This post will show you how to quickly search North Carolina for business names using the free entity search tool offered by the state.
To verify the availability of the name, an LLC name search is required before you can file the necessary documents for your new LLC.
It is important to ensure that your name is different from any other LLCs in the state.
You can research a business entity’s name and availability in the state’s online database.
Visit the North Carolina Corporate Search page
https://www.sosnc.gov/search/index/corp and enter the business name you are thinking about using into the “Search For” section 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 the words Limited Liability Company. Each state has its own requirements and guidelines. Most people choose LLC.
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. Before contacting the good folks at ZenBusiness or Incfile, you need to:
- Come up with a name that hasn’t been used before. Visit the North Carolina Secretary of State website and enter the business name in the Corporate Name Search database.
- Even if unique or derivative, that name shouldn’t sound like an existing one as the North Carolina Secretary of State would reject it.
- Ensure that the name does not violate any North Carolina State Law.
- You can also call the State Business Information Line at 919-814-5400 and ask them to do a business name search.
- For more info, visit the North Carolina Secretary of State website.
How To Do A North Carolina Business Name Search
Visit the North Carolina Corporate Search page https://www.sosnc.gov/search/index/corp and enter the business name you are thinking about using into the “Search For” section of the search page. When searching for names in North Carolina,
- 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, search with “Publisher.”
- Search the first 1-2 words of your LLC name. For example, if your desired LLC name is “Raleigh Electrician Service LLC,” search “Raleigh Electrician.”
- The point is to check for any potential name conflicts and develop a unique LLC name.
- In the “Search By” section, you are given four options to search by “Company,” “Registered Agents,” “Company Officials,” and “Assumed Business Names.”
- In the “Words” section, you are given the choice of searching business names by “Starting With,” “Any Words,” “All Words,” “Exact Words,” “SOSID.”
Searching the North Carolina database could take a little bit of time. Still, with a few searches of “Starting With” or “Exact Words,” you should get a pretty good idea about the availability of the business name that you are interested in registering.
It’s important to note that even when a given business appears to be available, the NC 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 North Carolina. Again, the NC SOS office will make the final determination on a business name’s availability.
North Carolina Secretary of State
NC Secretary of State
PO Box 29525
Raleigh, NC 27626-0525
Department of the Secretary of State
Phone: 919-814-5400 (hours: 8am – 5pm Eastern)
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