How to Find an LLC: Everything You Need to Know
Knowing how to find an LLC is beneficial when you need to identify a potential customer or new competitor.3 min read
2. Finding an LLC Owner Online
3. LLC Search Tips
4. Obtain Status Reports, Document Copies, or Certificates
Knowing how to find an LLC is beneficial when you need to identify a potential customer or new competitor. Fortunately, a simple search of state records provides you with all the information you need about an LLC's owner and registered agent.
An Overview of Finding an LLC's Owner
Many businesses, large and small, operate under a limited liability company (LLC) structure. Performing a state record search allows you to research an LLC by seeing who is involved in the business and how you can better develop an updated competitive strategy to stay relevant in your industry.
Every LLC must register with a state agency. Because of this fact, your state may maintain a searchable database of LLC information online, allowing anyone to research a company's information to see if that LLC is in good standing. You can find this information on your Secretary of State's website or with the Department of Commerce. Search for a section pertaining to filings, business services, or database searches to begin.
If an LLC owner's name isn't listed in any database, you can file an Information Request with the Secretary of State. You will need to submit a written request for public documents and registrations and pay any required fees for the state agency to conduct the search for you and mail you the results.
Next, validate the information you receive from your search. In some cases, an LLC may have a point of contact who is an attorney instead of the actual business owner. When this occurs, you must get in touch with the registered contact person and continue your search from there.
Some states require all owners, or LLC members, to be listed on the business registration. Others only maintain records for the individual who filed documents. Depending on where you live and where you are researching an LLC, you may need to conduct further research to obtain more information.
Finding an LLC Owner Online
The first step toward finding an LLC owner online is to visit your Secretary of State's website. Just be sure you're conducting your search with the state office in which the LLC conducts business. If the company conducts business in multiple states, it should be registered in each state.
If you run into trouble, contact the Secretary of State and request the LLC's official name. You can even request a list of all registered businesses in the state, but most agencies charge a fee for this list.
Many Secretary of State databases allow you to view an LLC's Articles of Organization on the website. When provided, the Articles of Organization will list all relevant information regarding the LLC, including the members, the LLC's street address, and the name of its registered agent. If the Articles of Organization isn't available, view all available documents for information about the LLC's filing history.
LLC Search Tips
There are several tips to keep in mind when performing your LLC search:
- Do not include punctuation, even if the LLC name you're looking for includes initials
- Spaces matter, so enter the same LLC name as many ways as possible (i.e., “XYZ Company” and “X Y Z Company”)
- Plurals will also impact search results, so make sure you're entering plurals precisely how the LLC was registered (i.e., “XYZ Companies” vs. “XYZ Company”)
- Select any available advanced search options to narrow your results to LLCs
- Searching the entire range of business structures, including corporations and partnerships, may provide relevant information, such as LLC members who are part of other companies
- Review the search tips on your Secretary of State's website for specific information about how to enter the LLC name you're looking for
After you've obtained the information regarding the LLC in question, you can then perform additional searches on individual members.
Obtain Status Reports, Document Copies, or Certificates
Once you've performed your search, you may want to request a status report, copies of a certain document, or a certificate. For instance, you may need a Certificate of Status which certifies the LLC's current status.
Additional documents you may want to obtain include:
- Formation documents
- Registration documents
- Amendment documents
- Termination documents
- Statements of information
To obtain these documents, you will need to fill out the appropriate form with your Secretary of State. The website should provide instructions on submitting document requests as well as a list of applicable fees, but you can also contact the Secretary of State directly for this information.
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