Your company name is important. It’s your first impression, and it’s how people will remember you. You don’t want to be the business with a forgettable name. So, when you’ve got that perfect name in mind, that clever alliteration or meaningful acronym, you might think about reserving it before someone else does.
Naming your company is one of the first official steps when starting an LLC in Illinois. In certain situations, it may be beneficial to reserve a business name while you’re preparing to bring your business idea to life.
In this article, we’ll explain when reserving a business name can be helpful and guide you through all the steps involved.
Certain states may require you to reserve a business name before forming your LLC, but this is not the case in Illinois. If you’re ready to launch your business, you can skip this step and head straight to your Articles of Organization.
Maybe it took you sleepless nights of brainstorming, or maybe you thought of it while sitting at a traffic light. No matter how you came up with your memorable LLC name, you’ll want to make sure that it’s available and ready to use when you file your Illinois LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $25 fee. Overall, it’s cheaper to skip this fee and simply start your business, which will lock in your name automatically.
However, there are cases where you may not be ready to officially start your business. Filing an application to reserve your business name gives you “dibs” and ensures that competitors aren’t able to snag it while you’re preparing for launch.
If your business name is unique, including unusual spellings or characters and/or family names, it may not be necessary to reserve an Illinois business name ahead of time. Plus, paying the extra state fee to reserve your business name could be a waste of resources if you’re planning to launch your business soon after.
Got a name in mind? Perfect. Follow these steps to reserve it.
Before submitting your application to reserve your business name, you first need to check name availability by performing an Illinois LLC name search. To do so, submit a Name Availability Inquiry Form to the Illinois Secretary of State. You can request to check up to three names at once, and you will be notified via email if they are or are not available. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Illinois (find them all here).
All good? Then check to see if your LLC name is available. If it is, let out a sigh of relief — you’re ready to reserve it or form your LLC.
Start by going to the Secretary of State LLC Forms page. Select Form LLC-1.15: Application to Reserve a Name. This is the same form you can use to transfer or cancel a reservation as well. Only complete the section for name reservation and you can leave the others blank.
Then, when you’ve completed the form, mail, or hand-deliver two copies to:
Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St., Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756
Reserving a name will cost you $25. Include, with your forms, a check payable to the “Secretary of State.” The typical processing time for the Illinois Secretary of State’s office is 7-10 business days.
Need it sooner?
You can request 24-hour expedited processing for an additional $50 fee, but only if you deliver your forms and payment in person.
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Illinois can reserve an entity name. Filing your name reservation prevents another entity from using that name to conduct business in the state during the time of your hold. An entity name reservation in the state of Illinois costs $25 and gives you sole ownership of that name for a period of 90 days.
But after that, there’s no option for renewal, so it becomes open for anyone to claim. So, if you’re worried about losing your desired name, be sure to file your Articles of Organization and officially start your business within that 90-day window.
Say you have a stroke of brilliance and come up with a better name. You can cancel your reservation at any time for an additional $5 fee, or you can simply allow it to expire for no additional charge.
Or, perhaps you want to give name ownership to someone else. Reservation transfer is also an option for another $25. Just know that a transfer does not extend or renew your reservation; it simply changes the owner.
Your LLC name is an important part of the business. If you’re not ready to launch your business, but you’ve got a perfect name and you think someone else might claim it, consider reserving it.
However, if your business is ready for takeoff, use our comprehensive guide to forming an LLC in Illinois to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $25 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $150 Illinois LLC formation fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $25 isn’t a fortune by any means, but this will at least save you the hassle of reserving a name and registering an LLC separately.
As a business owner, you have a lot to think about. Pile on the responsibility of handling state correspondence, LLC tax information, and more while keeping your LLC compliant, and you’ve got yourself a pretty full plate.
Sometimes the best move is to let someone else take care of the paperwork for you. This way, you can sleep easy knowing you’ll never miss a deadline or compliance requirement with the state. While LegalZoom is by far the most well-known LLC formation service and has decent overall value, ZenBusiness is an entrepreneur favorite. Other than that, IncFile and Northwest are two other popular options with appeals of their own.
$0 + state fee and takes 5-10 minutes
Illinois keeps things pretty simple when it comes to restricted words for business names. You can’t use insurance, surety, underwriters, bank, bankers, banking, or words that refer to any professional services without prior permission.
No. In fact, Alabama is the only state that requires entrepreneurs to reserve a business name before forming an LLC. In Illinois and the other 48 states, this is an optional and largely unnecessary step.
The state of Illinois is home to more than 1.2 million small businesses. Entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and business types find that Illinois is a great place to own and operate a small business.
The Illinois chapter of the Small Business Development Center is a great place to start, as they offer a wide variety of tools and resources for Illinois LLCs. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Illinois District Office is another valuable resource, and the state’s small business resource page also has plenty of good info.
The overall costs of operating an Illinois LLC can vary considerably based on the specifics of your business. However, we created a helpful guide to help you identify and plan for every expense your LLC will face in this state.
The answer to this question lies in your personal preferences, but we can give some general pointers. An attorney will cost the most by a mile, but also provides expertise you won’t find with the other options. The DIY route is free of charge but can require quite a bit of legwork and provides no peace of mind that the process is being completed correctly.
Using an LLC service means your business will be formed by professionals who know what they’re doing, while also costing significantly less than a lawyer. This “best of both worlds” attribute is what makes LLC services our preferred option.
Illinois Business Resources
How to Reserve an LLC Name in all 50 States
We break down the LLC Name Reservation process for all 50 states. View all of our guides below.
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