When you meet someone new, what’s the first thing you want to know about them? Their name. Your name is unique—it’s how people remember you.
The same goes for your Utah business: choosing your name is the most important step of forming your company. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just picking the name you like best from a list. That works for babies, but not businesses. Utah has several requirements that you’ll need to follow as you pick a name.
Fortunately, this five-step guide will help you pick a name that is both perfect for your business and compliant with state laws. We’ll also cover how to reserve your name once you’ve picked it. Let’s get started.
NOTE: If you have found the perfect business name and would like to begin the process of registering your business with the state, there are a lot of top rated LLC formation services — like LegalZoom and Zen Business — that can do it for you.
1) Review Utah Name Requirements
Utah has three primary requirements for naming your business. First, your name must include a designation of the type of company you’re forming. For example, if you’re forming a Limited Liability Company, you’ll need to include “LLC,” “Limited Liability Company,” or an abbreviation of those terms. Corporations must include “Inc.,” “Incorporated,” “Corporation,” etc. Regardless of what kind of entity you make, your name should reflect your business type.
Second, your name must be distinguishable from other business entities in Utah. If it’s too similar to another name, your filings could get mixed up with the paperwork for the wrong entity. And worse, a super-similar business name could confuse your customers.
For example, “Utah Lawn Care Bros, LLC” and “Utah Lawn Care Bros, Inc” are too close. A mere difference in entity type identifier is not enough to make your name distinct. Changing “Bros” to “Brothers” would not work, either, since abbreviations are not considered distinguishable. Your name must have one or more differences of letters, numbers, or word order.
Finally, Utah restricts certain wording in your name. For example, you cannot use words like “Olympic” or “University” unless you are such an entity and have written confirmation from the appropriate office to prove it. In addition, your name cannot imply that your business is organized for anything other than the corporate purpose listed on your Articles of Incorporation.
For a full listing of Utah’s naming requirements, you can consult the Corporate Name Article of the Revised Business Corporation Act.
2) Create the Perfect Name for Your Utah Business
Now that we’ve covered all the things you can’t do with your business name, let’s focus on what you can do. Here’s where you can let your creativity shine. As long as you meet Utah’s requirements, you can pick just about anything you like.
However, to make your business name perfect, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Pick a name that represents your business: Your business name is the first impression you’ll send to potential customers; you want to make sure it’s the right impression. So, be sure to include important aspects of your business in your name. For example, if you’re starting a restaurant that specializes in vegan fare, you’ll want that to be clear by your business name.
- Write it down and say it aloud: Your business name appears everywhere—business cards, your website, company signage, and more. A good name will look good on paper. But you’ll also say your name a lot, too, so make sure it sounds as good as it looks.
- Choose a name that you’re proud of: Do you like the name you’ve come up with? You love your business, and you should love the name that goes with it. If you love the name, then you’re good to move on to step three.
3) Search Your Chosen Name with the Utah Department of Commerce
Now it’s time to check that your business name is available in the state of Utah. To do so, you’ll want to run a Business Search.
Here’s how it works: input the business name you developed in Step 2. If the state’s search tool doesn’t find any results, then good news! Your name is available for you to use in Utah. However, if it does find a match, you’ll want to start over or tweak your name a little to make sure it’s different from what’s currently in use in the state.
To make the most of the search tool, we recommend completing two searches. First, type in the exact name you wish to use. If there are no exact matches, the tool will give you a green checkmark message that your name is available. That said, these results are preliminary; only when you actually file your name will you receive a final ruling about your name’s availability.
The second search is optional, but you may find it helpful to run a keyword search. Simply type in a keyword (or even a portion of a keyword) from your business name. The tool will pull up all business names which contain that keyword. Doing this will let you know many of the names being used by your competitors. Then you can make sure your name truly stands out.
While this step may seem like a hassle, it can save you time in the long run. You’ll need to put your business name on your formation documents; if you put down a name that’s already in use, the state will send it back to you, request a change, and you’ll need to file all over again. This could potentially slow down your start-up process by several days or even weeks. Searching your name ahead of time prevents that slow-down.
4) Reserve Your Business Name with Utah
You’ve done the legwork to make sure your business name is free to use in Utah. Now, let’s ensure that none of that work goes to waste by reserving your business name with the state.
In Utah, you can reserve a business name by filing an Application for Reservation of Name.You can file this form by mail, in person, or online with the Secretary of State. This form requests some important information, including the intended use of the name, contact information for the applicant, and of course, your desired name.
Utah requires a fee of $22 for this name reservation. You can pay by check, money order, or credit card.
Reserving your name will protect your business name for 120 days. While it’s unlikely that another person will come up with the exact name you’ve chosen, this process prevents anyone else from using your name. The 120-day-long reservation gives you plenty of time to get all your affairs in order and file your formation documents.
5) File Your Utah Formation Documents
Even though filing a reservation gives you 120 days of exclusive rights to the name you’ve created, you’ll need to file your formation documents to make everything official. The document you need to use varies depending on the type of business you’re forming, but it’s often called the Articles of Incorporation or the Articles of Organization.
The Division of Corporations and Commercial Code of the Utah Department of Commerce serves as a helpful starting point for forming your business. Here you’ll find the forms you need to start your business, including the Utah Articles of Incorporation. You’ll also find easy access to forms such as name reservations, amendments, registered agent changes, and more.
Conducting a business name search is an important part of forming your business in Utah. The search saves you time and helps you set up a name that makes your business stand out. We hope this guide made it simple to name your business.