A unique business name is important for branding, but it’s easy to get lost in all the Missouri business name rules.
This page will teach you how to look up your LLC name and make sure it’s available to use.
Missouri LLC name
If you file your Missouri LLC paperwork with a name that is already used by another Missouri business entity – or that doesn’t meet the Missouri 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 Missouri Secretary of State’s rules, which we’ve broken down below.
How do I search the Missouri business entity name database?
You can use the business entity search to search your business name against the existing business entities registered in Missouri.
Note: This tool is sometimes called the Missouri Business Name Search or the Missouri Business Entity Search. They both refer to the same website and get you the same search records.
Visit the Missouri Business Entity Search page:
Missouri Secretary of State: Business Entity Search
It’s simple to use:
- Leave the Search dropdown menu set to “Business Name”.
- Enter your desired LLC name in the Business Name field.
- Change the “Includes names” dropdown menu to “Any Word“.
- Then click Search.
- 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 Missouri 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 Missouri 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 Missouri 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 Missouri Secretary of State to confirm that your LLC name is available.
Not all states offer this service, but the representatives in Missouri will help you use the Missouri Business Name Search to figure out whether your business name is available.
The Corporations Unit phone number is 573-751-4153. Their hours are Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm Central Time.
Missouri Limited Liability Company Name Requirements
As per Section 347.020 of the Missouri LLC Act, there are a few rules and requirements for naming a Missouri 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 Missouri.
What designators (endings) can I use in my LLC name?
Your Missouri LLC name must contain one of the following designators at the end:
- Limited Company
- Limited Liability Company
Note: Most people choose “LLC”.
The following designators are not allowed
Your Missouri LLC can’t make itself sound like a Missouri Corporation or any other business entity besides an LLC.
The following words and designators can’t be used anywhere in your LLC name:
- Limited Partnership
What words are not allowed in my Missouri LLC name?
Your Missouri 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 Missouri business name must be distinguishable (unique)
When you use the Missouri Secretary of State Business Entity 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.
General Rules Only – Call to Check!
The Missouri Secretary of State doesn’t publish their rules for what does or doesn’t make a business name distinguishable. The rules below are general guidelines that will help you make sure your name is unique.
After you read this lesson and use the Business Entity Search, you may want to call the Corporations Unit. They can check whether your name is available before you file your LLC paperwork.
Differences in designators (endings) don’t create distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name is Fiddler Ferns LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found in the Missouri Business Name Search results:
- Fiddler Ferns, Inc.
- Fiddler Ferns Corp.
- Fiddler Ferns, L.L.C.
Adding non-meaningful or filler words (the, a, an, and, &, of, or) won’t create distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name is Bluebird Farms LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- The Bluebird Farms LLC
- A Bluebird Farm Inc.
- Bluebird and Farms L.L.C.
- Of Bluebird Farms Corp
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 Bobwhite’s Crafts LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- Bobwhite Crafts LLC
- Bobwhite’s Craft Inc.
- Bobwhites Craft, L.L.C.
What if my Missouri business name is rejected?
If you file your Missouri Articles of Organization (the document that creates your Missouri 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.
Missouri Business Name FAQs
Do I need a name reservation in Missouri?
No, a name reservation isn’t required to form an LLC in Missouri. 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 Missouri require LLC in the name?
Yes. Your Missouri LLC name must contain one of the allowable designators at the end. The most commonly used designators are:
- Limited Liability Company
Does my Missouri LLC need a DBA?
No, you’re not required to file a DBA (“Doing Business As”) for your business entity in Missouri.
A DBA (known as a Fictitious Name in Missouri) 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 Fictitious Name Registration online or by mail and pay an additional fee of $7 to the Secretary of State. Check out the Secretary of State Fictitious Name Filings page for more information on this process.
If you are going to file a Fictitious Name for your Missouri LLC, it must also be distinguishable from existing business names in the state.
There is no limit to the number of Fictitious 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 Galena Scenic Tours LLC, but you also want to use a friendlier, catchy name, like Galena Tours. In this case, your LLC would need to file a Fictitious Name Registration to use the name Galena Tours.
If you don’t file a Fictitious Name Registration for a different name, you can only use your legal entity name of Galena Scenic Tours LLC.
Similarly, if you want to do business under the name Galena Scenic Tours, just without the letters “LLC” in the name, you will need to file a Fictitious Name for Galena Scenic 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 Hawthorn Landscapers LLC. But there is already a business in another town called Hawthorn Landscapers, Inc. Because your desired LLC name is the same as that existing Missouri 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 Missouri 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 Missouri entity?
No. You can’t use the same name as another Missouri 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 Missouri 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 Missouri.
How to start an LLC in Missouri?
Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Missouri:
- Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
- Choose who will be your Missouri Registered Agent
- File the Missouri 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 Missouri
Missouri LLC Act: Section 347.020
Missouri Secretary of State: Business Names FAQs
MissouriBusiness.net: How to do a Missouri Business Entity Search
Missouri Secretary of State: Entity Name Availability & Requirements
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.