A unique business name is important for branding, but it’s easy to get lost in all the Vermont business name rules.
This page will teach you how to look up your LLC name and make sure it’s available to use.
Vermont LLC name
If you file your Vermont LLC paperwork with a name that is already used by another Vermont business entity – or that doesn’t meet the Vermont 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 Vermont Secretary of State’s rules, which we’ve broken down below.
How do I search the Vermont business entity name database?
You can use the business entity search to search your business name against the existing business entities registered in Vermont.
Note: This tool is sometimes called the Vermont Business Name Search or the Vermont Business Entity Search. They both refer to the same website and get you the same search records.
Visit the Vermont Business Search page:
Vermont Secretary of State: Business Entity Search
It’s simple to use:
- Choose Contains for the search type.
- Don’t click “Show me similar sounding business names” – that tool doesn’t work very well.
- Leave the search criteria set to Business Name.
- Enter your desired LLC name in the search bar.
- Click Search at the bottom of the page.
You can skip the Advanced Search section.
Why use “Contains”? If you select “Starts With” you might miss a similar name which adds a filler word. For example, if you searched “GumGum Guy” using the “Starts With” setting, you’d miss the existing business called The GumGum Guy Inc. You can’t name your company “GumGum Guy LLC” if The GumGum Guy Inc. already exists.
- 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 Vermont 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 Vermont 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 Vermont 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.
Vermont Secretary of State Contact Information
You can call the Vermont Secretary of State to ask questions about whether your LLC name is available.
Representatives at the Vermont Secretary of State can help you use the Vermont Business Name Search. They can’t guarantee that your LLC name will be available when you file, however.
The Business Services Division phone number is 802-828-2386. Their hours are 7:45am to 4:30pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
Vermont Limited Liability Company Name Requirements
As per Section 11-4005 of the Vermont LLC Act, there are a few rules and requirements for naming a Vermont 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 Vermont.
What designators (endings) can I use in my LLC name?
Your Vermont LLC name must contain one of the following designators at the end:
- Limited Liability Co.
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Company
- Limited Co.
- Ltd. Liability Co.
- Ltd. Liability Company
Note: Most people choose “LLC”.
The following designators are not allowed
Your Vermont LLC can’t make itself sound like a Vermont Corporation or any other business entity besides an LLC.
The following words and designators can’t be used anywhere in your LLC name:
What words are not allowed in my Vermont LLC name?
Your Vermont 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 Vermont business entity, please see this page: Vermont Secretary of State Business Name Rules.
Your Vermont business name must be distinguishable (unique)
When you search the Vermont Secretary of State Business Entity Database, 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 Morgan Horses LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found in the Vermont Business Name Search results:
- Morgan Horses, Inc.
- Morgan Horses, Corp.
- Morgan Horses, Limited Liability Co.
Adding non-meaningful or filler words (the, and, of) won’t create distinguishability.
In Vermont, “filler words” means articles, prepositions, conjunctions, and special characters that mean those words. That includes:
If your desired LLC name is Pleasant Farms LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- The Pleasant Farms LLC
- A Pleasant Farm Inc.
- Pleasant and Farms L.L.C.
- Pleasant & 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 Red’s Clovers LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- Reds Clover LLC
- Red’s Clover Inc.
- Reds Clover, L.L.C.
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.
If your desired LLC name is 25 Stars LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- Twenty-Five Stars LLC
- Twenty 5 Stars Inc.
Punctuation, Symbols, Spaces
Adding or removing punctuation, symbols and spaces doesn’t create distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name is Honeybee Soapstore LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- Honeybee-Soap-Store Inc.
- Honeybee/Soapstore, Limited Liability Co.
- Honey Bee Soap Store, L.L.C.
There’s also a rule in Idaho that adding Internet suffixes doesn’t make business names distinguishable.
An internet suffix is any website ending, like “.com” or “.edu”.
For example: “Paddleboat LLC” can’t be used if there is already a company called “Paddleboat.com Inc.”
The Word “Vermont”
Adding the word “Vermont” (or the abbreviations VT or Vt.) won’t create distinguishability. The same rule applies to “Green Mountain” or “Green Mtn.”
