California LLC Name Search

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This article will demonstrate how to search California for business names using the free entity search tool.

To verify the availability of the name, an LLC name search must be done before you can file the necessary documents to create your LLC. Make sure the name you’re considering is unique and not used by other LLCs in the state.

The State’s online database allows you to search for the name of a business entity and its availability.

California Secretary of State

Visit the California Business Entity Search page.

If your business is an LLC, there are some requirements to be aware of before searching. As for name requirements, most states say your LLC name can end with the abbreviations LLC, L.L.C., or Limited Liability Company.

Each state has its own requirements and guidelines. Most people choose LLC.

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Business Name

The name must be distinguishable and clearly unique. For example, if there is a business entity named ABC Plumbers, Inc., ABC Plumbers, LLC would not be available. The name ABC Plumbers & Contractors, LLC would have a better chance of getting approved.

The final determination of a name’s availability is the State where the name is attempting to be registered.

Giving Your New Business a Name

When you name something, you get attached to it. Naming your soon-to-be business can only spur your decision forward. Backing out on the idea will be less of an option.

When forming a company, you and your co-founders need to brainstorm and decide on a few things, such as your business name.

There are three main ways to form a new business entity.

  • Do it yourself
  • Hire an attorney to do it for you
  • Hire an affordable LLC filing service like ZenBusiness or Incfile
  • Come up with a name that hasn’t been used before. Visit the California Secretary of State website and enter the business name in the Business Name Search database.
  • Even if unique or derivative, that name shouldn’t sound like an existing one as the California SOS would reject it.
  • Ensure that the name does not violate any California state law.
  • You can try calling the State Business Information Line at 916-653-3794 and ask them some business name-related questions you might have.
  • For more info, visit the California Business Entities website.

How To Do A California Business Name Search

Visit the California Business Entity Search page.

In the “Search Type” section, enter the type of business and then in the “Search Criteria” section, enter a business name and select the search filter “Keyword” “Exact” or “Begins with” and then search. When searching for names in California, remember,

  • Don’t enter LLC after the name or variations (LLC, L.L.C., etc.) while doing searches.
  • Search for both the plural and singular versions of names. For example, if your LLC name has the word “Publishers” in it, also search with “Publisher.”
  • Search the first 1-2 words of your LLC name at first. For example, if your desired LLC name is “Best Electrician Service LLC,” search for “Best Electrician” and continue searching with some variations.
  • The point is to check for any potential name conflicts and develop a unique business name.

Searching the California database could take a bit of time. Still, with a few searches, you should get a pretty good idea about the business name’s availability that you are interested in registering.

The “Checking Name Availability” page gives instructions on requesting name availability by mail and a Prepay Priority Telephone Service. These are additional options to check name availability.

It’s important to note that even when a given business appears to be available, the California Secretary of State will do their own search to confirm availability. There could be name variations or abbreviations that could cause a conflict.

That’s how you can search for a business name in California. Again, the California Secretary of State will make the final determination on a business name’s availability.

California Secretary of State

Mailing address:
Secretary of State
Business Entities
PO Box 944228
Sacramento, CA 94244-2280

Websites & Phone:
CA Secretary of State
CA Business Entities
8:00am – 5:00pm, M-F

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