California LLC Name Search – How to Name Your LLC

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Forming an LLC requires a different business name, which must be unique and adheres to the guidelines. The great thing is California’s Secretary of State page includes a name availability checker. Check out LLC Name Search to learn more.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in learning more about starting a California LLC or forming an LLC in general, you can check out How to Start an LLC.

How to Name an LLC in California

Time needed: 10 minutes

There are guidelines to follow in forming an LLC. To learn more, check out LLC Naming Guidelines or read Foreign LLC Application for Registration if you’re planning to register a foreign LLC.

  1. Check Name Availability

    Search the Business Entity Records in California’s Official Secretary of State page to check if your chosen business name is available. You may also try typing your trademark, business, or domain name on any search engine to generate businesses with similar names and to ensure your trademark is unique and meets the state’s requirements.

    Check out How to File a DBA to learn more about registering a DBA or trademark. For social media pages, use Social Searcher to avoid using similar page names.

  2. Check Domain Availability

    If your business name is still available, you must register for a domain name using Namecheap, Google Workspace, or other domain name sites. So customers can easily find your business over the Internet. Use the Kinsta app to manage your domains efficiently.

  3. File Name Reservation

    A Name Reservation Certificate is required along with a Certificate of Formation. You can reserve a name online, by mail, or in-person with a $10 filing fee (plus tax for online).

    File your Certificate of Formation and Name Reservation online on the Secretary of State Online Services page of California. You may also download the pdf file of the Name reservation form and submit it with the processing fee to Secretary of State Business Services P.O. Box 5616, Montgomery, California 36103-5616.

Guidelines to Follow in Naming LLC

  •  Use a business name with the abbreviation “LLC” or the phrase “Limited Liability Company.” 
  • Your decided business name must not coincide with any existing government entity. Otherwise, you might have to face legal lawsuits when filing your LLC.
  • Use the LLC name availability checker to ensure your business name is unique.
  • Get a license first if you plan on using restricted words to avoid any complications.

Note that you must put adequate effort into naming your LLC because this name will be with your business for a long time. Making your LLC name unique is vital as it would prevent people from confusing your business with others, not to mention it would be easier for them to recall your business, products, or services.

How To Do a California Name Search Online

LLC name is one crucial part of forming an LLC in California. To continue with the name you have decided for your LLC, you need to go to the Business Entity Search website to check for the business name availability.

There are three ways you can search for business entity names online while forming a California LLC. Here are the following ways,

Search by Corporation Name

The first option you will get is to Search by “Corporation Name”. In here, enter the corporation name you are looking for in the ‘Search Criteria’ box. You can select the ‘Exact’ option or ‘Keyword’ to find that particular name in California. Hit the ‘Search’ button to get the list of Entities with the same/similar names in California. 

California Name Search 1

Search by LP/LLC Name

The next option to search business name is ‘LP/LLC Name’ search. Enter the LLC name you are searching for in the box given and hit the search button to get the list of entities with the same/similar names in the state. Like Corporation Name search, you can select whether to search by ‘Exact’ name, ‘Keyword’ or ‘Begin with’ the name you are looking for.

California Name Search 2

Search by Entity Number

Entity number is the unique identification number given to the formed entity in California. It is an alpha-numeric 8-digit number starting with the letter ‘C’. To search by Entity Number, you have to enter the exact number to search. 

California Name Search 3

In these three ways, one can go for Business Entity Search in California. Once the name search is done, you can register your LLC name in California by getting the Name Reservation Request Form. 

How Do I Reserve an LLC Name in California

To reserve an LLC name in California you need to submit a name reservation request form to the California Secretary State by mail, in person or online by paying a filing fee of $10.

How Do I Reserve an LLC Name in California

Starting a business is a dream that many entrepreneurs in California have. However, getting a business off the ground involves several crucial steps, such as choosing a suitable and unique name for your limited liability company (LLC). Traditionally, choosing a name involved investing a substantial amount of time in research to determine its availability and legality. However, thanks to California’s streamlined and efficient process, you can now skip that and directly reserve an LLC name in the state.

So, how do you go about reserving an LLC name in California? Well, it’s a fairly straightforward process that can be completed online within a matter of minutes. First and foremost, you must visit the website of the California Secretary of State. The website serves as a portal to various resources and services related to establishing and maintaining a business in the state. On the website, you will find a dedicated section for reserving an LLC name.

Once you are on the appropriate page, you will be prompted to enter the desired name that you wish to reserve for your LLC. It is essential to have at least three different name choices in mind, as they may already be taken or considered too similar to existing names. Take your time to think of alternatives beforehand to avoid any frustrations while choosing.

While submitting your name choices, you may also be required to pay a small fee, typically around $20. This fee allows you to reserve a name for your LLC for a non-renewable period of 60 days. However, it is essential to keep in mind that reserving a name does not automatically ensure the name’s availability for use in all cases. The Secretary of State office still has the authority to reject your name reservation application, especially if it violates any existing regulations or is too similar to an already registered name.

To increase your chances of successfully reserving the name, it’s advisable to conduct a preliminary name availability search before filing your application. This search ensures that the proposed name is unique and not already being used by another registered business entity in California. Although the preliminary search isn’t compulsory, conducting it can save you time, effort, and money.

Furthermore, since the reservation period is only 60 days, it is important not to delay your LLC registration processes after reserving the name. During this reservation period, you must register your LLC with the California Secretary of State, and any delay might hamper your plans. The initial name reservation comes in handy during this registration process, ensuring that your desired name isn’t claimed by someone else while you’re completing the necessary paperwork.

In conclusion, reserving an LLC name in California has been made convenient and user-friendly thanks to the state’s online system. Though there is a small fee involved, the process is relatively quick and eliminates the need for extensive name research prior to reservation. However, it’s important to note that reserving a name doesn’t guarantee its availability for your LLC, and complying with any rejection or similarity issues is a must. Therefore, aspiring business owners in California can easily take the first step towards establishing their LLC by choosing a suitable name and reserving it promptly through the Secretary of State’s website.


What is a Trade Name?

A trade name (doing business as (DBA) name) is the official name under which a proprietor or company chooses to do business.

Is having a domain name necessary?

Having a domain isn’t necessary, but it is recommended. If you have a domain name, customers will find you more accessible through online means with your online website.

What if my name is unavailable?

For domestic LLC, you can simply brainstorm for another name if the one you pick is no longer available. For foreign LLC, you must think up a “fictitious name,” which you’ll use only in the state.

In Conclusion

LLC names are important as it is the main identity of your business. While naming your LLC make sure to choose the one that suits the nature of your business. Follow the naming guidelines before you start filing your LLC name

About Author & Editorial Staff

Steve Goldstein, founder of LLCBuddy, is a specialist in corporate formations, dedicated to guiding entrepreneurs and small business owners through the LLC process. LLCBuddy provides a wealth of streamlined resources such as guides, articles, and FAQs, making LLC establishment seamless. The diligent editorial staff makes sure content is accurate, up-to-date information on topics like state-specific requirements, registered agents, and compliance. Steve's enthusiasm for entrepreneurship makes LLCBuddy an essential and trustworthy resource for launching and running an LLC.

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