How to Look up an LLC (Step by Step Business Search)

Navigating the corporate world can sometimes feel like traversing a labyrinth, especially when it comes to tracking down the details of a limited liability company (LLC).

Whether you’re a potential investor, a curious competitor, a prospective business partner, or simply an interested party, understanding how to accurately look up an LLC is a valuable skill.

With our extensive background in financial advisement, we’ll guide you through this process step-by-step, breaking down the complexities into manageable, easily understood components.

Let’s dive in and demystify the process of looking up an LLC.

Quick Summary

  • To find an LLC, identify the state where the business is registered. Then, you can use state-specific databases and verify resources like the Secretary of State website.
  • Business lookup databases, legal databases, and even online engines can provide you with complete information.
  • To successfully locate an LLC online, it’s important to spell everything correctly and know where to look.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Look Up an LLC

The most effective way to look up these LLCs is to go to the Secretary of State’s website where the LLC is registered.

The process involves using the website’s search functionality to find the desired LLC, using specific search elements such as entity name or mailing address.

1. Identify the LLC’s Registered State

Start by determining the state where the LLC activates. This information is crucial as each state operates its own database where all registered businesses, including limited liability companies and corporations, are listed.

For instance, if the LLC was founded in California, check the California Secretary of State’s website.

2. Locate the Search Bar on the State’s Website

On the state’s office website, locate the search box labeled “Business Entity Search” or “Corporation Search”.

Here, you can input the entity name of the LLC you wish to find.

3. Enter the Entity Name and Perform the Search

After entering the entity name, hit the ‘Search’ button. The result page will show a list of registered businesses matching your search criteria. This list includes both active entities and those that have been dissolved.

4. View the Details of the LLC

Click on the name of the LLC you’re interested in to view more details. You’ll be able to see the status of the LLC (active, inactive, or dissolved), the mailing address, and the date of formation, among other details.

5. Request Filed Documents if Necessary

To view filed documents such as Articles of Organization or annual reports, you may need to make a request or pay a small fee.

It’s important to mention that the accuracy of the information found depends on how regularly the LLC updates its information with the state’s office.

6. Conduct an Availability Search if LLC is Not Found

If, after performing an LLC lookup, you cannot find your desired LLC, you can check if the entity name is available for forming a new LLC.

Begin by navigating to your state office’s website, typically your Secretary of State’s (SOS) portal.

Here, you can generally find a selection box where you can input your proposed LLC name and hit the ‘search’ button.

Based on our comprehensive understanding, if the entity name is available, it means that the business has been dissolved or is not registered in that jurisdiction.

Where Can You Look Up an LLC Online?

There are numerous avenues available for looking up a business online, ranging from simple search engines to specialized databases. Let’s delve into how some of these tools can be used effectively.

Secretary of State Website

Typically, the first place to start when searching for a business is the State’s Secretary website where the business entity is enlisted.

Each state has its business entity database, listing all registered businesses under its jurisdiction.

This is a free resource, and you can search using various parameters such as the LLC’s name, address, or mailing address.

StateSecretary of State URL
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Business Lookup Databases

You can find LLCs online using business search databases. These sites gather information from various places so you can search for companies in different states. You can narrow your search to specific kinds of businesses, like LLCs, corporations, or partnerships.

Credit Bureaus

Credit bureaus, such as D&B Hoovers and Experian, compile information from both public and private sources. They specialize in performing searches for individual LLCs as well as identifying industry trends.

Legal Databases

Legal databases are another resource you can access. These databases contain comprehensive records of legal filings from various corporations.

Although access to some legal databases might involve getting a subscription, they offer comprehensive information about companies and limited partnerships, including past operations, approved resolutions, and more.

County Clerk’s Office Website

The County Clerk’s Office platform is another vital resource for looking up an LLC. Many county websites have a business entity search feature that lets you check the status of a business in that county.

Some sites may require you to enter a mailing address to receive search results.

Federal Agency Websites

Federal agency websites provide a wealth of information about business entities. This includes the U.S. Department of Commerce’s site, where you can request accurate information about national and international registered businesses.

Search Engines

In addition to the mentioned resources, search engines such as Google and Bing are useful for finding information about a company. While they may not always be accurate or up-to-date, they can provide helpful background details about a business.

Social Media

We have a proven track record of success with using social media to look up an LLC.

We often search for a company’s name on platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, which can provide us with insights into how the business is managed and what kind of services and products it offers.

Tips for Successful Online Lookup

Successfully looking up a business online requires some strategies to navigate the various databases and websites effectively. Here are a few tips to guide you through:

Correct Spelling Begins Your Search Right

Ensure that the name of the business you’re researching is spelled correctly. Even a minor spelling error when you enter the keyword can lead to unfruitful results. Select the correct names carefully in your browser to save time and effort.

See our article for more information on how long it usually takes to form an LLC.

Know Your Sources

Familiarize yourself with the different databases where you can look up active LLCs and corporations. Each platform has unique strengths, so choose based on the specific information you’re after. Often, these databases will have forms you can fill out to request information.

State-specific Searches via State Office Websites

According to a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there are over 33.2 million small businesses in the US, many of which are limited liability companies.

Remember that each state has its database, so knowing where the business is enlisted can significantly narrow down your search. State platforms are usually the best place to begin your search.

Utilize Advanced Search Options

Many websites offer extended search options that can help refine results by business mailing address (active/ inactive), location, industry, status, and more. Utilizing these features can make your search more precise and efficient.

Keep a Record and Email It to Yourself

Always keep a record of your findings. This can include screenshotting important web pages or writing down pertinent information. You can send an email to yourself with these records for easy access later.

Reservations About Information Accuracy

As a trusted resource in the industry, we recommend that if you have any doubts about the information you find, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional or directly contact the business for confirmation.

Final Words

In wrapping up, understanding the importance and process of performing an LLC lookup is crucial for successful business operations. This practice aids in making informed decisions, gaining strategic insights, and navigating the complex business world.

As shown in our exploration, a carefully executed search is not just about finding a business—it’s about unlocking valuable information that can shape your business’s future. Taking the time to master this process is a worthwhile investment for any business.

And if you are performing a search to explore business name availability before starting an LLC, make sure to check our article about the best LLC formation services in the US, which can help smooth things out for a small cost or even for free.

What if I Can’t Find the LLC I’m Looking For in the State’s Registry?

If you can’t find the LLC in the state’s registry, it’s possible it may not be registered in that state, or there could be a spelling or naming discrepancy.

Are There Any Fees Associated With Looking up an LLC?

Some states may charge a nominal fee for accessing LLC information online, while others provide it for free.

Here is more information on the price to open an LLC.

Are LLC Ownership Details Publicly Available?

In many states, the names of the LLC’s owners or members are part of the public record, but the level of detail may vary.

How Do I Determine the State in Which an LLC Is Registered?

You can usually find this information on official business documents, such as the LLC’s formation paperwork or its website.


Carla Baker

Carla Baker

With an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania and a proven track record, our Co-Founder brings expert guidance to new small businesses and LLCs. Her portfolio showcases a history of successfully launching and managing diverse ventures, while her passion lies in empowering others to navigate the world of business.