How to Search Available LLC Names in Montana
1. Check Montana 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 Montana 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.). The word "limited" may be abbreviated as "ltd.," and the word "company" may be abbreviated as "co.”
- Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state. This includes Montana reserved names.
- Your name cannot include identifiers (e.g., Limited Partnership, Inc., Corp.) that imply the company is anything other than an LLC
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 Montana’s official state statutes.
2. Complete an LLC Business Name Search
Once you know your LLC name meets Montana guidelines, it’s time to make sure it’s available by searching the Montana Business Search tool.
It is important that your name be distinguishable from all other business names. In Montana, a distinguishable name is one that is “sufficiently distinctive” from all other registered business names in the state.
The following differences make a name distinguishable in Montana:
- Different key words (a key word is defined as any word that isn’t an article, conjunction, preposition, or business type identifier)
- Different order of key words
- Use of geographic designations
- Phonetic similarities
- Different spellings of proper names
- Unique or improper spellings
The following differences do NOT make a name distinguishable in Montana:
- Special characters
- Business structure identifiers
- Substitution of numerals for spelled out numbers
- Letter case
- Internet domain suffixes
- Variations of word endings
- Adding “s” to make a word plural or possessive
- Different spacing
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 Montana, 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 Montana for up to 120 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 online with the Montana Secretary of State. The filing fee is $10.
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. Montana provides a section for your desired LLC name on the Articles of Organization.
Registering a DBA (doing business as) name, called an assumed business name in Montana, is a separate process that requires filing with the Secretary of State.
Montana LLC Name Search FAQ
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Montana?
You can use the Montana Business Search tool to see if your preferred business name is available.
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 Montana 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.
Montana LLC names also cannot include identifiers (e.g., Limited Partnership, Inc., Corp.) that imply the company is anything other than an LLC.
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. Montana 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 Montana?
No. Montana does not require LLCs to renew their legal name, but assumed business names must be renewed every five years with the Secretary of State.
You can renew online, and the filing fee is $20.
Can my business name be different from my LLC name in Montana?
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 an assumed business name in Montana.
In Montana, assumed business names are filed with the Secretary of State.
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 Montana DBAs by reading our guide to filing for a DBA and selecting Montana from the dropdown menu.