How to check LLC availability is one thing many aspiring small business owners have no doubt wondered about. This mainly involves the use of the state’s LLC name search to see if the desired name for the limited liability company is available. Choosing an LLC name is one of the most important decisions any business owner will make, so it is best to proceed with much consideration. In the end, you want a name that is simple, memorable, and legal.

Choosing an LLC Name

But how does one choose their LLC name? One recommended way is to create a list of potential names, then put them up against the following questions to see which one answers each the best:

  • Is the name easy to spell? You’ll want people to be able to search for it, remember it, and find it with ease.
  • Is the name short? It is easier to remember short names than long ones and easier to refer short names to friends.
  • Is the name positive? When people think of your LLC name, they should get a good feeling about it.

Choosing an LLC name is not an exact science, but a name that more closely satisfies the above three questions is generally more likely to succeed. That said, these are not the only criteria to consider.

Choosing an LLC Name: Make It Memorable

A memorable name will stick in people’s heads, even if they don’t use your business. Wordplay can be one way to do this; alliteration (words starting with the same sound) is another. If you can get your name inside people’s heads and coming to mind before your competitor’s, you will have a leg up on the competition before customers even come in the door.

Choosing an LLC Name: Make It Meaningful

A meaningful name will give people an idea of what you do without any advertising. Joann and Jimmy’s Joyous Geegaws (note the alliteration) might seem like a fun name, but it hardly helps the customer understand what your business is. For the sake of your business, it is best to try to make your name as straightforward as possible.

Choosing an LLC Name: Make It Original

That said, there can be exceptions to this rule for certain situations. For instance, internet-based companies can often benefit from having original or unusual names. If your company is run through the internet, using an original name could help you stand apart from the competition and be more easy to remember. Research successful internet companies for ideas in this area.

Choosing an LLC Name: Make It Legal

The biggest hurdle to face when naming your company is making sure the name is legal. To do this, you will have to run it through your state’s LLC name search database (example), which will check to see if your name is available. Some specifications it will check your name against are:

  • That the name includes some variation of “Limited Liability Company” in it. “L.L.C.” and “LLC” are the two most common variations.
  • That the name contains no restricted words unless allowed. For instance, “Bank” is not allowed unless you have the proper paperwork; “Attorney” is not allowed unless you are an attorney or you have an attorney in your LLC.
  • That the name contains no prohibited words. Examples include “Treasury” and “Secret Service.” They are prohibited because you cannot imply that you are a part of the government when you are not.
  • That the name does not contain “Corporation,” or any variation thereof (“Corp.” or “Inc.,” for example). You cannot imply that your business is a corporation when it is not.

Is Your Name Taken?

It may so happen that you will go to all the effort of finding the seemingly perfect name, only to find that it is already taken by somebody else. Since no duplication of LLC names is allowed, you will have to find an alternative name. When doing so, you should remember that variations in the following do not create uniqueness:

  • Singular, plural, or possessive forms of words.
  • “A,” “An,” or “The.”
  • Periods, hyphens, commas, or other punctuation.
  • Use of digits as opposed to spelled-out numbers.

Also, when choosing a name, it is a good idea to see if an email address and web address are available and try to tailor your LLC name so that all three fit well together. You may not feel you need these now, but you may feel differently in the future. Also, you should consider that the internet is now a huge source of promotion and potential business, and an online presence is becoming more and more important than ever.

If you need help with how to check LLC availability, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.