Tennessee Business Name Search (LLC lookup) – 2024 Guide

Home » Tennessee LLC » Tennessee Business Name Search (LLC lookup) – 2024 Guide

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

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

Tennessee LLC name

If you file your Tennessee LLC paperwork with a name that is already used by another Tennessee business entity – or that doesn’t meet the Tennessee 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 Information Search and Business Name Availability tools. 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 Tennessee Secretary of State’s rules, which we’ve broken down below.

How do I search the Tennessee business entity name database?

You can use the business information search to search your business name against the existing business entities registered in Tennessee. And once you have a good business name chosen, you can use the business name availability search to confirm that it’s likely available to use.

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

Visit the Tennessee Business Name Search pages

Colorado has two different business entity search tools for checking a potential business name: The Business Database Search and the Name Availability Search. We explain how to use both tools below.

Business Database Search

We recommend starting with this tool so you can see other businesses with similar names.

Tennessee Business Information Search

Enter your desired LLC name in the box. Click “Contains” for the search type. And click Search.

  • This database searches all business entities registered in Tennessee. It shows you all similar names.
  • Don’t enter a designator (like “LLC”) during the search.

Screenshot with instructions on how to use the Tennessee Business Entity Search

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

Name Availability Search

We recommend using this in addition to the Business Information Search to double-check that your Tennessee LLC name is unique.

Tennessee Name Availability Search

Simply enter your desired LLC name in the box and click Search.

  • If you see “no matches found”, the name is available.
  • If the name isn’t available, the system will show you the other business names that are too similar to yours.

Screenshot with instructions on how to use the Tennessee Business Name Availability Search

Search tips:

  • Leave out any commas, periods, apostrophes, etc.
  • You can search using uppercase or lowercase letters.

How to interpret the Tennessee LLC search results

If the Business Information Search 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 Tennessee Business Entity Search
Example of Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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.

Once you have a name that appears to be unique, check again using the Name Availability Search tool. If you get a message that “no matches were found”, you should be good to go!

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 Tennessee Secretary of State to confirm that your LLC name is available.

Not all states offer this service, but the representatives in Tennessee will help you use the Tennessee Business Name Search and Name Availability Search to figure out whether your business name is available.

The Business Services phone number is 615-741-2286. Their hours are Monday through Friday, from 8am to 4:30pm Central Time.

Tennessee Limited Liability Company Name Requirements

As per Section 48-207-101 of the Tennessee LLC Act, there are a few rules and requirements for naming a Tennessee 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 Tennessee.

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

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

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

The following designators are not allowed

Your Tennessee LLC can’t make itself sound like a Tennessee 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.
  • Incorporated
  • Corporation

What words are not allowed in my Tennessee LLC name?

Your Tennessee 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.

For more information about restricted words for a Tennessee business entity, please see this PDF from the Tennessee Secretary of State: Business Name Availability Guidelines.

Your Tennessee business name must be distinguishable (unique)

When you use the Tennessee Secretary of State Business Information 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 River Pearls LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found in the Tennessee Business Name Search results:

  • River Pearls, Inc.
  • River Pearls, Corp.
  • River Pearls, L.L.C.

Filler Words

Adding non-meaningful or filler words won’t create distinguishability. In Tennessee, the following words and symbols are considered “filler words”:

  • the
  • a
  • an
  • and
  • &
  • plus
  • +
  • at
  • @
  • of
  • or

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

  • The Tomato Farms LLC
  • Of Tomato Farms Inc.
  • @ Tomato Farms Incorporated
  • Tomato & Farms Corp


Differences in capitalization don’t create distinguishability.

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

  • Walking HORSES Inc.
  • walking horses LP
  • WaLKiNg HoRsEs 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.

Punctuation and Spaces

Adding punctuation or spaces won’t create distinguishability.

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

  • IrisNailSalon Inc.
  • “Iris” Nail Salon Limited Liability Co.
  • Iris-Nail-Salon Inc.
  • Iris Salon LLC

Want to watch a video tutorial instead?

The video below shows you how to search LLC names in Tennessee.

The video starts with LLC name rules in Tennessee. Then at the 7:50 minute mark, you can see LLC searches being completed.

Tennessee LLC - Name Search

What if my Tennessee business name is rejected?

If you file your Tennessee Articles of Organization (the document that creates your Tennessee 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.

Tennessee Business Name FAQs

Do I need a name reservation in Tennessee?

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

Yes. Your Tennessee LLC name must contain one of the allowable designators at the end. The most commonly used designators are:

  • LLC
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Ltd. Liability Co.
Does my Tennessee LLC need a DBA?

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

A DBA (known as an Assumed Name in Tennessee) 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 apply to register an Assumed Name online (or print the online application and mail it). You’ll also pay an additional $20 fee to the Secretary of State.

If you are going to file an Assumed Name for your Tennessee 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 Channel Catfish Boat Tours LLC, but you also want to use a friendlier, catchy name, like Catfish Tours. In this case, your LLC would need to file an Assumed Name Registration to use the name Catfish Tours.

If you don’t file an Assumed Name Registration for a different name, you can only use your legal entity name of Channel Catfish Boat Tours LLC.

Similarly, if you want to do business under the name Channel Catfish Boat Tours, just without the letters “LLC” in the name, you will need to file an Assumed Name for Channel Catfish Boat 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 Mockingbird Landscapers LLC. But there is already a business in another town called Mockingbird Landscapers, Inc. Because your desired LLC name is the same as that existing Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 a Business Name or check out TRUIC’s Business Name Generator.

Can I use the name of another Tennessee entity?

No. You can’t use the same name as another Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee.

How to start an LLC in Tennessee?

Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Tennessee:

  1. Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
  2. Choose who will be your Tennessee Registered Agent
  3. File the Tennessee LLC Articles of Organization
  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 Tennessee
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. 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.

Want our free email course?

Get simple LLC lessons sent right to your inbox.

Thanks! You're subscribed √
Your email address is already subscribed.

2 comments on “Tennessee 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. Greetings,
    I am trying to setup LLC, but its purpose is to tie to self directed IRA so that I can do some real estate investing, the custodian company saying legal zoom sets them up wrong and at the end it costs more to fix the mess, so they are advising to start fresh with CPA, do you have procedure you can share on how to setup LLC where IRA is member.


    This is all i have
    Form an IRA LLC with the professional assistance of either a seasoned tax attorney or experienced IRA LLC facilitator who specializes in setting up IRA LLC regularly, and can ensure the entity is set up to meet your specific investment needs.

    • Hi RP, IRA/LLCs are on our list, but we don’t have an information published on them yet. We recommend working with an attorney or professional who specializes in IRA/LLCs. Thanks.

Leave a comment or question

Comments are temporarily disabled.