Texas Name Search

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Texas LLC Name Search

Quick Start Guide
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Texas.

Detailed Lessons:
1. Name Search ← you are here
2. Registered Agent
3. Filing Forms
4. Operating Agreement
5. Tax ID Number (EIN)

Texas LLC Costs:
Texas LLC filing fee: $300

Need help?
Hire a reliable service to form your Texas LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

There are 3 options for searching your desired LLC name.

1. Call the State

Call the State Business Information Line at 512-463-5555 and tell them:
“I am forming an LLC and I’d like to check to see if my name is available.”

*Tip: we recommend having 1-2 alternative names ready in case your desired LLC name is not available for use (this will save you from making multiple phone calls).

To avoid long waiting times, it’s best to call between 8:00am – 8:45am or between 4:30pm – 5:00pm CST.

2. Send an Email

Fastest option is to click this link which generates a ready-to-send email.

Or you can manually send an email and use this template: TX LLC Name Search Template Email

Either way, they respond promptly as the email address is checked frequently.

3. Search the State’s Online Database

Click this link to visit the database → https://mycpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/Index.html

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your LLC in Texas:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

The following video will show you how to properly search the database:


Video Transcript:

The following information is provided for educational purposes only and in no way constitutes legal, tax, or financial advice. For legal, tax, or financial advice specific to your business needs, we encourage you to consult with a licensed attorney and/or CPA in your state. The following information is copyright protected. No part of this lesson may be redistributed, copied, modified or adapted without prior written consent of the author. In this video, we are going to teach you how to research and choose your desired LLC name. The purpose of this video is to help you: avoid infringing upon someone else’s name rights, to help you differentiate your business name from existing entities, and make sure your desired LLC name is available for use. In order to make sure your desired LLC name is available for use, you will need to search it against the existing organized entities on the State’s online database. We will first walk you through some requirements and restrictions and then later we will show you how to perform your search name requirements. Your LLC name must end with the words “Limited Liability Company”, or the abbreviations “L.L.C.” or “LLC”. Using the abbreviation “LLC” is the most common. For example, Joe wants to start a company by the name “Joe’s Landscaping Services”. Since he is forming an LLC, he must file under the name “Joe’s Landscaping Services, LLC”. Again, using the abbreviation “LLC” (or the full word “Limited Liability Company”) is a requirement when forming an LLC. Name restrictions. Your LLC name cannot imply that it is a corporation. You are not allowed to use the words “Corporation” or “Incorporated”, or the abbreviations “Corp.” or “Inc.” anywhere in your LLC name. Let’s look at our example again. Since Joe wants to form an LLC, he cannot call his company “Joe’s Landscaping Services, Inc., LLC” or “Joe’s Landscaping Services Incorporated, LLC”. Your desired LLC name must also be “distinguishable”. This means it cannot be too similar to the names of existing organized entities that are found in the results during the search of the database. We will now illustrate several examples of distinguishability, and we will provide examples you may see while performing your search. Differences in designators, which are the identifiers at the end of a business name. do not create distinguishability. Examples of designators would be “Inc.” or “Corp.” (for Corporations) and “LLC” or “L.L.C” (for Limited Liability Companies). There are other designators as well, but these are the most commonly used. For example, your desired LLC name is “Smith Investments, LLC”, but during the search of the database let’s say you found the business under the name “Smith Investments, Inc.” In this example, your desired LLC name would not be available for use. You would have to think of an alternative name that is unique and different. An example would be “Smith Financial Group, LLC”. Grammatical differences. The following do not create distinguishability: differences and variables in singular, plural, possessive forms of a word. For example, your desired LLC name is “Apple Farm, LLC”. Let’s just say during the search you found the business under the name “Apple Farms, LLC”, or let’s say you also found a business under “Apple’s Farm, LLC” (with an apostrophe s). Both of these names, although slightly different, are too similar and therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An example of an alternative name would be “Apple Orchard, LLC”. The following do not create distinguishability: differences in articles such as “A”, “An”, or “The”. For example, your desired LLC name is “Print Shop, LLC”. Let’s just say that during the search the database you found a business called the “The Print Shop, LLC”, or you found a business called “A Print Shop, LLC”. Again, although they seem different, these names are all the same in the eyes of the State, and therefore your desire LLC name would not be available for use. An alternative name would be “Printing Solutions, LLC”. The following also do not create distinguishability: the use of conjunctions such as “And”, “Or”, and the ampersand symbol. Let’s say your desired LLC name is “Night & Day, LLC” with the ampersand symbol. But during your search, you find a “Night and Day, LLC”, or you found a “Night Day LLC”. Again, both of these examples are too similar, and your desired LLC name is not distinguishable and therefore not available for use. An example of an alternative name will be “Moon and Sunshine, LLC”. The following also do not create distinguishability: the use of certain punctuation such as hyphens, slashes, periods, commas, etcetera. Let’s say your desired LLC name is “Peter Paul & Mary Studios, LLC”, but during your search you found “Peter-Paul-Mary Studios, Incorporated”, or you found a “Peter, Paul, and Mary Studios, Incorporated”. Again, both of these examples are too similar, and therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An alternative example would be “PPM Productions, LLC”. Alphanumeric: differences in numerical, or written numbers does not create distinguishability. For example, let’s say your desired LLC name is “Three Teachers Consulting, LLC” (with a number “three” spelled out), but during your search of the database you found a company called “3 Teachers Consulting, LLC” (with the number “3”). Again, these are deceptively similar; the State does not look at these as any different and therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An alternative example would be “A Few Good Teachers Consulting, LLC”. Deceptively similar names that are too similar to existing organized entities also do not create distinguishability. For example, your desired LLC name is “Speedy Delivery Services, LLC”, but during your search let’s say you find “Speed Delivery Services, LLC”, or you find a “Super Speedy Delivery Services, LLC”. Again, these names are too similar. Therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An example of an alternative name would be “At Your Door Quick, LLC”. Takeaways: as you can see, just filing the paperwork with your desired LLC name is not as straightforward as you may have originally thought. The most important takeaways from showing you all these examples are as follows: it’s important to make sure your name is truly unique and not too similar to the names of existing organized entities; if your desired LLC name is unavailable for use, either by its exact match already being used, or by it being too similar to an existing name, we recommend using some creativity and coming up with a variation of your original LLC name, so that the name is now unique and is “distinguishable”, and stands apart from other businesses. Some additional tips to think of when creating your LLC name are: Make your LLC name easy to spell. You want to make sure people can find you when they’re looking for you. Make your LLC name short. Shorter names are easier for people to remember. Make your LLC name have a positive connotation. Leave people with a good feeling when they hear about your business. You are now ready to search your desired LLC name against the State’s online database. We showed you a number of examples where the desired LLC names were not available for use, but don’t worry. In the next part of this video, we will provide plenty of examples of names that are available for use, so that you can best understand the database and the results that you see. Let’s head over to the State’s online database. The link below this video will take you there. Welcome to the State’s online database. For our 1st example, let’s say your desired LLC name is “Lone Star Ranch, LLC”. Remember that during our search queries we’re not going to enter the letters “LLC”. Let’s first search “Lone Star”. Enter the words into the box and then click “Search by Name”. Anytime you see “Search will return any number of entries” it means the search is too broad, and we need to be a little bit more specific. In this case, I’m going to go ahead and click on “Return to Taxable Entity Search”, and this time let’s enter “Lone Star Ranch”. ‘m going to go ahead and copy that, and then paste it in the box, and let’s hit “Search by Name”. Although you want to go with the name “Lone Star Ranch, LLC”, there’s an existing corporation under that same name, and in this example, your LLC name would not be available for use. Let’s