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 West Virginia. 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, name reservation is a purely optional service in West Virginia, and not required in order to start your business. If you’re ready to get your LLC up and running right away, you can skip ahead to the 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 West Virginia LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $15 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 a West Virginia 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 a West Virginia LLC name search. To do so, simply use the Secretary of State’s convenient Business Entity Search. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of West Virginia (find them all on page 2 of the application). 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 get started, download Form NR-1: Application for Name Reservation. Then, fill it out with the necessary information. But you’re not done yet! There are a couple more items you need to submit with your form:
Everything looking good? Great. Then mail your documents and payment to the One-Stop Business Center at 1615 Washington Street East, Charleston, WV 25311. If you live near Charleston, you’re also welcome to drop them off in person.
You can also fax them to (304) 558-8381 or email them to CorpFilings@wvsos.gov (email@example.com for expedited filings). For either of these options, you must include an e-Payment Authorization.
The standard processing time for paper filings is 5-10 business days. But if you need it sooner, the Secretary of State offers three expedited service options. You can pay an additional $25 for 24-hour service, $250 for two-hour service, and $500 for one-hour service. Designate your processing option, either standard or expedited, on the Customer Order Request.
Anyone planning to do business within the state of West Virginia 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 West Virginia lasts 120 days, during which no one else will have access to your name.
After your reservation expires, the name will once again be available to the public, unless you’ve formed your LLC during that time. Because of this, it’s important to plan out your reservation and formation timeline, so that the 120-day window doesn’t close and leave you without a name.
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 West Virginia to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $15 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $100 West Virginia Articles of Organization fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $15 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
West Virginia has a handful of restricted terms for business names, and they’re pretty much the same as most states. You can’t use any terms that are associated with banking, insurance, or engineering, and you also need to avoid terms that refer to other business entity types. For more info, check out the instructions page of the Application for Name Reservation form.
No. In fact, Alabama is the only state that requires entrepreneurs to reserve a business name before forming an LLC. In West Virginia and the other 48 states, this is an optional and largely unnecessary step.
The state of West Virginia is home to nearly 115,000 small businesses. Entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and business types find that West Virginia is a great place to own and operate a small business.
The West Virginia chapter of the Small Business Development Center is a great place to start, as they offer a wide variety of tools and resources for West Virginia LLCs. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia 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 a West Virginia 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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