Nailing down a great name for your South Dakota LLC can be challenging.
You want the name to be unique and easy to remember while being legally acceptable and 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.
South Dakota LLC Entity Search
The most important consideration when choosing an LLC name in South Dakota 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 South Dakota
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 confused with other businesses in South Dakota.
2. Check South Dakota’s LLC name regulations
In South Dakota, your LLC name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.). In addition, it cannot have words that could confuse your LLC with any government agency.
Your business name also must not include words like bank, insurance, or university (or any similar names) without approval from applicable state authorities.
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 South Dakota LLC Name Reservation
To reserve an LLC name in South Dakota, start by visiting the Secretary of State’s office to download the form. Unfortunately, you cannot file your reservation online, only by mail.
You’ll mail the form to:
Secretary of State Office
500 E Capitol Ave
Pierre, SD 57501
The cost to file a name reservation in South Dakota is $25. Once your application is processed, your LLC name will be reserved for 120 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 South Dakota, a DBA is easy to register. To register a DBA in South Dakota, go to the Secretary of State’s website and click “register a DBA name.” The fee is $10.
Choosing a business name is a crucial step 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.