Updated October 30, 2020:

To check LLC name availability in Florida, you will need to conduct a thorough search prior to filing your paperwork. This can be done on the Florida Division of Corporations website.

When forming your LLC in the state of Florida, the first and most important step will be choosing your name. Your LLC name must meet certain requirements and be distinguishable from any other registered entity. 

On the Florida Division of Corporations website, you can conduct a search using:

  • The entity name 
  • The officer name 
  • The registered agent name 
  • The partner name
  • The FEI/EIN (federal employer identification number)
  • The document number

This search can be completed free of charge.

Searching the Florida Name Database

To begin, head over to the "Entity Name Search" page here

Input your desired name into the search box and don't worry about capitalization. To make sure that you are conducting a thorough search, include the first one or two words of your desired name. That way, you will be able to see everything similar to that name. You can even input only part of the first word to complete an even more thorough search. 

For example, if you would like to call your business "Printing For You" — simply enter "print" on its own.

Once you click "search now," you will be able to see all of the existing Florida-based businesses. This will help you determine whether your desired name is available. If you are unsure, you can always file the required paperwork with the state. If your name is too similar to another business, you will be notified that your name needs to be changed. 

This is why you must complete this step before you invest in a domain or any marketing material. 

Searching the Florida Name Database: Search By Name

If you plan to search by a potential name, you can head to the "Partnership Name" search. This is intended for all general partnerships, limited liability companies, and all other entity types. Once again, you can enter the full name or just part of your desired name. 

If similar entities are displayed, you can click on them to find out more. On this detailed page, you will be able to access information such as the EIN for your LLC, the principal address, its status, and even information from annual reports. You also have the option to search by officer/partner/registered agent name or by a federal employer identification number. 

Florida LLC Name Requirements

When forming an LLC, you must include "limited liability" or "LLC" in the name. Other abbreviations are also possible, including "L.L.C." Since you will not be forming a corporation, the use of "corporation" or "incorporated" are prohibited. Your name MUST be distinguishable — differences in grammar do not count. 

Entity Name Search Status

If your search yields names that are currently "active" — they are NOT available for use. Even if the company's status is "INACT/UA," the name may or may not be available. In some cases, a company may be displayed as inactive because they are not currently in good standing. For example, they may not have filed their annual report. These names are generally available within one year.

The same is true regarding "inactive" companies. Although the company was likely voluntarily dissolved, this does not automatically mean that the name is available for use. You may also come across the following two statuses:

  • "NAME HS" — This means that a company changed its name, and their original name may or may not be available. 
  • "CROSS RF" — Once again, when there is a cross reference name, it may not be available for use. 

Setting Up a DBA in Florida

Before filing a DBA or "doing business as," search the Fictitious Name database. If the name you want is available, you can proceed with the registration process. Florida offers an online fictitious name registration service. Please ensure that you fully understand the various laws currently in place before you register. You can read all general information here

Once the DBA is registered, it will be valid for five years. However, once the DBA has expired, you can file for renewal. 

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