right to the state LLC name search database below:

Alabama LLC name search

Alabama Secretary of State: Business Entity Records

Alaska LLC name search

Alaska Division of Corporations: Search Corporations Database

Arizona LLC name search

Arizona Corporation Commission: eCorp Business Entity Search

Arkansas LLC name search

Arkansas Secretary of State: Business Entity Search

California LLC name search

California Secretary of State: Business Search

Colorado LLC name search

Colorado Secretary of State: Business Database Search

Connecticut LLC name search

Connecticut Secretary of State: Business Registry Search

Delaware LLC name search

Delaware Division of Corporations: Business Entity Search

Florida LLC name search

Florida Department of State: Search Records

Georgia LLC name search

Georgia Secretary of State: Business Search

Hawaii LLC name search

Hawaii Business Registration Division: Search for Businesses

Idaho LLC name search

Idaho Secretary of State: Business Search

Illinois LLC name search

Illinois Secretary of State: Corporation & LLC Search

Indiana LLC name search

Indiana Secretary of State: Business Search

Iowa LLC name search

Iowa Secretary of State: Business Entities Search

Kansas LLC name search

Kansas Secretary of State: Business Entity Search Station (BESS)

Kentucky LLC name search

Kentucky Secretary of State: FastTrack Business Organization Search

Louisiana LLC name search

Louisiana Secretary of State: Business Filings Search

Maine LLC name search

Maine Secretary of State: Corporate Name Search

Maryland LLC name search

Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation: Business Entity Search

Massachusetts LLC name search

Massachusetts Corporations Division: Business Entity Search

Michigan LLC name search

Michigan Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs: Business Entity Search

Minnesota LLC name search

Minnesota Secretary of State: Search Business Filings

Mississippi LLC name search

Mississippi Secretary of State: Business Name Search

Missouri LLC name search

Missouri Secretary of State: Business Entity Search

Montana LLC name search

Montana Secretary of State: Business Search

Nebraska LLC name search

Nebraska Secretary of State: Corporate & Business Search

Nevada LLC name search

Nevada Secretary of State: Business Search

New Hampshire LLC name search

New Hampshire Secretary of State: Business Search

New Jersey LLC name search

New Jersey Division of Revenue: Business Entity Name Search

New Mexico LLC name search

New Mexico Secretary of State: Business Search

New York LLC name search

New York Division of Corporations: Corporation & Business Entity Database

North Carolina LLC name search

North Carolina Secretary of State: Business Search

North Dakota LLC name search

North Dakota Secretary of State: Business Search

Ohio LLC name search

Ohio Secretary of State: Business Name Search

Oklahoma LLC name search

Oklahoma Secretary of State: Business Entities Search

Oregon LLC name search

Oregon Secretary of State: Business Name Search

Pennsylvania LLC name search

Pennsylvania Department of State: Business Entity Search

Rhode Island LLC name search

Rhode Island Secretary of State: Search for an Entity

South Carolina LLC name search

South Carolina Secretary of State: Business Name Search

South Dakota LLC name search

South Dakota Secretary of State: Business Information Search

Tennessee LLC name search

Tennessee Secretary of State: Business Information Search

Texas LLC name search

Texas Comptroller: Taxable Entity Search

Utah LLC name search

Utah Secretary of State: Business Name Search

Vermont LLC name search

Vermont Secretary of State: Business Search

Virginia LLC name search

Virginia State Corporation Commission: Business Entity Search

Washington State LLC name search

Washington Corporations & Charities Filing System: Advanced Business Search

Washington D.C. LLC name search

Washington D.C. Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs: Business Filings Search
(you need to create a CorpOnline account)

West Virginia LLC name search

West Virginia Secretary of State: Business Entity Search

Wisconsin LLC name search

Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions: Search Corporate records

Wyoming LLC name search

Wyoming Secretary of State: Search for Business Names

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, 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! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.
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