How to Check if a Desired LLC Name is Available for Use

Perform a Colorado business entity search using the state's online database to see if your preferred LLC name is available for use. The Colorado Secretary of State business database allows users to look up businesses in the following ways:

  • Name
  • Trade name
  • Trademark
  • ID number
  • Document number

Performing an advanced search allows you to narrow down the results, which is useful if you're verifying that your chosen business name is available. When performing an advanced search, you can view detailed information about the businesses on file. If any existing business appears that is similar to your chosen LLC name, you won't be able to register it and will need to come up with a new one.

In the search function, you will see a column next to the registered business that reflects the business' status. Some statuses may make it sound as if the business is no longer around, but this doesn't necessarily mean the name is up for grabs. You should still choose a unique LLC name to avoid legal issues with other companies.

When searching the Colorado state's database, enter your preferred LLC name without any “LLC” or “L.L.C.” designators. Whether you capitalize words isn't important, as the search will return results regardless. You should enter your preferred LLC name next to the “Business name, trademark, or trade name” feature on the website.

Once you have performed a search, the database will return a list of entities with similar names. Simply click on them to find out more information. The information will include the following:

  • The entity's ID number
  • Name
  • Document number
  • Event
  • Status
  • Form
  • Formation date

After the website generates the search results for your page, you can click on the ID number and review all public information concerning the entity. You will also have access to other functions, including the ability to buy a Certificate of Good Standing. Perform an advanced search to get as much information as possible.

If you encounter an overwhelming amount of search results, try searching again using more specific keywords. The database name search is free, so you can search as many names and variations as you can think of without worrying about being charged. Performing this search is an essential step before forming your LLC. Take plenty of time to perform the search to ensure nothing conflicts with your business.

State Contact Information

To contact the Colorado Secretary of State, call 303-894-2200, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Time. You can also email business@sos.state.co.us to get a quick reply.

Requirements and Restrictions in Forming an LLC Name

Every LLC name must include the words “Limited Liability Company” in some form, even if that means adding the abbreviation “LLC” or “L.L.C.” to the end of the name. For example, if you're starting a landscaping service and want to use the name “Fred's Landscaping,” you should file under the name “Fred's Landscaping, LLC.” However, your LLC name can in no way imply that it's a corporation. Do not use “corporation,” “corp.,” “inc.,” “incorporated,” or any similar words in your LLC name.

Your LLC name must be completely distinguishable from existing entities. As such, you cannot simply change an existing business name's punctuation or grammar, such as plural or possessive forms of a word, to make your own. For example, if you want to name your business “Acme Farm, LLC,” but you find the name “Acme Farms LLC” in the search result, you cannot use your preferred name. You also can't add words like “and,” “or,” or “&,” or throw in extra punctuation. Essentially, your LLC name must not be deceptively similar to another.

Tips for Forming an LLC Name

Your LLC name must be truly unique and unlike any other in the Colorado database. Keeping the following tips in mind can help:

  • Make the name easy to spell
  • Stick with shorter names that are easier to remember
  • Choose a name with positive connotations

What is a DBA?

When establishing your business, you may come across the term “DBA.” DBA stands for “doing business as,” and it indicates a company that uses a secondary name in Colorado. If you choose to use a DBA, you will need to file a DBA for the secondary name, which is also referred to as a trade name. You may need to use a DBA if you plan to operate under a different name from the business owner, need to open accounts under a trade name or avoid trademark infringement.

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