Naming your Montana LLC
The first step to forming an LLC in Montana is to search your desired LLC name and make sure it is available for use.
Your Montana LLC name must be unique and must follow certain state requirements, as per 35-8-103 of the Montana LLC Act.
To start, you can browse existing business names on the Montana Business Search page below, but we strongly recommend reading this entire lesson first, as there are important requirements and restrictions you need to be aware of before choosing your Montana LLC name.
Montana Business Name Search page:
Tip: After you click “Search“, it may seem like nothing happens (but that’s not the case). The results load instantly and you’ll just need to scroll down to see them.
Searching LLC Names in Montana
1. Visit the Montana Business Search page. The link is above.
2. To be thorough, it’s best to only search part of your LLC name to ensure you see everything that is potentially similar. For example, if your desired Montana LLC name is “Fresh Mountain Brew LLC”, it’s best to just search “Fresh Mountain”.
Why? This way, if there is a “Fresh Mountain Brewing LLC” or “Fresh Mountain Brewery LLC”, you’ll see both of them; which is important, since they will be confusingly similar to your name and the state will likely reject your Montana LLC filing.
3. Leave out the designator “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, etc., during your searches.
4. Leave out any punctuation, like commas, periods, apostrophes, quotes, hyphens, etc.
5. The Montana business database disregards capitalization, so you can search using uppercase, lowercase, or any combination.
6. You’ll see a small drop down menu with “starts with” and “contains”. We recommend searching your name (or names) using both methods to make sure you see all businesses that could be a potential conflict.
How to determine the search results:
If a “No results found. Please check your spelling” message appears, this means your desired Montana LLC name is unique and available for use!
If the results show names that are not too similar to yours (meaning yours is distinguishable), then your desired Montana LLC name should be available for use. Please scroll down below and make sure to read our notes on distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name appears in the list exactly as you want it, your desired Montana LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.
If the results show a name that is deceptively similar to your LLC name, your desired Montana LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.
Montana LLC Name Requirements & Restrictions
Before finalizing your Montana LLC name, it’s important to understand the requirements and restrictions that are applicable in this state.
Here is a brief overview (scroll down for details on each point):
- You must use a proper designator at the end of your Montana LLC name.
- You can use a comma in your Montana LLC name before the designator, or you can leave it out.
- You cannot make it sound like your Montana LLC is a Corporation or any other type of legal entity besides an LLC.
- Your Montana LLC name cannot be confusingly similar to an existing company in the state.
- The use of certain words in your Montana LLC name either requires special approval or is prohibited.
LLC Designators (endings)
As per state law, your Montana LLC must contain one of the following designators at the end of its name:
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Company
- Ltd. Liability Company
- Ltd. Liability Co.
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Liability Co.
Example: If your desired LLC name is “Jacob’s Ladder Construction”, it must be officially filed as:
- Jacob’s Ladder Construction LLC
- Jacob’s Ladder Construction L.L.C.
- Jacob’s Ladder Construction Limited Liability Company
Tip: “LLC” is the most common designator.
Comma in Montana LLC Name
You can file your Montana LLC name with or without a comma before the designator.
Example: You can file as either:
- Jacob’s Ladder Construction LLC
- Jacob’s Ladder Construction, LLC
Both are acceptable in Montana, so pick whichever version you like best.
Your Montana LLC cannot imply that it is a Corporation, Limited Partnership, or any other type of business entity besides an LLC.
You cannot use the following Designators anywhere in your LLC name:
- Limited Partnership
- Limited Liability Partnership
Distinguishable Upon the Records
Your desired LLC name must be “distinguishable upon the records” of the Montana Secretary of State. “Distinguishable upon the records” is a fancy way of saying that your LLC name must be truly unique and not confusingly similar to an existing business registered in Montana.
The following examples show business names that are not distinguishable. Meaning, the Montana Secretary of State’s office will not allow both of these names to be in existence at the same time.
- Outback Hiking Company, LLC and Outback Hiking Company, Inc.
2. Words that don’t really change the meaning of the name:
- The Runner’s Store, LLC and The Runnerz Store, LLC
- Total Delivery, LLC and Total Deliveries, LLC
4. Punctuation marks:
- ACE Grilling Company, LLC and A.C.E. Grilling Company, LLC
- Jimbo’s Logistics, LLC and jimbo’s logistics, llc
The above are just a few examples. The Montana Secretary of State has more LLC naming tips on this page: MT Secretary of State: How do I search for a business.
Restricted and Prohibited Words
Restricted words require approval from certain institutions, like departments of banking, insurance, education, and professional organizations. Prohibited words are those that are simply not allowed. The following words (or their abbreviations) are not allowed to be used in your Montana LLC’s name.
Restricted words: Bank, Banking, Banker, Credit Union, Trust, Insurance, Mortgage, College, University, Redevelopment, and Olympic.
Unless members are forming a Professional LLC (PLLC) and are licensed by the state, you cannot use the words Attorney, Lawyer, Engineer, Engineering, Doctors, Dentists, Architect, Land Surveyor, Appraiser, etc.
Prohibited words: Federal, Government, FBI, United States of America, United States, City, Borough, Township, and County. You cannot use curse words or vulgar words. You cannot use words that imply illegal activity, or words that suggest the company is a part of local, state, or federal government, or falsely leads the public to believe the company is associated with certain public institutions.
Reminders & Tips
Do not apply for your Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) until your Montana LLC is approved.
Also, do not order business cards, letterheads, signs, marketing materials, etc., until the Montana Secretary of State approves your LLC.
Next Step: Montana Registered Agent
Once you find a Montana LLC name that is unique and distinguishable, you’re ready to select your LLC’s Registered Agent. We’ll discuss this in the next lesson: Montana Registered Agent.
And check out TRUIC’s business name generator if you need help coming up with an LLC name.
Montana Secretary of State Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the Montana Secretary of State at 406-444-3665. Their hours are Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm Mountain Time.
Montana LLC Act: 35-8-310
Montana LLC Act: 35-8-103
Montana LLC Act: 35-8-308
Montana.gov: Business Information
Montana Secretary of State: Business Services
Montana Secretary of State: Business Services FAQ
Montana Department of Commerce: Business Start-up Recommendation List