You’ll need to conduct a FL Secretary of State LLC Search before officially choosing your LLC business name. The name you choose must be distinguishable from any other name that is currently being used in the State of Florida.

Keep in mind that included in your business name should be the LLC business designator, i.e. LLC, L.L.C, Limited Liability Co., or Ltd. Liability Co. Furthermore, you cannot use terms like Corporation or Incorporated, or any variation thereof. The following items also do not create distinguishability in a business name:

  • Changing a current business name to use a singular, plural, or possessive version of a name that is already registered in the State of Florida
  • Using terms like A, An, The, And, Or, and &
  • Using hyphens, periods, commas, etc.
  • Using a written number versus alphanumerical (five vs. 5)

How to Conduct a Name Search

You can visit the Florida Secretary of State website to conduct a search on both current and previously used business names. You can also check to see if the name you want to use has an available URL. You might also want to consider using an identical e-mail address when choosing your business name. Having an identical URL and e-mail address could help clients find your business quicker.

When conducting your search, you’ll need to leave out the LLC business designator, along with any punctuation. Capitalization also doesn’t matter when inputting your business name. In order to find the proper results, you should search only on the first couple words in the business name. For example, if you want to use the company name “Happy Day Pumpkin Farm LLC,” then you should search only on the terms “Happy Day Pumpkin.” In order to uncover additional businesses, you can search on the terms “Happy Day.”

If you don’t find any similar or identical results to your name of choice, then you are free to use that name. However, if you find a name that is very similar or even identical, then you will need to brainstorm and choose a new name.

If you aren’t sure if the name is too similar, then you can simply file the paperwork to register, and if the Florida Secretary of State’s office believes that the name is too similar to yours, then they will reply as such.

Different Types of Statuses for Florida LLCs

There are different statuses that could show up in your search results, including the following:

  • Active
  • INACT, which means that the company was dissolved through an Administrative Dissolution. If you see this, then that name may or may not be available.
  • INACT/UA, which means that the name is not currently available, but will become available in one year. Usually a company has this status due to a failure to file an annual report.
  • InActive, which means that the company was voluntarily dissolved. If the business has this status in your search results, then the name may or may not be available.
  • INACT/CV, which means that the company became inactive due to a business structure conversion, i.e. LLC conversion to a corporation. In this case, the company name may or may not be available for use.
  • NAME HS, which means Name History, means that the company changed its name at some point. In this case, the company name may or may not be available for use.
  • CROSS RF, also referred to as cross reference, means that the company attempted to register in the State of Florida. However, at the time of doing so, the company name from its home states was not available in Florida. Therefore, the company would have to use an alternate name in order to conduct business in the State of Florida. Therefore, the alternate name that was registered created a ‘Cross Rf’ status. In these circumstances, the name may or may not be available.

If you find that the business name in your results has a status in which the name may or may not be available to you, then you can contact the Florida Secretary of State in order to find out if you can in fact use your desired name choice.

If you need help conducting a Florida Secretary of State LLC search, 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, Stripe, and Twilio.