Are you forming a new business (either on your own or through one of the many good business formation services), but you’re not sure whether your desired business name is available?
Before you progress to the formation stage for your limited liability company or corporation, you should search your state business database to make sure the name you want isn’t already taken by another business entity. But where should you look to find this information?
With this article, we’ve compiled the official state business name search resource for all 50 states so that you can easily determine whether the name you want is available. No matter what state you’re forming your business in, or which type of entity you’re forming, there’s an easy way to find out which business names are available in your state.
Why Should You Search Your State’s Business Name Database?
Each company name can only be used by one business entity in any given state.
In addition, many states don’t allow two businesses to have names that are too similar to each other either, so before you become too focused on one specific name, you need to find out if it’s available or not. Even if you’re not yet ready to form your business, every state has options for reserving a business name for usage at a later date.
It’s always advisable to come up with more than one idea for your company’s name, because if your name turns out to be claimed by another entity, you don’t have to pause the formation process to think of a new one.
We also like to recommend that our readers not only search their state database, but also check to make sure there aren’t any copyrights for your desired name, and see if there’s a suitable domain name available.
Where Can You Find State Business Name Databases?
Most state business name databases can be found on that state’s Secretary of State website, but that’s not true for every single state.
However, you don’t really need to worry about where to find your state’s database, because we did all the leg work for you. Below, you can find links to the official business name databases in all 50 states, and the District of Columbia.
- Texas ($1 fee per search)
Searching through your state’s business database to determine if your desired name is available isn’t a difficult or time-consuming process, but you can’t skip or overlook this important step either.
Our biggest piece of advice in this area is that you should never get too hung up on one specific business name until you either reserve it with your state, or register your business entity.
If you decide you’re ready to form your business, there are good services like Zen Business and LegalZoom that can get it registered with the state!