How to Choose an LLC Name (Step by Step Process + Tips)

Starting an LLC kicks off with a critical step- selecting your LLC’s name. This operation isn’t just about branding; it’s integral to your company’s lawful identity. Much like naming a child, it calls for deliberation, contemplation, and a dash of inventiveness.

This guide shares expert tips any small business owner can use when selecting an LLC’s legal name that navigates legal expectations, meets business law stipulations, and best reflects their business operations.

We’ve been down this road many, many times and are here to help. Welcome aboard on the journey to name your LLC!

Brief Outline

  • Understanding different state laws, and necessary terms, and avoiding prohibited words is crucial when looking for a legal name for your business.
  • Select unique, flexible, and internet-friendly LLC name ideas with backup options in case the first choice is taken.
  • Naming your business includes doing a trademark inquiry, checking state name availability, and reserving your name.

How to Choose a Name for Your LLC

Choosing an official LLC name requires considering uniqueness, relevance, legal compliance, and web compatibility. Ensure it’s unique, meaningful to your business, adheres to state naming rules, and has a corresponding available domain for an online presence.

Let’s take a closer look at the process!

How to Make Sure Your Business Name is Legal

Forming a limited liability company (LLC) involves more than just choosing an LLC name. It’s a genuine demonstration of a deep commitment to your business entity.

It needs due diligence, considering the legal intricacies involved, and an overall understanding of the business landscape. But before you get creative, it is important to understand how you can create a legal business name.

Look for Compliance with Laws in Different States

The first element in your journey toward establishing an LLC is understanding the various laws that govern business names. In our hands-on exploration, we found that every state in the United States has its set of rules outlined by its secretary of state.

For instance, the LLC name must be unique to your business entity and not closely resemble other LLC names already in use. This process requires carrying out an LLC name search using the state’s business name database.

Additionally, your chosen name should not infringe any existing trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

It’s worth noting that while you might get approval for your desired name in one state, other states might consider it unfit. Hence, a good name should factor in these legal guidelines for an easier filing process across all states.

Include the Correct Required Words in Your Business Name

Most states require the inclusion of certain words in your LLC’s official name. For instance, the phrase ‘Limited Liability Company’ or its abbreviation (LLC, L.L.C., LLC, L.C., LC, or Ltd. Liability Co.) should be part of your chosen LLC name.

It’s also crucial that your web domain, business license, marketing materials, trade name, and social media sites reflect the same name, enhancing the uniformity and trust of your business structure.

Avoid Prohibited or Restricted Words

The final consideration when choosing a company name is the avoidance of prohibited words. Many regions have strict rules around using certain words that may mislead the public or infringe upon certain protected categories.

For instance, words like ‘bank,’ ‘insurance agency,’ or ‘university,’ might necessitate additional paperwork due to their regulated nature.

In our experience, ensuring your chosen name does not include any prohibited or regulated words will smooth the process for legal documents, solidify your LLC’s reputation, and eliminate unnecessary delays in obtaining business approval from regulatory authorities.

4 Tips for Choosing a Great LLC Name

When it comes to the selection of your LLC name, there are a few critical aspects you should focus on. After thorough research, we’ve established four pivotal points you must consider to ensure your business name is not only apt but ready to cater to a modern business environment.

1. Aim for a Memorable and Meaningful Name

The heart of your business, your LLC name, should resonate with your company’s essence and connect with your desired audience. A memorable and meaningful name lets you hold a distinct position in the market.

For instance, if your firm is an insurance company, an LLC name example like ‘Secure Horizon Insurance’ can be a striking choice. It’s descriptive and suggests your business’s function, allowing potential customers to quickly connect with your services.

2. Consider an Assumed Name if Your Preferred Name is Unavailable

You might come across situations where your preferred LLC name is already registered by another business entity. Don’t fret; consider an assumed name, also known as a DBA (Doing Business As) name.

For instance, if your desired ‘Secure Horizon Insurance’ is taken, you could operate under a similar name like ‘Secure Haven Insurance’ and use ‘Secure Horizon Insurance’ as your fictitious name. Staying flexible ensures your operations aren’t halted by mere naming conventions.

3. Prepare Your LLC Name For a Modern Business Environment

In today’s digital world, a good LLC name should be social media-friendly and easy to search. A unique business name that’s simple, easy to spell, and remember can effortlessly boost your online presence.

According to this study, business names reflect social change by integrating words that are of interest at the moment. Make sure you choose an LLC name that is modern enough to appeal to your market segment.

4. Ensure Your Business Name is Domain-Name Ready

Lastly, ensure that your chosen LLC name is available as a domain name for your website. This step will ensure consistency across your business entities, and it will be easier for customers to find your business online.

Use a domain name checker to verify the availability. This way, your chosen name can maintain its digital identity.

Important Steps in the Business Naming Process

Choosing the perfect legal name for your LLC involves three crucial steps designed to ensure the legal validity, uniqueness, and availability of your desired entity name. Let’s delve into the specifics.

1. Conduct a Trademark Search

If your proposed name is similar to another company’s name, the latter might legally challenge your right to use it.

Avoiding such a scenario by simply making a trademark search could save your limited company from exhausting court battles or hefty fines, preserve your brand image, and avert customer confusion.

Our expertise in this field allows us to conclude that this step is invaluable in preventing potential legal complications down the line. 

2. Perform a State Name Check

Next, look up an LLC name by performing a state name check. Our expert analysis indicates that many states require your new LLC’s entity name to differ from existing registered businesses.

Check availability at your state’s office; different rules apply, and some might allow minor variations in spellings, different articles, e.g., ‘the’, ‘a’, or certain punctuation in LLC names.

Nonetheless, it’s wise to avoid closely similar names to prevent confusion and protect your brand.

3. Reserve Your Legal Name to Buy Time 

Finally, reserve your name. Once you’ve found a unique and apt name, reserve it. This naming convention will provide you with a window of time (varies by state law) to prepare your official LLC’s formation documents – Articles of Organization and avoid someone else registering your perfect name.

Filing fees apply, typically less than $50, and while a DBA name might not require this step, it’s a wise insurance policy for new limited liability companies.

Looking for a Name for Your LLC – Where to Start

Naming your LLC is an exciting venture. You’ll find exceptional name search resources on any reputable business formation company’s website; these services can also assist you in launching your LLC.

Think of a company name to ensure it abides by legal requirements, is original, and attracts clients. Check your name’s availability, considering domain names and any potential switch from your sole proprietorship to a new LLC.

Lastly, make sure to check our ultimate guide on how to form an LLC, perfectly crafted for your new business journey.

It is brimming with tips, from filing paperwork with state agencies or state office, legal name reservation strategies, drafting an operating agreement to protect your personal assets, and more.


Thomas Wilson

Thomas Wilson

An accomplished business guru, our CEO holds a degree from Philadelphia's esteemed Fox School of Business, accredited by AACSB. With a knack for practicality, they've orchestrated the launch of diverse small enterprises and guided fellow entrepreneurs in optimizing their ventures. Trust their seasoned insights for invaluable advice tailored to new businesses and LLCs.