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How to Conduct a Delaware Business Name Search

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Have you had a business idea for some time and have finally made the decision to make it a reality in Delaware? Good on you! You probably have a ton of questions running through your head, like which type of business entity to adopt (limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations are two popular ones), which industry to enter, and what to name your business. 

Of all of these, your business name may take you the longest to choose. Having the right business name will attract the right customers. Your business’s name is its identity, and having one that’s memorable and catchy will make it easier to remember, especially if a customer had a great experience doing business with you. 

If this is your first time starting a business and you need help coming up with a great business name, then you should first conduct a Delaware company search. Use our guide below to learn how to come up with a name for your corporation or LLC. Look up your potential business name afterwards to make sure it isn’t already taken.

The importance of a great business name

A great business name gives your company its identity. Having one that’s equally memorable and appropriate for your business is essential. The last thing you want is a generic name or one that doesn’t effectively translate what your business is about and what you offer. No matter if your business is an LLC or corporation, if its name catches a person’s interest, then you’ll be one step closer to making a sale. 

How to come up with a great business name

Knowing that you’ll need a great business name is one thing. Actually coming up with one is entirely different. When you brainstorm some name ideas, your best bet is to create a list. Your business name should be something that’ll last for years, possibly throughout its entire existence. For additional tips on coming up with a great business name, check out our article about the topic

Read below for the steps on choosing a name for your Delaware business.

1. Learn Delaware’s business naming rules

First, you’ll need to find out Delaware’s business naming rules. Visit the Delaware Division of Corporations website. This is where business filings are submitted. Here, you’ll find several forms for different business filings. Each filing provides some information on the state’s naming rules. 

The Rules

Different business entities have different naming rules in Delaware. We’ll be going over LLCs and corporations below:

  • For corporations: 
    • The name must be distinguishable from other business names.
    • The name must include one of the following terms (can be abbreviated with or without punctuation): 
      • Association 
      • Company 
      • Corporation 
      • Foundation 
      • Syndicate 
      • Society 
      • Union 
      • Limited 
      • Institute 
      • Incorporated 
      • Fund 
      • Club 
    • The name cannot contain words or phrases that are vulgar or degrading. 
    • The name cannot include terms like “bank” and “trust.”
  • For LLCs:
    • The name must be distinguishable from other business names.
    • The name must include one of the following designators:
      • Limited Liability Company
      • L.L.C.
      • LLC
    • The name cannot contain words or phrases that are vulgar or degrading. 
    • The name cannot contain the word “bank” or anything similar. 

The Delaware Division of Corporations website has a much more detailed list of business naming rules that you should check out. 

Next, conduct a corporation or LLC search. There are several Delaware company search tools out there, and figuring out which one is best to use can be tricky. The state’s Division of Corporations has a tool you can use to perform a company lookup. LLC and corporation names should be easily found using this tool. Let’s go over how to do it below. 

If you Googled “Delaware Secretary of State business search” but didn’t yield any solid results, then head over to the state’s Division of Corporations website. On the homepage, you’ll find “Search for a Business Entity” under “Services.” This will take you to the search tool. 

If you’re forming a corporation or LLC, look up all of the names you’re considering for the company. You can perform a search by either looking up a name or a filing number. The tool is free to use. 

3. Choose a domain name

Pick a domain name that closely matches your Delaware business name. After performing a corporation or LLC lookup, consider getting a domain name as well. We should point out that getting a domain name isn’t a necessity unless you plan to run a strictly online business. However, you should still consider getting a domain name for a business website since it can expand your reach and help you get more customers. If this sounds like something you’d like, then read on. 

Find the perfect name and website for your business

Enter a few keywords to get started.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is a website’s name. Our domain name is ZenBusiness.com. If you own a business, then its domain name should be identical to or as close to your business name as possible. One important thing you should know is that a URL and domain name aren’t the same. A URL is used to identify a specific page on a website, like the one you’re on now (zenbusiness.com/delaware-business-search/). 

As we mentioned above, your domain name should be as close as possible to your business name. That way, people will find it easier to locate your business online. A domain name also lets you create a business email, which can be really helpful if you have employees and want a streamlined way to communicate with them. It also gives your business a professional touch when communicating with customers or clients. 

Why should you get a domain name?

