Note: The Virginia State Corporation Commission has updated their business search tool since the making of this video. While the video above may not appear the same as the current tool, the way to search your Virginia LLC name is still the same.
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 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 companies, and to 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 businesses 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. Your LLC name must end with 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”. 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 LLC name must also be “distinguishable”. This means it cannot be too similar to the names of existing businesses that are found in the results during the search of the database. Before we search the database, there are a few tips we would like to share to help you choose your LLC name. Some things 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. The link below this video will take you there. If after searching, you are still unsure if your name is available, you can call the State at the phone number below this video. Let’s head over to the State’s online database. Here we are at the State’s online database (“”Check Name” Distinguishability Search”). What you’ll need to do is simply enter the beginning words of the company. Do not include “LLC” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.”, and simply hit “Check Name”. The State’s database will immediately tell you whether or not a name is distinguishable, and therefore whether or not it’s available for use. To help you while you’re doing your searches, let’s look at a few examples of names that are available. Let’s take for example 1, let’s pretend that the desired LLC name was “Richmond Pool Cleaning, LLC”. I’m going to head over to the database and I’m going to do a search just for the words “Richmond Pool Cleaning”. I’m going to copy and paste that term here, type it out (capitalization does not matter, it can be uppercase or lowercase, it’s okay), and then I’m going to click “Check Name”. Immediately the database brings me our results, and it says right here “Yes, this name is distinguishable on the records of the Commission at this time”. Since the database says it’s distinguishable, that means the name is available for use. Let’s look at example 2 . Let’s say that the desired LLC name was “Creative Consulting, LLC”. I’m going to head over to the database and search “Creative Consulting”. I’, going to go back up here in the Name Search Box and I’m going to go ahead and paste in “Creative Consulting”, click “Check Name”, and it says “Your name” here (the “Core Name” is just the way that the database does their search), and we have the same result: it says “Yes, this name is distinguishable”. Therefore, this name is available for use. Let’s look at 2 quick examples of names that are not available. Let’s say the desired LLC name was “Think Big, LLC”. Let’s head over to the database and let’s search “Think Big”. Let’s go ahead and paste in “Think Big” into the Search Box and let’s click “Check Name”. You can see that right away, it tells you that the name is not available and there’s a conflict; there’s already an existing corporation. and it tells you right here in red (the “Name is not distinguishable”). Because there is an existing corporation by the name “Think Big Incorporated”, our desired LLC name is not distinguishable, and therefore is not available for use. Let’s look at another example. Let’s say the desired LLC name was “Core, LLC”. Let’s head over to the database and let’s search “Core”. I’m going to go up here in the Search Box, paste in the word “Core”, hit “Check Name”, and you can see here that they say the name is not distinguishable because there’s an existing corporation, and it’s “C.O.R.E.”, and unfortunately, our desired LLC name is not unique enough, and therefore it’s not available for use. Again, because we found “Core” (“C-o-r-e” with periods), think our desired LLC name will not be available for use. In summary, if you have any questions about the database, or if you are unsure if your name is available, you can call the State at the phone number below and they will check the name for you. Once you find a name that is unique and distinguishable from existing businesses, you can then proceed to the next step. This now concludes the Name Research Lesson.
Search your Virginia LLC Name
There are two ways to search for an available LLC name in Virginia.
You can use the Business Entity Search to look at existing businesses registered in the state. You can also use the Name Availability Search, which will tell you whether or not your LLC name is distinguishable. We recommend using both search tools.
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.
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.