Nailing down a great name for your Texas 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.
Texas LLC Entity Search
The most important consideration when choosing an LLC name in Texas 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 Texas
Go to the Texas Comptroller 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 Texas.
2. Check Texas’ LLC name regulations
In Texas, your LLC name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.). In addition, your LLC name cannot have words that could confuse your Texas LLC with any government agency or other business in the state or imply that you are engaged in unlawful activity.
Your business name cannot imply that the LLC was created by or for the benefit of war veterans or their families. Therefore, the following words are prohibited: veteran, legion, foreign, Spanish, disabled, war, and world war. It also cannot include “lotto” or “lottery.”
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 Texas LLC Name Reservation
To reserve an LLC name in Texas, start by visiting the Secretary of State’s website, creating an account, and completing the online application.
You’ll need your proposed name, the business entity you plan to form, and your name and address.
Enter all the required information and your electronic signature, then move on to payment. Alternatively, you can complete and mail a paper form.
The cost to file a name reservation in Texas is $40. 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 Texas, a DBA is known as an assumed name. To register an assumed name in Texas, go to the Secretary of State’s website and download the form. Unfortunately, you cannot file online, only by mail.
You’ll mail the completed form to:
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, TX 78711-3697
The registration fee for registering a DBA in Texas varies by county but generally costs $25 for corporations and LLCs and $15 for sole proprietors and partnerships. Your assumed name is suitable for ten years.
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.