Your LLC ’ mho name carries more weight than you might think. It needs to be unique and memorable for customers, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well equally act as the legal identify that ’ ll appear on your business ’ randomness formal documents. You ’ ll use this name, referred to as a “ trade name, ” for everything from setting up your business ’ s bank account and sign language contracts to representing yourself in legal cases .
broadly, the name has to include the terminus “ Limited Liability Company ” or “ LLC, ” and it can ’ t already be taken by another occupation in your state. The name of your LLC international relations and security network ’ t necessarily the like as the name of your business — confused ?
It ’ s a bit building complex, so we ’ ve put together this ultimate guide to getting everything correctly when you name your LLC.
How to name your LLC
Your LLC ’ s name must be approved by the submit means that handles your application to form an LLC. In most states, this agency is the Office of Secretary of State, but it may be a different agency in some states .
If the Secretary of State rejects your company appoint, it ’ ll reject your application to file articles of constitution and legally establish your LLC. therefore check your state agency ’ s web site for the LLC mention requirements in your state .
Your entity name can ’ thyroxine include anything that falsely implies your business is a pot, trust, indemnity company or early type of enterprise that it ’ sulfur not .
As mentioned above, your company list can ’ thymine include anything that falsely implies your business is a corporation, bank, insurance party or early type of enterprise that it ’ south not .
hera are the general guidelines .
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LLC names must include “LLC” in the name
typically, your business ’ randomness name must end with the words “ Limited Liability Company, ” company ” or “ Limited. ” Or you can use abbreviations like “ LLC, ” “ L.L.C., ” or “ Ltd. ” Usually, you can even opt to abbreviate the words “ Limited ” and “ Company ” as “ Ltd. ” and “ Co. ” ( Most people just stick with “ LLC ”. )
All states require LLC names to include these words or abbreviations to make it acquit the entity is an LLC ( not a corporation or type of entity ) .
here are some ways you could legally name your LLC :
- ABC Limited Liability Company
- ABC Limited Liability Co.
- ABC Limited
- ABC L.L.C.
- ABC LLC
- ABC Ltd.
Don’t imply you’re a different type of enterprise
Your name can ’ t include anything that falsely implies your business is a pot, bank, indemnity company or early type of enterprise that it ’ s not .
Your LLC ’ s name can ’ thymine contain the words like “ bank, ” “ confidence, ” “ regent, ” “ insurance company, ” “ insurance party ” or any other words suggesting you ’ re in the policy business ( unless you are ). You can ’ metric ton include things like “ incorporated, ” “ inc. ” or “ corporation, ” because your LLC is not a corporation .
Don’t mislead the public
Your name can ’ thyroxine include anything that falsely implies your business is a corporation, bank, indemnity company or other type of enterprise that it ’ randomness not .
The name must match your business’s purpose
You can ’ thymine habit terms that imply your party is organized for any reason other than the permit use. so, if you include words like “ medical ” or “ lawyer, ” for exemplar, you might have to file extra paperwork and prove a relevant licensed professional is part of your LLC .
How to check if an LLC name is taken
You can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate mention your LLC something that ’ s the same as or excessively exchangeable to the name of an existing LLC already on file with your state and, in some cases, other states and internationally .
Before filing your articles of administration for the LLC, check to see whether the diagnose you want is available in your department of state. hera ’ s how to check if an LLC name is taken in your state of matter :
- If you’re working with an attorney to form the LLC, they should help you check the name’s availability before filing.
- Search for the name in a business name database through your Secretary of State’s website. Remember this only shows you what’s registered with that state, so it doesn’t guarantee your name is unique across the board.
- In some states, the Office of the Secretary can handle the search for you prior to officially filing, so they can let you know whether the name will be rejected before you submit your business to actual rejection and have to start the filing process all over. Depending on your state, this service might be free or cost a small fee. You just have to file a name search request form online or through the mail.
flush if the name is available for an LLC in your department of state, you might not want to use it if it ’ south excessively like to a trade name used elsewhere. That could be confusing to your customers, damaging to your brand and flush leave you open to lawsuits .
To figure out whether an LLC name is taken outside of your state :
- Google the name you want to use to see whether anyone, anywhere is using it or something similar.
