An LLC name check is an important step in forming a new business. When done right, it will save you from unnecessarily wasting your effort, time, and money.

General Naming Rules

Choosing the right name for your LLC isn't easy given that it will serve as your public identity for years. 

  • Your business name must attract clients, stand out, be easy to remember, and describe the products offered. Also, it shouldn't infringe on another business's copyrights
  • The name must be short, be easy to spell, not appear too old or too young, so clients can relate and find your business with ease. 
  • Don't restrain your company's growth by naming it after the location. 
  • You don't need a clever name; rather you want a name that will make sense to your target clientele and will be searchable online. 
  • To avoid getting confused with another business and to preserve your reputation, perform an LLC name search to make sure you aren't violating any copyright laws by having a name similar to another business's name. You can search your name by simply googling it, checking Yellow Pages, and searching your state's business site. 
  • A name search will also help you with acquiring a preferred domain name, which will likely be a slight variation of your business name. For your domain, it's best to have a succinct phrase that describes your business best. 

Name Check

According to state law, your LLC name cannot be the same or similar to another LLC, LP, or corporation's name in the state.

Typically, you can reserve your chosen name for a fee.

Make sure to check your name availability before reservation and before filing your formation documents, so you don't waste time, effort, and money on a name that is already taken. 

Name Check in Illinois

The name you choose for your company must be distinct from other corporation and LLC names. You may call 217-524-8008 to check an LLC name availability or search the state's LLC database by file number or name. You can also view a File Detail Report on an LLC and get a Certificate of Good Standing on the company. 

The File Detail Report on an LLC contains its legal name, date of formation, duration, jurisdiction, and registered agent's information. It also tells you how the company is managed. It gives the last date of an Annual Report filing indicative of the business's good or bad standing. 

If the company adheres to all the requirements, you can obtain a Certificate of Good Standing for $45 for-profit companies or for $16 for nonprofit organizations

For name reservation, file a Name Reservation, form LLC-1.15. 

Name Check in New Jersey

According to the state law of New Jersey, a new business name must be distinct from other businesses' names. Check the names on the state's business site to see if the name you chose is available. Make sure to spell the name exactly to pull up the right results. 

If your name is already taken by another business, your registration documents will be rejected without the fee reimbursement. If you learn that your chosen name is not available, make sure to pick another name for your business. 

Out-of-state businesses that need permission to do business in New Jersey must check if their legal name is available in New Jersey. If the name is already taken, you must register under an available DBA (“doing business as”) name specifically for New Jersey. On your documents, you must list your legal name followed by the fictitious name. The option to use a DBA name is only offered to foreign businesses. You must submit a paper copy of your DBA registration forms.

If you are not ready to file your formation documents, you can reserve your business name for a fee. The period of reservation varies for different types of businesses

Name Check in California

Check for companies with names that are identical or similar to the one you chose for your business on the California secretary of state's business site. If your search returns a positive result, brainstorm for another name for your company to make sure that your business won't get confused with another company.

Before the search, make sure to acquaint yourself with the naming rules for LLCs in California: 

  1. The name must include an LLC identifier: “LLC,”, “L.L.C.,” “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Liability Co.,” “Ltd. Liability Co.,” or “Ltd. Liability Company.”
  2. The words not allowed in the names are “trust,” “trustee,” “corporation,” “corp.,” “bank,” and “inc.”
  3. Avoid using any words related to insurance.

If you need more information on performing an LLC name check, 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.