New Hampshire Business Name Search (LLC lookup) – 2024 Guide

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LLC names
A unique business name is important for branding, but it’s easy to get lost in all the New Hampshire business name rules.

This page will teach you how to look up your LLC name and make sure it’s available to use.

New Hampshire LLC name

If you file your New Hampshire LLC paperwork with a name that is already used by another New Hampshire business entity – or that doesn’t meet the New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire Secretary of State’s rules, which we’ve broken down below.

How do I search the New Hampshire business entity name database?

You can use the business entity search to search your business name against the existing business entities registered in New Hampshire.

Note: This tool is sometimes called the New Hampshire Business Name Search or the New Hampshire Business Entity Search. They both refer to the same website and get you the same search records.

Visit the New Hampshire Business Search page:

New Hampshire Secretary of State: Business Entity Search

  1. Set the search type to All Words.
    • You don’t need to check the box for “Show me similar sounding business names.”
  2. Then enter your desired LLC name in the Business Name field.
  3. Complete the security check, and click Search.

Why use “All Words”? If you select “Starts With” or “Exact Match” you might miss a similar name which adds a filler word. For example, if you searched “Granite Guy” using the “Starts With” setting, you’d miss the existing business called The Granite Guy Inc. You can’t name your company “Granite Guy LLC” if The Granite Guy Inc. already exists.

Screenshot with instructions on how to use the New Hampshire Business Entity Search

Search tips:

  • 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.


How to interpret the New Hampshire 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.
Screenshot of sample results from the New Hampshire Business Entity Search
Example of New Hampshire Business Entity Search results

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 New Hampshire 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.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Contact Information

You can call the New Hampshire Secretary of State to ask questions about whether your LLC name is available.

Representatives at the New Hampshire Secretary of State can help you use the New Hampshire Business Name Search. They can’t guarantee that your LLC name will be available when you file, however.

The Corporations Division phone number is 603-271-3246. Their hours are 8am to 4:30pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

New Hampshire Limited Liability Company Name Requirements

As per Section 304-C:32 of the New Hampshire LLC Act, there are a few rules and requirements for naming a New Hampshire 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 White Birch Brewing, you can file it as:

  • White Birch Brewing LLC
  • White Birch Brewing, LLC

Or, instead of having “LLC” as your designator (ending), there are a few other options in New Hampshire.

What designators (endings) can I use in my LLC name?

Your New Hampshire LLC name must contain one of the following designators at the end:

  • LLC
  • L.L.C.
  • Limited Liability Company

The following designators are not allowed

Your New Hampshire LLC can’t make itself sound like a New Hampshire Corporation or any other business entity besides an LLC.

The following words and designators can’t be used anywhere in your LLC name:

  • Inc.
  • Corp.
  • Fnd.
  • Stak.
  • Incorporated
  • Corporation
  • Cooperative
  • Foundation
  • Stichting

What words are not allowed in my New Hampshire LLC name?

Your New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire business name must be distinguishable (unique)

When you use the New Hampshire 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.

Designators

Differences in designators (endings) don’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Ladybug Ledgers LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found in the New Hampshire Business Name Search results:

  • Ladybug Ledgers, Inc.
  • Ladybug Ledgers, Corp.
  • Ladybug Ledgers, Limited Liability Company

Filler Words

Adding non-meaningful or filler words (the, a, an, and, &) won’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Pumpkin Farms LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • The Pumpkin Farms LLC
  • A Pumpkin Farm Inc.
  • Pumpkin and Farms L.L.C.

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 Jenni’s Decoration LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • Jenni’s Decorations LLC
  • Jenni Decoration, Inc.
  • Jenni Decorations Corp

Numerals or Spelled Out Numbers

Using numerals (like 5 or 101) instead of spelling out the number (like “five” or “one hundred and one”) doesn’t create distinguishability. You also can’t replace a number with the equivalent Roman numeral (“II” instead of 2) to create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is 12 Stairs LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • Twelve Stairs Inc.
  • XII Stairs Corp.

Phonetic Spelling of the same name or word

Using a different spelling (a phonetic spelling) of the same name or word doesn’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Boys Baskets LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • Boyz Basketz LLC
  • Boiz Baskets Corp.
  • Boys Bassketts Ltd. Co.

Abbreviation vs Complete Name or Word

Using an abbreviation instead of a complete word (or vice versa) doesn’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is New Hampshire Mountain Bros. LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • NH Mt Bros., L.C.
  • NH Mountain Brothers, Ltd. Liability Co.
  • New Hampshire Mt Bros. Inc.

Business Search Tips for Abbreviations

If you want to use an abbreviation, or a word that has a commonly-used abbreviation, make sure you search for the abbreviation and the complete word when you use the Business Entity Search to check availability.

For example: If you wanted to use the word “February” in your business name, make sure you also search for the business name using “Feb” instead. Or if you wanted to use the abbreviation “NH” for New Hampshire, make sure you also search for “New Hampshire”.

