1. How to Search the Business Name Database
2. Searching by File Number
3. Guidelines on LLC Name Availability

A Minnesota LLC name search is a way for you to look up information on existing businesses, as well as check the availability of a business name you want to use. You can conduct a search online using different search criteria.

How to Search the Business Name Database

You don't have to be a business owner to perform an LLC name search. Other individuals who might want to look up information include inquisitive consumers or business affiliates. As long as you conduct your search correctly, you'll be able to find all information that's publicly available on a business.

You can also use a business search to acquire a Certificate of Good Standing. The fee is $15.

You have two ways to conduct a search in the business database, such as the following: 

  • File number
  • Business name

Visit the state's Business Entities Search page.

In the “Business Name” box, enter the business name you're searching for. To get the maximum number of results, select “100” in the drop-down menu for “Results per page.” You don't need to include any designators at the end of the name, such as LLC, or any punctuation. You can also omit any capitalization.

To get the most results, only enter the first one or two words of the LLC name you're searching. This way, you'll see anything that's potentially similar. For example, if you're checking business name availability and you want to use the LLC name “Three Peach Farm LLC,” enter “three peach.”

For a more thorough search, enter only part of the first word of the business name. For example, enter “print” if your desired business name is “Printing Power, LLC.”

Click “Search,” and look through the results list of existing businesses.

If you want further information on a specific business that shows up, click the “Details” link next to that entity name. You'll see publicly available information. It also allows access to the entity's Certificate of Good Standing and its filing history.

If you see an LLC name that's exactly the same as the one you want to use, your business name isn't available. You'll either need to come up with a brand new name or some unique variation of the original name. You also won't be able to use a business name that's deceptively similar to an existing name. Again, you'll have to be creative in thinking up a variation or choosing another name altogether. As long as you don't find any names that are too similar to the one you wish to use, your name is distinguishable and therefore available.

The easiest way to find this out is if you get a message of “Sorry, no results” after typing in a name.

Searching by File Number

You can also search by file number. On the Business Entities Search page, select the “File Number” tab. Enter the file number, and click “Search.”

This is a more specific way to search. As long as you entered the file number correctly, you'll get only one matching result. You'll go straight to the information page for that entity, where you'll find publicly available information, Certificate of Good Standing, and the filing history.

If you're not confident that your desired business name is truly unique and distinguishable, go ahead and submit your paperwork to the state. If your desired LLC name isn't available, the state will return your filing to you and inform you that you need to choose another name. 

When you find a suitable name for your LLC, you're then ready to choose your company's registered agent.

Guidelines on LLC Name Availability

The business name you choose has to differ by at least one numeral or letter from existing business names.

If you file an “Assumed Business Name,” also called "doing business as" or DBA, the state doesn't check for other assumed business names. It's perfectly legal to have the same or similar assumed name as another business.

Checking business name availability should be one of your first steps when forming an LLC, and the state makes it simple to look up this information. You can also use the name search to find relevant information on a business you're curious about.

If you need help with an LLC name search in Minnesota or another state, 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.