A Maryland business entity search is required when creating your Maryland business. In the state of Maryland, the Department of Assessments and Taxation, or DAT, is responsible for overseeing a business’s creation and management. Therefore, people will want to utilize the DAT website to search entity names.

What Steps Do I Take to Search for a Maryland LLC and Create a Name for My Business?

  1. Visit the Maryland DAT website.
  2. Use the search tool to identify the information you are looking for on a particular entity, whether that business is active or inactive. For those wanting to start a new business, this search tool is especially important to identify what names are/aren’t available for use. The status of a company can be listed in one of several ways, including but not limited to: Active, Inactive, Dissolved, Merged, etc.
  3. When running a search, you can find additional information on the entity, including the LLC’s address, registered agent, date of creation, as well as other important contact information.
  4. Once you’ve chosen a name for your business, you should check the URL to see if the name of your new LLC is available as a URL. While this is not a requirement, it is an important step to take if you’d like to have a URL matching your LLC name.

What Should I Name My LLC?

  • Your LLC must end with “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.”
  • Your LLC name must be distinguishable. Therefore, it must be wholly unique. For example, if you want to name your LLC as “Lucy’s Cleaning Services, LLC” but you found another similar name of “Lucy’s Cleaning Services, Inc.” While this entity is incorporated as opposed to operating as an LLC, you cannot use this name.
  • Your LLC cannot indicate that it operates as a corporation. Similarly, you cannot identify your business by including words like “Corporation,” “Corp,” “Incorporated,” or “Inc.”
  • Ensure that your LLC is easy to spell. If the business’s name is easier to spell, more people will find it when searching online.
  • Keep the name of your LLC short. The shorter the name, the more people are likely to remember it.
  • Don’t use a negative term in your business’s name. You’ll want your business to provide a positive outlook, particularly since no one will know what kind of business you have until they utilize you for your products or services.

What Are the Basic Steps in Starting My Business?

There are many steps to take in order to start your business. These steps, while challenging, will be beneficial to you once you’ve successfully gone through the steps and have your business up and running.

You’ll need to have the knowledge and understanding of running a business. You’ll also want to understand the financial aspects of running a business as well as local/state/federal tax requirements. You’ll also need to have excellent communication skills. Even if you are operating as a one-person LLC, you will still be required to communicate with your clients. This is especially important if you want your clients to come back again and give positive feedback to friends and family.

Most importantly, you’ll need to have some understanding as to the legal aspects of running your business.

Step 1. Research. Before you even choose a name, you’ll want to research what type of industry you want to operate your business in. Does it make sense? Will it be profitable? What does the competition look like?

Step 2. Choose a Name. Not only will you choose your name (where you will utilize the above-mentioned material to find a name that is available, along with the requirements), but you will also register that name appropriately within the state of Maryland.

Step 3. Trademark Your Business Name (Optional). If you want to file a trademark on your business’s name, you’ll need to first perform a search on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website to ensure that there isn’t a similar or identical name already protected by a trademark.

Step 4. Create a Business Plan. You’ll want to have a plan in place ahead of time so that you can easily move into the operation stage of running your business. In order to operate, you’ll need a plan that has already been created, revised, and ready to go.

Step 5. Pick a Location. For example, if you are going to open a new restaurant, where will it be located? How about a real estate office? You’ll want to check out the areas within the state that you want to operate in to find out which area is best suited for your needs.

Step 6. Create a Website Name. As previously noted, if you want your website to be identical to your LLC name, then you’ll want to run a search and see if that domain name is available prior to registering your business name.

Step 7. Choose the Type of Business. Do you want to operate as an LLC, partnership, or corporation?

Step 8. Find Professionals. Choose an accountant for tax assistance and find a licensed and qualified attorney who can help you along the way.

Step 9. Manage Recordkeeping. This is where an accountant can come in handy. You’ll want to keep all records for auditing purposes.

Step 10. Obtain a Federal Business Identification Number. This is required for tax purposes. It can easily be obtained online for free.

Step 11. Obtain State Business Identification Number. This is another requirement at the Maryland state level to run your business.

Step 12. Obtain all Necessary Permits/Licensing. This will depend on the type of business you operate.

If you need help with running a Maryland business entity search or setting up your business in the State of Maryland, 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.