Nailing down a great name for your Georgia 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.
Georgia LLC Entity Search
The most important consideration when choosing an LLC name in Georgia 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 Georgia
Go to the Georgia 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 Georgia.
2. Check Georgia’s LLC name regulations
In Georgia, your LLC name must include “limited liability company” or an abbreviation (LLC or L.L.C.) and cannot have words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency.
Additionally, your business name must be distinguishable from all other business names in the state and cannot include words like bank, insurance, or university without state approval.
3. Check Trademarks
Check with the US Patent and Trademark Office to ensure the name has not been trademarked and is thus 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 with the state.
How to File a Georgia LLC Name Reservation
To reserve an LLC name in Georgia, visit the Corporations Division website, select online services, and register for an account. Then, you’ll select “name reservation” to complete the online application.
The form requires the following information:
- Three business name choices
- Your name and address
Enter all required information, enter your electronic signature, and click continue to be taken to payment. Alternatively, you can complete and mail a paper form.
The cost to file a name reservation in Georgia is $35. Once your application is processed, your LLC name will be reserved for 30 days.
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 Georgia, a DBA is known as a trade name. To register a trade name in Georgia, you’ll visit your county’s clerk of the superior court’s website. You can find a directory of clerks here.
You’ll need the following:
- Desired trade name
- Nature of the business
- Names and addresses of company owners
- Notarized signatures of company owners
- Trade Name Application
- Payment for filing fee and publishing a notice (amounts vary by county)
Once it’s registered, you’ll follow these instructions:
“You must publish a copy of your trade name registration in your local newspaper at least once a week for two consecutive weeks. It must be published in the newspaper the sheriff’s office uses for legal advertisements. You must submit payment to the publication for the notice to appear. Keep a copy of the Publisher’s Affidavit as proof your notice was published.”
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.