One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your Iowa LLC.
Checking the LLC name availability in Iowa is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other Iowa businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.
Our Iowa LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in Iowa, and how to reserve and register your business name.
Interested in forming an LLC? We recommend using an LLC formation service in order to ensure that you do not accidentally file your business name incorrectly and have your application denied.
How to Search for an Iowa LLC Name
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in Iowa.
Step 1: Follow the Iowa LLC Naming Guidelines
The first step is to ensure that your chosen name complies with the requirements of Iowa’s LLC naming guidelines as listed below:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Don’t include words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Don’t use restricted words which include “Bank,” “Attorney,” “University,” as these may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your business.
- Don’t use the name of an entity that has been administratively dissolved, since the name of the entity won’t be available for public use for the next five years.
- Must be distinguishable from other business names and entities.
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 Iowa LLC Name Search Availability
The next step is to conduct an Iowa LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in Iowa.
- LLC Name Search: Search the Iowa business entities search to check if your chosen business name is available. There is no fee to use the search feature. 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 Iowa LLC Name
Along with your LLC Certificate of Formation, you need an Application for Reservation of Name in Iowa. The name reservation filing fee is $10. Once you file, your name does not expire.
Using an Iowa DBA for Your LLC
In Iowa, a DBA (“doing business as”) name is known as an assumed name. An Iowa assumed name allows you to use a name other than your business’s legal name when operating.
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. Go to Iowa’s Fast Track Filling. Go to the navigation menu and choose “Business Filings”. Click on the “File a Document” from the dropdown menu and in the “Existing Entities” menu, click on the “Fictitious Name Resolution” link.
The fee for getting an Iowa DBA name is $5.
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 an Iowa 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 Iowa 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 Iowa Secretary of State. The filing fee for an Iowa Application for Registration of a Mark is $10.
Registering a trade or service mark is not the same as filing a formation document. If you’re registering a business in Iowa, check out the steps on how to form an Iowa LLC.
Iowa Secretary of State Contact Information
Business Services Division
1st Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 281-5204
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Iowa LLC Name Search FAQ
Why do I need to do an Iowa LLC name search?
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Iowa?
Can I renew an Iowa LLC name reservation?
No. You must file another name reservation on the date your first one expires by sending in your Application for Reservation of Name.
Is the Iowa Secretary of State LLC name search reservation tool free to use?
Yes. You can use the Iowa business entities 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 until your application expires within a 120-day period.