1. LLC Search California
2. Submitting a Name Availability Inquiry Letter
3. Business Search Tips
4. Searching by Entity Number

LLC Search California

There are many reasons to conduct an LLC search in California, including needing to find out additional information regarding the status of a California LLC, obtaining information regarding the registered agent, or finding out if the company is in good standing. Mostly, such business searches are conducted if you want to form a California LLC and need to know if you can conduct a business name search to find out if you can use the business name that you want to use.

If you need to conduct a business entity search, you will visit the California Secretary of State website to search by either the business name or entity number (8 digits). There is a user-friendly entity search that is built into the larger California Secretary of State website. You can filter your search for a specific type of business structure, including corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLC), Limited Partnerships (LP), and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP).

Submitting a Name Availability Inquiry Letter

To check on the availability of a business name, you’ll have to submit a Name Availability Inquiry Letter. Certain information must be included on the form, including your name, address, phone number, business type, and three different business name choices. You’ll then submit your inquiry to the California Secretary of State, located at c/o Name Availability Unit, 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Keep in mind that when you choose 3 business names, you’ll have to first take a look at the requirements for naming your California LLC. These rules can be found in California Corporation Code Section 11701.08. Some of the rules include:

• Your business name must have the LLC designator. Therefore, the business must end in L.L.C., LLC, Limited Liability Co, Limited Liability Company, Ltd. Liability Co., or Ltd. Liability Company.

• You cannot include certain terms like bank, corporation, Corp, incorporated, Inc., trust, or trustee as this would give the impression that you operate a different type of business structure.

• You also cannot use certain terms like Dentist, Doctor, Attorney, School, Insurance Company, Insurer, or other words that suggest you operate in this industry, unless you actually have the required educational background and licensing to conduct such work.

Business Search Tips

After you’ve conducted your California LLC search, you’ll receive results containing all businesses that match your initial search terms. In addition to the business names, you’ll also see the entity number corresponding to each business, along with the date in which the business was formed, the status of the business, and registered agent information.

But in order to have a proper list of business entity results, there are tips that you should keep in mind regarding your business entity search, including the following:

• Do not include punctuation in your search. For example, when searching on “A.B. Co.” you’ll want to search “AB Company.”

• Leave in spaces if the business name you want to use has spaces. For example, If there are spaces in between A and B in the company name you want to use, then you will search “A B Company.”

• If the company uses a plural, such as “services,” then you will need to keep that name in to get the proper results. Otherwise, searching on the term “service” will not provide the correct results you are looking for.  

There are additional search tips that can be found on the California Secretary of State website in the Business Search section.

Searching by Entity Number

In order to search by the entity number, you will enter the 8 digit business number, which always begins with the letter C. If you input the correct business number, then the business associated with that entity number will be identified in the results. If you need more information on that business, simply click on the business name and you will be redirected to a page that provides additional information on that entity.

If you need help forming your California LLC, or need help conducting a California 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, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.