look at another example. There’s a quick link up here called “Taxable Entity Search” which is going to take me right back to the search page. For this example, let’s say your desired LLC name is “Temptations Interior Design, LLC”. Let’s first search the word “Temptations”, I’m going to copy and paste that word here, and hit “Search by Name”. Again, the reason that I’m just typing in the word “Temptations” is I want to see as many businesses as possible to make sure that my name is truly unique. As you can see the list (about halfway down), there’s an existing business by the name of “Temptations Interior Design Gallery”, and although my desired LLC name was “Temptations Interior Design, LLC”, these 2 names are too similar. and we recommend going with an alternative. Let’s look at another example. For this example, let’s say your desired LLC name is “Bob’s Auto Detailing, LLC”. Because the 1st word of the business is unique with the apostrophe “s”, we want to search in multiple forms. Let’s just first search the word “Bobs”. I’m going to enter that into the search box and hit “Search by Name”. As we can see in the list of existing businesses, there’s nothing similar or identical to “Bob’s Auto Detailing. So far so good. Let’s refine our search, as we want to search in multiple different forms. Let’s go just search the word “Bob”. Remember, anytime you see “Search will return X number of entries”, we have to go back and refine our search. So let’s just try “Bob Auto” and see if there’s anything under that name. In this example, it says “Business Name Bob Auto was not found”. Again, that’s a good sign; it means there’s no businesses that start with the words “Bob Auto”. Let’s go back and search again another way. This time, let’s search “Bob apostrophe s”. I’m going to copy and paste that into the search box and hit “Search by Name”. Again, too many entries; you’re going to find this quite often when doing your search. Let’s just go back and refine it a little bit. In this case, let’s do “Bob’s Auto”. All right, as we can see, this search yielded some different results from some of the earlier searches. we have “Bob’s Auto Glass”, “Auto Repair”, “Auto Sales”, “Salvage”, “Truck”, “Automotive”, and “Autoworks”. Since our desired LLC name is “Bob’s Auto Detailing”, we now have thoroughly searched the database and we know that there are no existing names that are either identical or too similar. In this case, your desired LLC name of “Bob’s Auto Detailing, LLC” would be available for use. The reason you want to search all forms of grammar is that the Texas database is not that intelligent, and you want to make sure to search all different forms. Again, most importantly, to make sure that your name is unique. Let’s look at a few more examples. Let’s say that our desired LLC name is “Big Tease Hair Salon, LLC”. I’m going to copy the words “Big Tease” and search those. Here we have “Business Name Big Teas was not found”. In this example, we know there are no businesses in the state of Texas that start with the terminology “Big Tease”. In this example, the desired LLC name “Big Tease Hair Salon, LLC” will be available for use. Let’s look at 1 final example. Let’s say your desired LLC name was “Chocolate Cupcake Factory, LLC”. For this example, let’s just search the word “Chocolate”. The reason that we’re searching only the 1st word of this business, is we want to well as many search results as possible in order to make sure that our business name is truly unique and distinguishable from the existing organized entities. Just make sure that if you do the search and you end up with this message that says “Search returned hundreds or thousands of entries”, we need to refine it a little bit, and in that case we would search “Chocolate Cupcake”. However, let’s just search “Chocolate” and see what we come up with. I’m going to enter the words “Chocolate” and hit “Search by Name”. So here we can see we have 114 matches that were found. Let’s scroll through this list, and as you can see it’s in alphabetical order, and let’s see if there’s anything similar to our desired LLC name. I’m going to go down to the C’s (Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Cat, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip). So far, I don’t see anything with the words “Chocolate Cupcake”, and in this example, the desired LLC name of “Chocolate Cupcake Factory, LLC” is available for use. The main takeaway of this portion of the lesson, is that the Texas database is finicky, and is not the most intelligent and intuitive. You want to search your desired business name as many ways as possible to yield the most search results, in order to make sure that your name is unique and distinguishable from the names of existing organized entities. Once you find the name that is unique and distinguishable (therefore not too similar to any existing businesses), you can then proceed to the next Lesson. And this concludes the Name Research portion.

