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 Iowa. 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.
No, placing a name reservation isn’t necessary in Iowa. You have the option to reserve a name, but it’s not required for LLC formation. If you’re ready to get your business off the ground, you can skip this step and file your Certificate of Organization, which will officially claim your name.
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 Iowa LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $10 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 Iowa 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 Iowa LLC name search. The Iowa Secretary of State’s website has a Business Entities Search function that you can use to check for your desired name. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Iowa (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.
To grab that name before anyone else can download the “Application for Reservation of Name,” from the S.O.S. Forms and Fees page. Fill it out, then mail it, with a $10 fee, to:
Secretary of State
Business Services Division
Lucas Building, 1st Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
For anyone local to the Des Moines area, you’re also welcome to drop your form and payment off in person at the same location.
Don’t forget that payment! The Secretary of State’s office can’t process your form without it. For both mailed and in-person submissions, include a check payable to “Secretary of State.”
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Iowa 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 Iowa allows you to claim that name for 120 days.
After your reservation expires, you can renew it one time for an additional 120-day period. Because you only get one renewal, it’s important to plan out your LLC launch timeline. If you haven’t filed your Certificate of Organization by the end of your second 120-day reservation, the name becomes open to the public again and you risk losing it.
To transfer your name reservation, file a “Notice of Transfer of Reservation of Name,” and pay an additional $10 fee. This does not renew or extend your reservation; it simply changes the name’s 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 Iowa to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $10 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $50 Iowa LLC formation fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $10 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
Iowa doesn’t have too many restrictions regarding the terms you can use in your business name, but it does have a few. For instance, you can’t use terms that refer to other business entity types, and you need to avoid terms that imply an association with banking, insurance, or government entities as well.
No. In fact, Alabama is the only state that requires entrepreneurs to reserve a business name before forming an LLC. In Iowa and the other 48 states, this is an optional and largely unnecessary step.
The state of Iowa is home to nearly 250,000 small businesses. Entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and business types find that Iowa is a great place to own and operate a small business.
The Iowa chapter of the Small Business Development Center is a great place to start, as they offer a wide variety of tools and resources for Iowa LLCs. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Iowa 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 Iowa 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.
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.
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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