By definition, a business name checker is a tool that allows you to search businesses registered in your state to see if the name you want to use is taken. States require the business owner to register a limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or corporation with the Secretary of State or a similar state office.
States use different variations of the same concept. Other possible names are:
Whatever the name, these state tools and name checkers offered by private companies provide the same service. In some states, you can call and check over the phone.
Before ordering a sign for your store, it’s best to check a few other places to make sure the business name is a go.
Some companies register one name with the state but then opt to “do business as” (DBA) another name. While a few states offer DBA name registration at the state level, most require you to register in the county or city where your business is located. So even if no other company registered with your name, it’s wise to check with the appropriate local office to make sure no one is doing business using your company’s proposed name.
A business can trademark a name other than its official business name. Trademarks can be federally registered with the United States Patent and Trademark office or obtained at the state level. Check both to cover your bases.
A company that registers as Debbie’s Doughnuts, Inc. might choose “DebbieDonuts.com” as its domain name. This is the name of its website. If your business is Debbie’s Donuts, it might confuse customers when they type that into a search bar and get Debbie’s Doughnuts, Inc., instead. Worse, they might not notice, and then you lose a customer. You can avoid these problems by carefully considering and researching domain names.
Many social media platforms allow you to sign up using any name you want. For this reason, it’s advisable to do a quick internet search to see if anyone else is using your business name online.
Researching your business name ahead of time to make sure it’s available can save you time and money. And one of the biggest advantages of a business name checker is that it’s online and easy to do.
There really are no downsides to running a name check before starting your business — unless you use a private company that doesn’t keep its records updated. Rely on a trusted source like us to guide your search.
Using a business name checker before registering your business with the state ensures that the name is available. Doing this and a few other searches before taking other steps saves you the cost and hassle of changing your signage, letterhead, and so forth if the name is taken.
We are here to help small business owners like you! Once you find an available name for your small business, we will help you reserve it. This holds the name while you prepare the paperwork to form whatever legal entity you have decided to form. Then, you can use our Corporate and LLC Formation services to help set up your company under your new name. And after you are up and running, our complete suite of business services, from Worry-Free Compliance Service to ZenBusiness Money, can help your company stay on track.
Starts at $0 + state fee
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.