One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your Florida LLC.
Checking the LLC name availability in Florida is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other Florida businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.
Our Florida LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in Florida, and how to reserve and register your business name.
How to Search for a Florida LLC Name
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in Florida.
Step 1: Follow the Florida LLC Naming Guidelines
The first step is to ensure that your chosen name complies with the requirements of Florida’s LLC naming guidelines as listed below:
- The name of the LLC must include either “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations, such as “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or “Ltd. Liability Co.”
- The name must be distinguishable from the names of other business entities already on file with the Florida Division of Corporations.
- The name cannot contain language stating or implying that the LLC is organized for a purpose other than what is stated in its Articles of Organization.
- Certain words and phrases, such as “bank,” “trust,” “university,” and “insurance,” require additional documentation in order to be approved by the Division of Corporations.
- The name cannot imply that the LLC is organized for any purpose requiring a professional license, such as accounting, legal services, or medical services.
- The name must not contain any obscene, indecent, or offensive words or phrases.
- The name cannot contain the phrase “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” or any of their abbreviations (“Corp.,” “Inc.,” etc.).
- The name must end with an acceptable business entity identifier such as “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or “Limited Liability Company.”
Selecting a name is just one of the several requirements when forming an LLC. To avoid improper or incomplete LLC formation documents, we recommend using the assistance of an LLC formation service.
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Step 2: Look Up Florida LLC Name Search Availability
The next step is to conduct a Florida LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in Florida.
- LLC Name Search: Search the Florida Sunbiz Direct Name Search to check if your chosen business name is available. There is no search fee when using Sunbiz. You may also try typing your business or trademark on any search engine to check businesses with similar names. This will also ensure your trademark is unique, meets the state’s requirements, and frees you from any legal hassles in the future.
- Domain Name Search: If your business name is still available, you must register for a domain name.Having a URL that matches your business name is important since this is how your potential and existing clients can find your business.
To determine the availability of your chosen URL, use a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.
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Note: While you can use social media to search for business names to determine your desired name, the search results might not give you useful insight if your desired business name is available and exclusive for use.
Step 3: Reserve Your Florida LLC Name
Before filing your LLC Articles of Organization, you can reserve your business name with the State of Florida. The name reservation filing fee is $25.
You can reserve a business name for 120 days by mailing a letter to the Secretary of State specifying the desired entity name as well as your contact information (i.e., name and address).
Using a Florida DBA for Your LLC
In Florida, a DBA (“doing business as”) name is known as a fictitious name. A Florida fictitious name allows you to use a name other than your business’s legal name when operating. Florida state requires that every intent to register a name or DBA must be published within the county where the business is based, prior to registration.
If you want to keep your legal business name but conduct another business activity under a different name, you can usually create a DBA name and legally operate under a new name. The name publication service is included in the fixed cost of $50 when you submit your Application for Registration of Fictitious Name.
LLC owners sometimes choose to brand their businesses with a DBA. Most sole proprietors and general partnerships use a DBA to create a brand other than their surnames.
Step 4: Register a Florida LLC Trade or Service Mark
Doing a name search on the federal trademark database will tell you whether another business or person has already “marked” your name.
Once you verify the availability of your LLC name and secure it, you can choose to apply for a trade or service mark for your business.
Registering your LLC business “mark” (refers to trade and service marks) with the Florida Secretary of State not only distinguishes the goods or services your business provides, but also creates a statewide notice that any entity or person cannot use any of your marks (such as brand name, slogans, and logos).
For these reasons, it is important for an LLC owner to register a mark with the Florida Secretary of State. The filing fee for a Florida Trade or Service Mark Application is $87.50 per class (“class” means goods and services).
Registering a trade or service mark is not the same as filing a formation document. If you’re registering a business in Florida, check out the steps on how to form a Florida LLC.
Florida Secretary of State Contact Information
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314
The Centre of Tallahassee
2415 N. Monroe St., Ste. 810
Tallahassee, FL 32303
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST
Online Contact Form: sunbiz.org/contact.html
Phone: (850) 245-6000
Fax: (850) 245-6014
Florida LLC Name Search FAQ
Why do I need to do a Florida LLC name search?
When forming a Florida LLC, you will be required to choose a name.. This name must be unique and available for use, and should not already be registered with the Florida Secretary of State. To search for available LLC names, you can use the Florida Sunbiz Direct Name Search tool on the Secretary of State website.
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Florida?
You can use the Florida Sunbiz Direct Name Search tool to check if your business name is available. You may also contact the Florida Secretary of State via phone at (850) 245-6000 or use their on line contact form at sunbiz.org/contact.html for assistance on how to perform a Florida LLC name search.
Can I renew a Florida LLC name reservation?
No. You must resubmit a letter to the Florida Secretary of State to hold your desired name for an additional 120 days.
Is the Florida Secretary of State LLC name search reservation tool free to use?
Yes. You can use the Florida Sunbiz Direct Name Search tool to find and reserve a name for your LLC. Simply enter the desired name for your LLC. If the name is available, you can reserve it for 60 days.