When Searching the Online Database…

1. Don’t Enter the Suffix

Don’t enter “LLC” or “L.L.C.” at the end of your name.

2. Search All Forms & Variations

Search all forms of the word, including singular and plural.

If your desired LLC name is “Lone Star Contractor, LLC”, then you will want to do three separate searches for “lone star contract”, “lone star contractors” and “lone star contracting”.

The purpose of this is to “flesh out” as many possible results in order to ensure that your name is unique and that there is not already an existing LLC name that is too similar to yours.

3. Enter First 1-2 Words

Only enter the first 1-2 words of your name.

If your desired LLC name is “Chocolate Cupcake Factory, LLC” then you will want to search “chocolate cupcake”.

If you search the entire name of “chocolate cupcake factory”, you will not see in your search results that there is already a company called “Chocolate Cupcake Factories”.

The purpose of searching with only the first 1-2 words is to view all of the businesses that start with “chocolate cupcake”.

This will also ensure that your name is distinguishable and that there is not already an existing LLC name that is too similar to yours.

Having Problems?

If you are having technical difficulties with the online search, or you are still not sure if your desired LLC name is available for use, you can call the Texas Business Information Line at 512-463-5555.

Next Step

After you’ve found an available LLC name, you can then proceed to the next lesson: LLC Filing Forms.

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Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator at LLC University
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! We teach people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your entrepreneurial journey.

8 Comments

  1. Douglas and Sousanne Miller March 19, 2018

    We want to reserve the names:
    Asante Design
    Asante Industries

    We were told recently that they are available. I cannot find where I can reserve these names. We were told it would cost about 49.00 each. Please send link to where I can pay to reserve. Thank you.

    Sousanne Miller

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz March 27, 2018

      Hi Sousanne, you’ll want to file Form 501 (“Application for Reservation or Renewal of Reservation of an Entity Name“). The filing fee is $40 per name. However, before sending this form in, I strongly recommend calling the Texas Corporation Section at 512-463-5555 and asking them to do a preliminary LLC name check for clearance. Call shortly after 8am (if you can) to avoid longer hold times. Texas has very strict rules regarding LLC name distinguishability. If you’re ready to form your Texas LLC right away, you don’t have to file a Name Reservation ahead of time. You can just go ahead and file Form 205 (“Certificate of Formation“). However, if you’re not ready to form your LLC just yet, then of course you can reserve the names for use at a later date. Your LLC Name Reservation will be good for 120 days. Hope that helps!

      reply
  2. Spencer July 13, 2018

    We are ready to file for an LLC named ‘Petrodecks’ operating in the oil and gas industry but there is another entity named ‘Petrodex USA’ that manufactures dental products for animals/pets. What is your opinion on the distinguishability of these names? Thank you.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz August 12, 2018

      Hi Spencer, Texas has recently adjusted their name distinguishability laws this year (making them more relaxed), so the best thing to do is call the Texas Corporations Section and ask them. They run searches by phone and will let you know. Hope that helps.

      reply
  3. Stuart October 20, 2018

    Hi Matt,
    If there is an existing entity, as an example, in the database as “Blue Frogs, Inc.”, is at allowable for me to get the name “Blue Frogs, LLC” or “Blue Frog Interests, LLC”?

    Thanks in advance.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz November 22, 2018

      Hi Stuart, “Blue Frogs, LLC” is not distinguishable. “Blue Frogs Interests, LLC” likely is, however, we recommend calling the Texas Corporations Section to double-check. The state also loosened some of their name distinguishability rules earlier in 2018. Hope that helps.

      reply
  4. Susan December 1, 2018

    Just wanted to say thank you for your informative video. Super helpful!

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz December 5, 2018

      Hey Susan, thank you so much for the kind words! People usually don’t realize that the LLC naming process is the first big step towards a hassle-free registration of their LLC. Thanks again :)

      reply

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