If you're planning to start a business, you'll want to conduct a business name search before deciding what to call your company. For those who plan to incorporate, registration of the official name of your business will be required in your home state. While requirements vary from state to state, this is also typically true for corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLC) and some forms of partnerships.
Many states require that name reservation forms be filed in advance of registration, so that state officials may verify that the name is available and compliant with applicable regulations. Requirements for reserving and registering names vary from state to state, so you'll need to check with the office of the Secretary of State, or other entity that oversees business filings, in your state before you actually choose a name for your enterprise.
If your business is a sole proprietorship, your legal name will be used as the official business name. Many corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships actually do business under names other than their legal names. The requirements for registering fictitious, trade, or DBA (doing business as) names vary from one state to another.
State by State Business Name Search Resources
Trying to find out if the business name you want to use is available in your state? The following links will take you directly to each state's official resource for verifying name availability. You'll also find the information you need to reserve a name and/or register your business via these links.
- Alabama - Registered Alabama corporation names
- Alaska - Corporation names on the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing site.
- Arizona - Registered names of Arizona businesses.
- Arkansas - Names taken by current Arkansas Incorporations, Cooperatives, Banks and Insurance Companies
- California - Name availability for California businesses.
- Colorado - Colorado business names, trademarks, and trade names.
- Connecticut - Business name search via the state's Commercial Recording Division.
- Delaware - Delaware business name availability search.
- District of Columbia - Available D.C. business names at the District of Columbia's Division of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
- Florida - What you need to know about Florida business name availability at SunBiz.org.
- Georgia - Georgia business entity names.
- Hawaii - Names of business registered with the Hawaii Secretary of State.
- Idaho - Idaho business names on the state's business entity index.
- Illinois - Registered Illinois business names on CyberDrive Illinois, provided by the office of the Secretary of State.
- Indiana - Names of registered Indiana businesses on INBiz, a resource for Indiana business owners.
- Iowa - Official database of registered Iowa corporations.
- Kansas - Business entities and available names via the Kansas online business entity search.
- Kentucky - Utilize the name availability search on the official Kentucky Secretary of State website.
- Louisiana - Verify name availability for Louisiana businesses.
- Maine - Search for available names on the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions site.
- Maryland - Maryland business entities via the Business Entity Search on the state's Department of Assessments and Taxation website.
- Massachusetts - Search the corporate database provided on the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Corporations Division web site.
- Michigan - Michigan business names on the LARA web site.
- Minnesota - Active and inactive Minnesota business entities.
- Mississippi - Search for names of Mississippi business entities.
- Missouri - Find information about registered Missouri business names on the Secretary of State's site.
- Montana - Information you need to reserve a Montana business name.
- Nebraska - Verify registered Nebraska business names via the Secretary of State's web site.
- Nevada - Find names of Nevada businesses via the Secretary of State's office.
- New Hampshire - Find business names on the New Hampshire Corporation Division web site.
- New Jersey - Everything you need to know about business names in this state via New Jersey Business Gateway Services.
- New Mexico - Names of New Mexico corporations and Limited Liability Companies on the state's Public Regulation Commission web site.
- New York - Search New York Corporation and Business Entity Database.
- North Carolina - North Carolina corporation names on the Secretary of State's site.
- North Dakota - Conduct a business records search via the official portal for North Dakota's government.
- Ohio - See the name availability guide on the Ohio Secretary of State's web site.
- Oklahoma -name availability and Ohio business entities via the Secretary of State's online portal.
- Oregon: - Corporations Division of the Secretary of State.
- Pennsylvania - Names of Pennsylvania business entities on the Department of State's web site.
- Rhode Island - Check the availability of Rhode Island business names on the Secretary of State's web site.
- South Carolina -- Names of registered South Carolina corporations from the state's business filings database.
- South Dakota - Search the official database of active and inactive South Dakota corporations.
- Tennessee - Use the business information search feature on the website of the Tennessee Secretary of State.
- Texas - Information needed to register business names in Texas on the Secretary of State's online portal.
- Utah - Verify Utah business name availability via the Utah Department of Commerce web site.
- Vermont - Search for registered Vermont business names via the Secretary of State's web site.
- Virginia - Search for the names of Virginia business entities via the state's Clerk's Information System (CIS) database.
- Washington - Utilize the corporations search feature on the official web site for Washington's office of the Secretary of State.
- West Virginia - West Virginia company names on the Secretary of State's online Business Organization Information System.
- Wisconsin - Visit the State of Wisconsin's Department of Financial Institutions website to conduct a name availability search.
- Wyoming - Search for business names at Wyoming's online business entity search.
After the Business Name Search
Once you've determined whether or not the business name you want to utilize is available, you'll be able to proceed with filing the appropriate paperwork necessary to get your new business venture up and running.