How to Search a California LLC Name in 2024

California LLC Name Search

Written by:

Carolyn Young has over 25 years of experience in business in various roles, including bank management, marketing management, and business education.

Reviewed by: Sarah Ruddle

For over 15 years, Sarah Ruddle has been a noteworthy leader in the business and nonprofit world.

California LLC Name Search

California LLC Name Search

Nailing down a great name for your California 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. 

California LLC Entity Search 

The most important consideration when choosing an LLC name in California 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 California

Go to the Business Search page on the Secretary of State 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 California.Secretary of State website’s Business Search page

2. Check California’s LLC name regulations

Your LLC must include “limited liability company” or an abbreviation (LLC or L.L.C.) and cannot have words that could confuse your California LLC with any government agency. Your business name also cannot include words like bank, insurance, or university without approval from state authorities.

3. Check Trademarks

It’s important to make sure the name has not been trademarked. Check with the US Patent and Trademark Office to ensure the name 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 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 with the state.

How to File a California LLC Name Reservation

To reserve an LLC name in California, visit the Secretary of State’s bizfile Online website. If you don’t already have an account, you will need to register to complete the online name reservation. 

Once you create an account, log in and click the Forms link on the left-hand side. Then click the Entity Name Reservation icon. Then, click File Online in the pop-up box. 


Next, move through the online application and enter the required information on each screen.


Once complete, review your submission to confirm and pay the $10 filing fee.

Once your application is processed, your LLC name will be reserved for 60 days.

If you wish to file by mail, download and submit a paper application along with the filing fee.

Doing Business As (DBA)

You may want to do business under a name other than your LLC name. For this, you’ll need to register a “doing business as,” or DBA name, which is known as a fictitious business name in California. 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.

To register a fictitious business name in California, you’ll need to contact the city, county clerk, and recorder where the principal place of business is. To find your local agency, visit the CalGold Permit Assistance website.

In Closing

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 impact the success of your business.