Punctuation, Symbols, Spaces

Adding or removing punctuation, symbols and spaces doesn’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Pinklady Shoestore LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • Pinklady-Shoe-Store Inc.
  • Pinklady/Shoestore, LLC
  • Pink Lady Shoe Store, L.L.C.

Exception: Symbols that Change Meaning

The New Hampshire Secretary of State says the addition of symbols might create distinguishability if the added symbols changes the meaning of the word. Whether a symbol changes the meaning of the word is up to the individual LLC examiner that looks at your paperwork.

For example: Big Car Sales Inc. might be distinguishable from Big $$ Car Sales LLC because the added dollar signs make the name “Big Money Car Sales” instead.

Suffixes, Derivations or Deviations

Using the same word, just with a suffix or a different derivation, doesn’t create distinguishability. This rule can be tricky, because sometimes a different version of a word has a different meaning and would be distinguishable. Really, it all depends on the opinion of the LLC examiner who reviews your paperwork.

If your desired LLC name is Blackberry Creations LLC, it might not be available to use if any of the following are found:

  • Blackberry Creatives LLC
  • Blackberry Creates Inc.
  • Blackberry Creativity, Ltd. Co.

Exception: Antonyms / Opposites

If you add a prefix or suffix that makes a word into its opposite (aka an antonym), this change would create distinguishability.

Let’s say your desired LLC name is Disagreeable Donkey LLC. That name is still available to use even if there’s already a company named Agreeable Donkey Inc., because disagreeable and agreeable are opposites.

What if my New Hampshire business name is rejected?

If you file your New Hampshire Certificate of Formation (the document that creates your New Hampshire 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.

New Hampshire Business Name FAQs

Do I need a name reservation in New Hampshire?

No, a name reservation isn’t required to form an LLC in New Hampshire. 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 New Hampshire require LLC in the name?

Yes. Your New Hampshire LLC name must contain one of the allowable designators at the end. The most commonly used designator is “LLC”.

Does my New Hampshire LLC need a DBA?

No, you’re not required to file a DBA (“Doing Business As”) for your business entity in New Hampshire.

A DBA (known as a Trade Name in New Hampshire) 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 Trade Name Registration online or by mail and pay an additional fee of $50 to the Secretary of State. Check out the Secretary of State Trade Name Guide for more information on this process.

If you are going to file a Trade Name for your New Hampshire LLC, it must also be distinguishable from existing business names in the state.

There is no limit to the number of Trade 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 Live Free Forest Tours LLC, but you also want to use a friendlier, catchy name, like Live Free Tours. In this case, your LLC would need to file a Trade Name Registration to use the name Live Free Tours.

If you don’t file a Trade Name Registration for a different name, you can only use your legal entity name of Live Free Forest Tours LLC.

Similarly, if you want to do business under the name Live Free Forest Tours, just without the letters “LLC” in the name, you will need to file a Trade Name for Live Free Forest 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:

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 LFOD Landscapers LLC. But there is already a business in another town called LFOD Landscapers, Inc. Because your desired LLC name is the same as that existing New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire 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:

  1. First, write down the features of your company and things that you want to be associated with.
  2. 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.
  3. Now go back and read through them. Write down any variations that come to mind.
  4. 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.
  5. Read the whole list out loud. If you want, get input from friends, business partners, and family.
  6. Repeat the process: sleep on the ideas, write down new variations, read them out loud again.
  7. 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.

For more tips, please see How to Choose an LLC Name.

Can I use the name of another New Hampshire entity?

No. You can’t use the same name as another New Hampshire 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 “inactive” status on the New Hampshire 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.

Learn more about New Hampshire Business Statuses.

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 New Hampshire.

How to start an LLC in New Hampshire?

Here are the steps to starting an LLC in New Hampshire:

  1. Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
  2. Choose who will be your New Hampshire Registered Agent
  3. File the New Hampshire LLC Certificate of Formation
  4. Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS
  6. Open an LLC bank account
  7. Check whether you need a business or sales tax license in New Hampshire

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz is the leading expert on LLC education, and has been teaching for 15 years. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
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.

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6 comments on “New Hampshire Name Search”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. Hi!

    Great information. I was approved for my LLC and given a EIN. In the state of NH Doss my LLC and need to be my store name? If it does, can it be an abbreviation in my store name?

    Thank you,
    Jessica

    • Thank you Jessica. When you say “in my store name”, what exactly do you mean? If you want your LLC to do business under a name other that’s its true, legal name, you’ll want to look into filing a Trade Name for your LLC. Hope that helps.

      • Wow, how illiterate did I look!? I was writing my question at the gym in the middle of sets. Let’s me start again.

        I have my LLC and EIN number. I sell on-line on different platforms. Does my online stores names on each of these platforms have to have my LLC name in the title in order to write off cost of good and such at the end of the year?

        Jessica

        • All good. Gotta get that work out in ;) Registering a Trade Name doesn’t impact your ability to deduct business expenses, Jessica. It’s about having the names your LLC operates under properly registered. Hope that helps.

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