How do I know if my business name is already taken?
Checking the availability of a business name is very simple and straightforward. Here are the steps:
1. Choose a name
2. Conduct a search - you will need to run a search of the business records in your particular state. The easiest way to do this is to go to Google and search "entity search <your state>." For example, if you are in Texas you would search "entity search Texas" on Google. Typically the very first search result will link to the governmental agency that provides public information about limited liability companies. Follow this first link and perform a search of your proposed name.
If there are no similar names then you are probably clear to use your chosen name. Each state has unique criteria for determining whether names are similar. In general, if your name is one word and there are no direct hits then you can most likely use this name. Otherwise you probably can't and shouldn't use the name. If your name has more than one word and there is already another business using all the same word then your name is already taken. If your name contains a word that distinguishes it from the other names in your search results then you can most likely use the name.
If you are unsure about your proposed name, you can always ask a lawyer by clicking on the link below.