How to Search Available LLC Names in Any State
1. Check Your State’s Naming Guidelines
Before you do a name availability search, it makes sense to check if your business name meets basic state guidelines.
Some key guidelines for LLC names in any state include:
- Your name must include “limited liability company,” “LLC,” or an abbreviation of the two. Different states allow different abbreviations.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any other business name in your state. Some states specify that this rule includes reserved names.
Keep an eye out for restricted words. These words, such as “FBI” or “Treasury,” are often restricted to keep your LLC from sounding like an official institution.
Depending on your state, you may need permission from official institutions to use professional words in your LLC name. This could include “attorney,” “doctor,” or “engineer.”
For more information, check out your state’s official state statutes.
You can also use our guides below to learn how to complete an LLC name search in your state:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
2. Complete an LLC Business Name Search
Once you know your LLC name meets your state’s guidelines, it’s time to make sure it’s available by using your state’s business entity search tool.
It is important that your name be distinguishable from all other business names. Check our state-specific guides to see how each state defines “distinguishable business names.”
Failure to use a distinguishable name could result in your formation filing being rejected.
What if my LLC name is already taken? If your LLC name is unavailable in your state, it’s time to come up with some new ideas.
How to Reserve or Register Your Business Name
Reserve Your Name
Most states allow you to reserve your LLC name before you register it. Your name reservation can last anywhere from 30 days to 12 months.
To learn how to file for a business name reservation, check out our state-specific guides.
Register Your Name
If you want to register a legal entity name for your LLC, you can do so at the time of formation filing. Each state provides a section for your desired LLC name on their formation documents.
Registering a DBA (doing business as) name is a separate process that requires filing with either your state, county, or city of business.
LLC Name Search FAQ
How do I check if an LLC name is taken?
You can check with your state regulator to see if your preferred business name is available. Most states have a searchable, online database of existing business names. Read our free state guides to find a link to your state’s search tool.
Should I name my LLC after myself?
While there’s no rule against naming an LLC after yourself, most experts advise against doing this.
One of the benefits of starting an LLC is the ability to choose a different name for your business, which can make it sound more professional.
Can two businesses have the same name?
Business name regulations and restrictions vary by state. Some states prohibit two businesses from having the same name while others don’t.
However, it’s strongly recommended that you choose a unique name for your company regardless of your state’s rules. Read our state-specific LLC naming guides to learn more about the rules in your state.
What words can’t be used in a company name?
Restricted words for business names vary by state and some states have stricter naming rules than others.
However, business names generally can’t include words that imply the company is a banking or financial institution or that it’s affiliated with a local, state, or federal government agency.
Should I use a business name generator?
If you’re having trouble choosing a name for your LLC, a business name generator can help you come up with some ideas.
What is a brand name?
A brand name is a name a company gives to a product or line of products. It can be the same as the company’s name or something different.
Do I have to include LLC in my name?
Most states require you to include “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (e.g., LLC or L.L.C.) in an LLC’s legal name.
Refer to our state LLC naming guides for information about your LLC naming rules in your state.
Do I need to renew my business name?
Rules about renewing business names and registrations vary by state.
Check out our state-specific LLC naming guides for information about your state’s LLC naming rules.
Can my business name be different from my LLC name?
Some companies choose to operate under a name that’s different from their legal name. This can either be called a business name — a “doing business as” (DBA) name — or something else, depending on the state.
Different states have different rules, but you’ll generally need to register with the state to use a name that’s different from your LLC’s official name.
Does my LLC need a DBA name?
Your LLC doesn’t need a DBA name unless it plans to do business under a name other than its legal name. Read our state guides about filing for a DBA for more information.