Nailing down a great name for your Alabama LLC can be challenging.
You want the name to be unique and easy to remember while conveying what your business does. You also want it to be SEO-friendly so that it can easily be found on Google. That’s a lot of boxes to check.
And even if you’ve already found the perfect business name, you need to make sure it’s available. That takes several steps, as detailed in this handy guide.
Alabama LLC Entity Search
The most important consideration when choosing an LLC name in Alabama is to make sure it’s available and legally acceptable. Here’s how to confirm you can use your preferred business name.
1. Check for availability in Alabama
Go to the Secretary of State’s website and enter your business name. You should also search for similar business names, as you don’t want a name that can be easily confused with other businesses in Alabama.
2. Check Alabama’s LLC name regulations
In Alabama, your LLC name must include “limited liability company,” or an abbreviation such as LLC or L.L.C. Also, business name cannot have words that could confuse your Alabama LLC with any government agency or include words like bank, insurance, or university without approval from state authorities.
Your business name must not be too similar to other business names in the state. It can only imply that your business does a different type of business than what is stated in your Certificate of Formation.
3. Check Trademarks
Check with the US Patent and Trademark Office to ensure the name has not been trademarked and is available nationally.
4. Check domain name availability
You’ll want to make sure the domain name is available. You can check at a site like GoDaddy.com and use .com or .org, as those give your business more credibility.
5. Google it
Do a Google search to ensure the name is not being used in the U.S. or internationally. This is particularly important if you plan to have a strong online presence for your business.
Once you’ve confirmed these, it’s a good idea to reserve the name using the state’s name reservation form.
How to file an Alabama LLC Name Reservation
Visit the Secretary of State’s Business Services website to reserve an LLC name in Alabama.
Click on the “reserve an entity name” link, then click on the “name reservation menu” link. Then, click on “name reservation.”
Review the application information, which includes details on filing fees. Then, click “Continue to application” to begin the name reservation process. Alternatively, you can complete and submit a paper form.
The cost to file a name reservation online in Alabama is $28. The fee for a mail-in application is $25. Once your application is processed, your LLC name will be reserved for one year.
Doing Business As (DBA)
You may want to do business under a name other than your LLC name. You’ll need to register a “doing business as” or DBA name. There are two main reasons you might want to use a DBA.
- Suppose you want to add new product lines. For example, if your business name is “JJ’s Waffles,” you want to expand and offer “JJ’s Muffins.” You can have multiple DBAs under the umbrella of your one LLC.
- When you have a DBA, you can have a business bank account under that name. So if you add “JJ’s Muffins,” customers can pay “JJ’s Muffins,” and you can deposit those payments into the bank account with that name.
In Alabama, a DBA is known as a trade name. To register a trade name in Alabama, go to the Secretary of State website and download the application.
Choosing a business name is crucial to entrepreneurial success, so if you’ve found a good one, don’t let somebody else get it! Instead, just take the steps detailed above to ensure it’s available and legally acceptable before nailing it down.
You don’t want to run into an issue later that could threaten the success of your business.