How to Conduct an LLC Name Search - How to Start my LLC

How to Conduct an 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.

How to Conduct an LLC Name Search

How to Conduct an LLC Name Search

Nailing down a great name for your LLC can be a challenge. 

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. 

Also, even if you’ve already chosen the perfect business name, you need to make sure it’s available. That takes several steps, as detailed in this handy guide.

How to Choose an LLC Name

Your business name is your business identity, and the first impression people will have of your company, so be sure to take your time with this step of the LLC formation process. 

To choose a good name, you can try a few different methods:

  • Ask people you know for suggestions
  • Use an online business name generator
  • Brainstorm some ideas and ask family and friends for their opinion

Once you’ve a handful of decent options, you can move on to the next step. 

Check Name Availability

1. Check for availability in your state

First, you’ll need to ensure the business name is available in your state. Then, go to the relevant department website, usually the Secretary of State, and enter the names you like and similar ones. Remember, you don’t want a name that can be easily confused with other businesses in your state.

To check if your desired business name is available in the state where you plan to start your company, select your state from the list below. Once you click on your state, you will find detailed instructions on how to verify name availability, ensuring that the business name you want isn’t already registered.

2. Check Your State’s LLC name regulations

In most states, your business name must include “limited liability company,” LLC, or L.L.C. Additionally, your name cannot be confused with a government entity or university. Each state has its regulations, so check with your state for requirements.

3. Check Trademarks

It’s also good to ensure the name has not been trademarked. Check with the US Patent and Trademark Office to provide the name 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 done your due diligence and know your name is available, you can reserve the name with your state using their name reservation form. 

Doing Business As (DBA)

You may want to do business under a name other than your LLC name.  This is called a “doing business as” or DBA name. To register a DBA name in your state, visit the relevant department’s website and register online. 

There are two main reasons you should 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 use multiple DBAs but only have one LLC under which all your DBAs fall.
  • When you have a DBA, you can have a business bank account under that name. So if you expand and have “JJ’s Muffins,” customers can pay “JJ’s Muffins,” and you can deposit those payments into the bank account with that name.

In Closing

Choosing a business name is challenging, but if you find one you think is perfect, you need to make sure it’s available before you fully commit. Be sure to follow all the steps – you don’t want to run into an issue later that could impact the success of your business. 

It’s not a difficult process, but it is necessary.