How to Search Available LLC Names in Massachusetts
1. Check Massachusetts LLC Naming Guidelines
Before you do a name availability search, it makes sense to check if your business name meets the basic state guidelines.
Some key guidelines for Massachusetts LLC names include:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or “limited company” or one of their abbreviations (LLC, L.L.C., LC, or L.C.).
- Your name cannot be the same as or deceptively similar to any existing business in Massachusetts. This 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.
For more information, check out Massachusetts’s official state statutes.
2. Complete an LLC Business Name Search
Once you know your LLC name meets Massachusetts guidelines, it’s time to make sure it’s available by using the Massachusetts Business Entity Search tool and the Massachusetts Reserved Business Name Search tool.
It is important that your name be distinguishable. In Massachusetts, this means your name cannot be the same as or deceptively similar to any existing business in the state. This includes reserved 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 Massachusetts, it’s time to come up with some new ideas.
How to Reserve or Register Your Business Name
Reserve Your Name
You can optionally reserve your LLC name in Massachusetts for up to 60 days before you officially register it. This prevents other businesses from registering your name until you have the opportunity to register it yourself.
Name reservations can be filed via hard copy with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. The filing fee is $30.
You can also renew your name reservation for an additional 30 days. The filing fee is $30.
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. Massachusetts provides a section for your desired LLC name on the Certificate of Organization.
Registering a DBA (doing business as) name, known as a business certificate in Massachusetts, is a separate process that requires filing with the city or cities where your LLC does business.
Massachusetts LLC Name Search FAQ
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Massachusetts?
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.
What words can’t be used in a Massachusetts LLC name?
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 an LLC name generator?
If you’re having trouble choosing a name for your LLC, an LLC 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?
Yes. Massachusetts requires that its LLCs use “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (e.g., LLC or L.L.C.) in their legal name.
Do I need to renew my business name in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts does not require LLCs to renew their legal name, but DBAs must be renewed every four years.
The renewal process varies by city. Check with your city clerk’s office for forms and fees.
Can my business name be different from my LLC name in Massachusetts?
Some companies choose to operate under a name that’s different from their legal name. This can either be called a “doing business as” (DBA) name or a business certificate in Massachusetts.
In Massachusetts, business certificates are filed with the city or cities where the LLC does business.
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. Learn more about Massachusetts DBAs by reading our guide to filing for a DBA and selecting Massachusetts from the dropdown menu.