- Check out SuperPages or the Thomas Register of Products and Services to search for trade and corporate names online for free.
These methods won ’ metric ton always tell you whether a caller ’ mho using your name as a register LLC name, but they ’ ll let you know whether they ’ re using it for their brand ( more on that distinction below ). This is specially important if they provide exchangeable services .
LLC naming tips
Before you settle on a name for your LLC, consider these tips to choose a name that matches your new business ’ mho overall mark :
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- Make sure the domain is available. Making your business name memorable to customers largely comes down to the website domain name in modern business. It should closely or exactly match your business name if possible. Search on domain name registration sites like GoDaddy and Network Solutions to see whether it’s available with a relevant domain extension (e.g. .com, .co, .org, etc.). You might be able to purchase the domain from a current owner if you can’t easily register it yourself, so consider whether the price tag is worth it for your business. Also check to see that your name is available on top social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Be distinctive. Choose a name that’ll stand out and help customers remember you and distinguish you clearly from any other company for legal and branding purposes. Some branding experts recommend starting business names with a hard consonant or incorporating alliteration to make it more memorable.
- Keep it short. Choose a name your customer can easily use in a sentence. It should be appealing, memorable, easy to spell and easy to pronounce. Unless it’s integral to your brand, avoid words that are likely to be censored in media and anything containing special characters that are hard to type or reproduce on some platforms.
- Be clear about what you do. Calling your business something like “Oregon Web Design, LLC” might sound boring and unoriginal, but it could be useful for an important marketing strategy: SEO (search engine optimization). Maybe you want to be more creative and broad to keep the long-term possibilities open for your LLC. In that case, you could choose a less specific LLC name and use the more specific name for your domain and branding.
- You as a business owner can name your LLC anything you want, as long as it complies with your state’s guidelines. Naming a business after yourself comes with the benefit of being able to easily use that name to sell any products or services you want in the future without brand confusion. It comes with the drawback that the name could be limiting if you want to grow the business beyond yourself or sell it in the future.
- Avoid names similar to those of well-known companies. We’re talking names like Amazon, Apple, Tesla or McDonald’s. Large companies have been known to sue businesses over naming disputes to avoid anyone misleading the public. Steer clear of anything starting with “i” or “Mc”!
How to buy an LLC name
Want to reserve your identify before person else grabs it ?
Let ’ s say you ’ ve come up with a fabulous diagnose, and you can ’ thyroxine see your commercial enterprise running under any early name. You ’ ve done your homework and confirmed it ’ s up for grabs — for immediately .
To make indisputable person doesn ’ thyroxine swoop in and snatch up the mention before you ’ re ready to register your LLC, you can reserve the name with your state. You can do that by filing a name reservation request mannequin with your state ’ second Office of the Secretary .
You normally have to pay a fee to make such a reservation. In many states, the tip is quite small — ampere little as $ 10. In some states, you can file the reservation request on-line ; in others, you have to mail or hand give birth it .
Depending on the state, the Secretary of State will reserve the name for anywhere from 60 to 120 days, and in many states, you can renew the reservation. During the reservation period, you ’ re the alone one who can file articles of arrangement under that name .
other than the file tip to reserve a name, you shouldn ’ t have to pay to use an LLC list. It ’ ll simply be included in the articles of organization for your company, which come with their own file fees .
You may have to pay a fee if you want to protect your business ’ sulfur name with a read trademark .
LLC name vs. trademark
Trademarks are different from LLC names — but you might end up trademarking your occupation name. We know, it gets confusing .
Avoiding brand violations
You might be able to register your LLC name with your Secretary of State to use as your company ’ south formal legal name. But that doesn ’ triiodothyronine give you the right to use the identify, or anything like, as your brand name — i.e. the list you use to sell your products or services .
If another company has your mention trademarked, you ’ ll be restricted from using it for anything beyond your financials and legal documents .
For example, you might be able to register “ Apple Accounting, LLC ” in your state. But if you try to market your services under the “ Apple ” post name, you might run into trademark violations because of a certain calculator pot .
Trademarking your clientele name
Registering your LLC mention international relations and security network ’ t the lapp thing as trademarking the name or using it as a hallmark, so make certain you understand this eminence to protect your clientele from copycats .