By having a domain name, you’ll have a business website. This can be used to build your customer base through effective marketing strategies. For example, you’ll definitely have social media profiles for your business. This opens the opportunity to direct followers to your website, allowing you to make sales outside of your physical location. If a domain name is something you’re set on getting, then check out our domain name search tool to make sure the one you want is available. 

Consider getting a domain name now

If you want to wait until your business grows large enough to have its own website, you should reconsider. It’d be a bummer if you finally decided to get a domain name only to find out the one you want is already taken. You could have avoided this had you checked to see if this domain name was available during your business formation process. 

If during your formation, you’d looked up a domain name and saw that the one you wanted was already taken, then you could’ve reconsidered your business name and gone with another option that matched with an available domain name. If you don’t need a domain name yet, you should still consider registering one for when you’re ready to set up a business website. 

4. Reserve your Delaware business name

The last step involves reserving your Delaware business name with the Division of Corporations. After you’re done with your corporation or LLC search and have determined that the name you want is free, you can reserve it with the state’s Division of Corporations. You can do this by heading to the Division’s website. Under “Services,” you’ll see a section titled “Check Entity Name Availability.” 

From here, you’ll choose your entity type and will need to type in the name you want. You can also reserve a business name by mail. You can find the appropriate document on the Division of Corporations’ “Name Reservation Applications” page. Your name will be reserved for 120 days for a fee. You can also reserve your business name with us

Consider getting a trade name in Delaware

As a business owner, there may come a time when you’ll want to operate under a different name without having to change your business’s legal name. In Delaware, you can do this with a trade or fictitious name. In general, this is known as a “doing business as” (DBA) name. Many states offer trade name requests at the state level, but in Delaware, it’s done at the county level. Each county’s Prothonotary Office handles trade names. 

How do I get a Delaware trade name?

In order to apply for a trade name in Delaware, you’ll need to reach out to your county’s Prothonotary Office. You can also visit the Delaware Courts website. At the top of the home page, go to “Forms” and search for “Trade, Business & Fictitious Name Registration Certificate.” You can print it, fill it out, and send it to your county’s Prothonotary Office. 

Do I need a trade name?

Deciding if you need a trade name will be entirely up to you. The reasons for getting a trade name can vary, with one reason being that many business owners want to attract customers with a catchier and more marketable name. Whatever your reason for wanting a trade name is, be sure to get in touch with your county’s Prothonotary Office to find out what exactly you’ll need to do. 

We can help

You should now have a clearer understanding of how to conduct a corporation or LLC lookup. Hopefully, the first name on your business name list will be available! If not, then you should have an idea of how to proceed until you find the one you want. We can help you reserve your business name, get a domain name, and more. Check out our formation services as well as others that can help you run and grow your business after it’s been set up!

Delaware Business Name FAQs

  1. Can I renew my business name reservation in Delaware?

    Yes, you can renew your business name reservation for your Delaware LLC or corporation. You can find renewal forms on the Name Reservation Applications page on the state’s Division of Corporations website. The renewal has a fee and is good for 120 days. 

  2. How do I change my business’s name in Delaware?

    You can change your business name by filing a Certificate of Amendment with the Division of Corporations. You can find and download one for an LLC or a corporation on the Division’s “Amendments” page. Remember that you’ll need to make sure the new name you want is available. So, you’ll have to conduct another corporation or LLC lookup

    Check out our complete guide on how to change your business name in Delaware.

  3. Can I change my business’s name online?

    Yes, you can change your business’s name online by submitting a corporation or LLC Certificate of Amendment through the Delaware Division of Corporations website. You can find a document upload service under the “Services” section of the website. Keep in mind that you’ll need to perform another corporation or LLC name search to make sure the new name you want is available to use. 

  4. Which types of businesses are required to file for a fictitious business name?

    According to the Delaware Division of Corporations, “The registration of Trade, Business and Fictitious Names is required by persons, firms or associations engaging in, prosecuting or transacting any business within the limits of the State of Delaware.”

    In other words, if you own a business and want to operate under a different name in Delaware, then you’ll need to apply for a trade name.

  5. Can I name my LLC after myself?

    Yes, you can name your LLC in Delaware after yourself. If you’re considering this, be sure to weigh the marketing implications. Will the name generate interest in your brand? Is the name memorable? You can also apply for a trade name if you feel your business’s legal name isn’t working for you. 

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