If your desired LLC name is Vt. Spa Time LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- Spa Time Corp.
- Vermont Spa Time Inc.
- Green Mountain Spa Time LLC
The Same Word, Written Differently
Vermont is pretty strict about what makes similar names distinguishable. In other states, a different spelling might be enough to make the name distinguishable. But not in Vermont.
The following changes don’t create distinguishability: contractions, conjugations, and alternate spellings.
A unique spelling, or a different spelling where the words are still pronounced the same, doesn’t create distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name is Tom’s Timber, LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- Thom’s Timber, Inc.
- Tom’s Timbre, LLC
- T0m’s T1mber Corp.
Variations of the same word
A variation of a word, which removes or adds letters to the same root word, doesn’t create distinguishability.
If your desired LLC name is A1 Fishing LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- A1 Fishin’ Inc.
- A1 Fished LLC
- A1 Fishers Inc.
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 York Pizza Bros. LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:
- NY Pizza Bros, L.C.
- NY Pizza Brothers, Ltd. Liability Co.
- New York Pizza Brothers 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 “GA” for Georgia, make sure you also search for “Georgia”.
Homographs vs Homophones
Using homographs (words that are spelled the same but have different meanings) doesn’t create distinguishability. But homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings and different spellings) can create distinguishability.
This is because the business’s written name on the record is most important. However, if the LLC examiner in Georgia thinks the names are confusingly similar, your LLC name might still be rejected.
Homophones are words like berry and bury, or tail and tale. Because they have different meanings, business names using these words would be distinguishable.
- Sole Studios, LLC (a shoe design company) is distinguishable from Soul Studios, LLC (a music recording business).
- Point Break LLC (a pencil sharpener manufacturer) is distinguishable from Point Brake LLC (a car repair shop)
But homographs are words like coach (person leading a sports team) and coach (a bus). Because they look the same in writing, business names using these words won’t be distinguishable.
- Bass Pros LLC (a group of male singers) is not distinguishable from Bass Pros LLC (a fishing service).
- Bats & Things LLC (a baseball equipment company) is not distinguishable from Bats & Things LLC (a Halloween decoration store).
What if my Vermont business name is rejected?
If you file your Vermont Articles of Organization (the document that creates your Vermont 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.
Vermont Business Name FAQs
Do I need a name reservation in Vermont?
No, a name reservation isn’t required to form an LLC in Vermont. 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 Vermont require LLC in the name?
Yes. Your Vermont LLC name must contain one of the allowable designators at the end. The most commonly used designators are:
- Limited Liability Company
- Ltd. Liability Co.
Does my Vermont LLC need a DBA?
No, you’re not required to file a DBA (“Doing Business As”) for your business entity in Vermont.
A DBA (known as an Assumed Business Name in Vermont) 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 Assumed Business Name Registration online and pay an additional fee of $50 to the Secretary of State. Check out the Secretary of State Assumed Business Name guide for more information on this process.
If you are going to file an Assumed Business Name Registration for your Vermont LLC, it must also be distinguishable from existing business names in the state.
There is no limit to the number of Assumed Business 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 Sugar Maple Hiking Tours LLC, but you also want to use a friendlier, catchy name, like Maple Hiking. In this case, your LLC would need to file an Assumed Business Name Registration to use the name Maple Hiking.
If you don’t file an Assumed Business Name Registration for a different name, you can only use your legal entity name of Sugar Maple Hiking Tours LLC.
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 Turnip Landscapers LLC. But there is already a business in another town called Turnip Landscapers, Inc. Because your desired LLC name is the same as that existing Vermont 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 Vermont 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 Vermont entity?
No. You can’t use the same name as another Vermont 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.
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. Below is a full list of the statuses you’ll see on the Vermont Business Entity Search.
These statuses mean the name isn’t available:
- Expiration Pending
These statuses mean the company no longer exists and you can use the 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 Vermont.
How to start an LLC in Vermont?
Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Vermont:
- Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
- Choose who will be your Vermont Registered Agent
- File the Vermont 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 Vermont
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.