Your brand might match your business mention, or it might not. For example, Francesca Jimenez might register her business as “ Jimenez Consulting Ltd., ” but promote her business publicly as “ Grow With Fran. ” In that sheath, Jimenez Consulting Ltd. is her LLC name, and Grow With Fran is her brand ( a.k.a. brand ) .
Your trademark is mechanically protected under common law, so person else can ’ triiodothyronine imitate you by doing commercial enterprise under your hallmark. But that doesn ’ triiodothyronine normally give you exclusive rights to the sword. For that, you have to register the hallmark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office ( USPTO ). ( That ’ s the remainder between the ( ™ ) and ® symbols you see after a name. )
Using a DBA for an LLC
To avoid confusion for your customers or clients, you can use your trademark name on legal and fiscal documents by registering a DBA with your state .
DBA stands for “ doing occupation as, ” and you obtain it by filing a fabricated name argument or assumed identify security .
In some states, you can file with the Office of the Secretary for a DBA that applies statewide. In others, you have to file at the county or municipal level and may have to file more than one statement if you do business in more than one location .
just like your LLC, your DBA name can ’ t be the same or similar to another DBA on file, and it can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate violate a brand. Try the search methods above to make sure you ’ re in the open .
Steps to forming an LLC
once you ’ ve chosen a diagnose for your clientele, take these steps to form your LLC :
- Fill out an LLC article of organization form with your state.
- Post a public notice with a newspaper or other platform if your state requires it.
- Pay the filing fee, which varies by state.
- Determine your tax structure.
( FAQ section )
Can I change my clientele appoint ?
It is possible to change the list of your occupation in the future, but can be a complicate process. The simplest method acting for a identify change is to file a DBA, if you plan on doing business under both your original identify a well as your new occupation appoint .
completely switching over your business entity to a modern list will require charge paperwork with your state, and will typically involve a name exchange filing fee. There could be other costs related to rebranding deoxyadenosine monophosphate well, such as creating a raw logo, registering a new domain name, and re-printing any physical materials .
( after business naming tips section ) If you are wholly stumped on clientele names you could consider using an on-line business name generator tool to help brainstorm possible identify ideas. It ’ south probably not a good estimate to rely on the tool completely, but it can be a well way to generate some occupation name ideas that you can build on .
Should I name my LLC after myself ?
You can name your LLC anything you want, vitamin a retentive as it complies with your express ’ s guidelines. Naming a business after yourself comes with the profit of being able to easily use that name to sell any products or services you want in the future without brand confusion. It comes with the drawback that the list could be limiting if you want to grow the business beyond yourself or sell it in the future .
How do I add my LLC to my commercial enterprise identify ?
You can include “ LLC ” in your legal commercial enterprise mention in any way that makes the company ’ randomness structure net, including “ Limited, ” “ Ltd., ” “ LLC, ” “ L.L.C., ” “ Limited Liability Company, ” “ Limited Liability Co. ” and more. You don ’ t have to include this information in your trademark, including the business name you include in your logo or commercial enterprise cards .
Does your LLC identify have to match your business name ?
Your LLC name can be different from your business hallmark, the name you use to market your business. There ’ mho no legal necessity that they match. But you may have to register a DBA for your hallmark name if you want to use it for legal and fiscal purposes .
TL ; DR : ready to come up with the arrant name for your LLC ?
We know this data is a bunch to take in. Take a breath, and know that you can decidedly get it all done and have the arrant LLC name for your commercial enterprise .
You get to choose your LLC ’ mho mention, so you can get a creative as you want… within the limits of some confuse legal rules and regulations. Every express has its own set of rules, so check in with your submit ’ sulfur means and confer a small business lawyer to make certain your name is approved .
Stephen has dedicated his career as an lawyer and author to writing useful, authoritative and recognized guides on taxes and business law for humble businesses, entrepreneurs, independent contractors, and freelancers. He is the author of over 20 books and hundreds of articles and has been quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and many other publications. Among his books are Deduct It ! Lower Your modest Business Taxes, Working with Independent Contractors, and Working for Yourself : law and Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Consultants .