A unique business name is important for branding, but it’s easy to get lost in all the Maine business name rules.
This page will teach you how to look up your LLC name and make sure it’s available to use.
Maine LLC name
If you file your Maine LLC paperwork with a name that is already used by another Maine business entity – or that doesn’t meet the Maine 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 Corporate Name 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 Maine Secretary of State’s rules, which we’ve broken down below.
How do I search the Maine business entity name database?
You can use the business entity search to search your business name against the existing business entities registered in Maine.
Note: This tool is sometimes called the Maine Corporate Name Search, Maine Business Name Search or the Maine Business Entity Search. They all refer to the same website and get you the same search records.
Visit the Maine Corporate Name Search page:
Maine Secretary of State: Corporate Name Search
It’s simple: enter your desired LLC name in the search bar. The Maine Corporate Name Search tool uses a keyword search to compare your name to others in the state.
Note: You may have to complete a captcha or other challenge.
- 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.
Tip: It’s best to enter only the main part of your desired Maine 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.
How to interpret the Maine 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.
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 Maine 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.
Maine Secretary of State Contact Information
You can call the Maine Secretary of State to ask questions about whether your LLC name is available.
Representatives at the Maine Secretary of State can help you use the Maine Business Name Search. They can’t guarantee that your LLC name will be available when you file, however.
The Bureau of Corporations phone number is 207-624-7736. Their hours are 10am to 5pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
Maine Limited Liability Company Name Requirements
As per Section 1508 of the Maine LLC Act, there are a few rules and requirements for naming a Maine 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 Wintergreen Trees LLC, you can file it as:
- Wintergreen Trees LLC
- Wintergreen Trees, LLC
Or, instead of having “LLC” as your designator (ending), there are a few other options in Maine.
What designators (endings) can I use in my LLC name?
Your Maine LLC name must contain one of the following designators at the end:
- Limited Liability Co.
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Company
- Limited Co.
- Ltd. Liability Co.
- Ltd. Liability Company
Note: Most people choose “LLC”.
The following designators are not allowed
Your Maine LLC can’t make itself sound like a Maine 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 Maine LLC name?
Your Maine 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 Maine business name must be distinguishable (unique)
When you use the Maine Secretary of State Corporate Name 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.
Differences in designators (endings) don’t create distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name is Honey Bee Management LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found in the Maine Business Name Search results:
- Honey Bee Management, Inc.
- Honey Bee Management, Corp.
- Honey Bee Management, L.L.C.
Adding non-meaningful or filler words (the, a, an, and, &) won’t create distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name is Blueberry Farms LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- The Blueberry Farms LLC
- A Blueberry Farm Inc.
- Blueberry and Farms L.L.C.
- Blueberry & Farms Corp
Punctuation and Special Characters
Adding punctuation and special characters won’t create distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name is Shiny Nail Salon LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- *** Shiny Nail Salon Inc.
- Shiny-Nail-Salon LC
- $hiny Nail $alon L.L.C.
- “Shiny” Nail Salon Inc.
- Shiny Salon LLC
Differences in capitalization don’t create distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name is Blueberry Pie Bakery LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- Blueberry PIE Bakery Inc.
- blueberry pie BAKERY LP
- BLueBErrY Pie BAkeRY 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 Maine business name is rejected?
If you file your Maine Certificate of Formation (the document that creates your Maine 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.
Maine Business Name FAQs
Do I need a name reservation in Maine?
No, a name reservation isn’t required to form an LLC in Maine. It’s an unnecessary step and a waste of money.
You can just file your LLC’s Certificate of Formation with your desired LLC name.
Does Maine require LLC in the name?
Yes. Your Maine LLC name must contain one of the allowable designators at the end. The most commonly used designators are:
- Limited Liability Company
- Ltd. Liability Co.
Does my Maine LLC need a DBA?
No, you’re not required to file a DBA (“Doing Business As”) for your business entity in Maine.
A DBA (known as an Assumed Name in Maine) lets your LLC conduct business under a name which is different from its true and legal name (the name on your Certificate of Formation).
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 Registration of Assumed Name and pay an additional fee of $125 to the Secretary of State. Check out the Secretary of State Trade Name Protection Guide for more information on this process.
If you are going to file an Assumed Name for your Maine LLC, it must also be distinguishable from existing business names in the state.
There is no limit to the number of Assumed 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 Acadia Trail Tours LLC, but you also want to use a friendlier, catchy name, like Acadia Tours. In this case, your LLC would need to file a Registration of Assumed Name to use the name Acadia Tours.
If you don’t file a Registration of Assumed Name for a different name, you can only use your legal entity name of Acadia Trail Tours LLC.
Similarly, if you want to do business under the name Acadia Trail Tours, just without the letters “LLC” in the name, you will need to file an Assumed Name for Acadia Trail Tours.
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 Chickadee Landscapers LLC. But there is already a business in another town called Chickadee Landscapers, Inc. Because your desired LLC name is the same as that existing Maine 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 Maine 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 Maine entity?
No. You can’t use the same name as another Maine 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 Maine Secretary of State website.
But if a business 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 Maine.
How to start an LLC in Maine?
Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Maine:
- Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
- Choose who will be your Maine Registered Agent
- File the Maine LLC Certificate of Formation
- 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 Maine
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.