Forming an LLC requires a different business name, which must be unique and adheres to the guidelines. The great thing is California’s Secretary of State page includes a name availability checker. Check out LLC Name Search to learn more.
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
How to Name an LLC in California
Time needed: 10 minutes.
- Check Name Availability
Search the Business Entity Records in California’s Official Secretary of State page to check if your chosen business name is available. You may also try typing your trademark, business, or domain name on any search engine to generate businesses with similar names and to ensure your trademark is unique and meets the state’s requirements.
Check out How to File a DBA to learn more about registering a DBA or trademark. For social media pages, use Social Searcher to avoid using similar page names.
- Check Domain Availability
If your business name is still available, you must register for a domain name using Namecheap, Google Workspace, or other domain name sites. So customers can easily find your business over the Internet. Use the Kinsta app to manage your domains efficiently.
- File Name Reservation
A Name Reservation Certificate is required along with a Certificate of Formation. You can reserve a name online, by mail, or in-person with a $10 filing fee (plus tax for online).
File your Certificate of Formation and Name Reservation online on the Secretary of State Online Services page of California. You may also download the pdf file of the Name reservation form and submit it with the processing fee to Secretary of State Business Services P.O. Box 5616, Montgomery, California 36103-5616.
Guidelines to Follow in Naming LLC
- Use a business name with the abbreviation “LLC” or the phrase “Limited Liability Company.”
- Your decided business name must not coincide with any existing government entity. Otherwise, you might have to face legal lawsuits when filing your LLC.
- Use the LLC name availability checker to ensure your business name is unique.
- Get a license first if you plan on using restricted words to avoid any complications.
Note that you must put adequate effort into naming your LLC because this name will be with your business for a long time. Making your LLC name unique is vital as it would prevent people from confusing your business with others, not to mention it would be easier for them to recall your business, products, or services.
How To Do a California Name Search Online
LLC name is one crucial part of forming an LLC in California. To continue with the name you have decided for your LLC, you need to go to the Business Entity Search website to check for the business name availability.
There are three ways you can search for business entity names online while forming a California LLC. Here are the following ways,
Search by Corporation Name
The first option you will get is to Search by “Corporation Name”. In here, enter the corporation name you are looking for in the ‘Search Criteria’ box. You can select the ‘Exact’ option or ‘Keyword’ to find that particular name in California. Hit the ‘Search’ button to get the list of Entities with the same/similar names in California.
Search by LP/LLC Name
The next option to search business name is ‘LP/LLC Name’ search. Enter the LLC name you are searching for in the box given and hit the search button to get the list of entities with the same/similar names in the state. Like Corporation Name search, you can select whether to search by ‘Exact’ name, ‘Keyword’ or ‘Begin with’ the name you are looking for.
Search by Entity Number
Entity number is the unique identification number given to the formed entity in California. It is an alpha-numeric 8-digit number starting with the letter ‘C’. To search by Entity Number, you have to enter the exact number to search.
In these three ways, one can go for Business Entity Search in California. Once the name search is done, you can register your LLC name in California by getting the Name Reservation Request Form.
How Do I Reserve an LLC Name in California
The first official step of starting an LLC in California is to name the business. Filing for the registration of the entity’s name is not a necessary process but it is recommended. The reason behind reserving a name is to prevent other entities from using it. An entity’s name is good for sixty days, after which it can be renewed for another 60 days. However, you may need to file for a renewal in the future.
If you’re based in California, you must fill out a Name Reservation Request Form with the Secretary of State. A reservation request is valid for 60 days and costs $10. If the name you want is already reserved, you must pay the fee to register it. The Secretary of State will issue you a Name Reservation Certificate within 60 days. The reservation is only valid for 60 days after that, and once you’ve reached that time limit, you can apply again for it.
You must check if the business name you’re considering is already registered by another entity in California. A business name is not considered unique if it is similar to an existing business name. An example of this would be Acme Gold House Flippers. The secretary of state will reject this application if Gold House Flippers is already in existence. To avoid this problem, you should make sure that the name you’re planning to use is unique, not too common or too similar to an existing one.
A trade name (doing business as (DBA) name) is the official name under which a proprietor or company chooses to do business.
Having a domain isn’t necessary, but it is recommended. If you have a domain name, customers will find you more accessible through online means with your online website.
For domestic LLC, you can simply brainstorm for another name if the one you pick is no longer available. For foreign LLC, you must think up a “fictitious name,” which you’ll use only in the state.