One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your Texas LLC.
Checking the LLC name availability in Texas is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other Texas businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.
Our Texas LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in Texas, and how to reserve and register your business name.
How to Search for a Texas LLC Name
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in Texas.
Step 1: Follow the Texas LLC Naming Guidelines
The first step is to ensure that your chosen name complies with the requirements of Texas’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.).
- Your name cannot include words that falsely imply you are affiliated with a government entity (FBI, Treasury, Real Estate Commission, etc.).
- You must not include the words, “Olympic,” “Olympiad,” or “Citius Altius Fortius,” or a combination of these words or use a trademark, trade name, or symbol of the International Olympic Committee or the United States Olympic Committee.
- You cannot use restricted words, such as “College,” “University,” “School of Medicine,” “Medical School,” “Health Science Center,” “School of Law,” “Law Center,” or “Law School,” unless approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
- You must not include the words “Veteran,” “Legion,” “Foreign,” “Spanish,” “Disabled,” “War,” or “World War” if your business is created for the benefit of war veterans and their families, without written approval issued from a veterans organization.
- You must not use the words “bank,” “bank and trust,” “trust,” “trust company” unless approved by the Banking Commissioner.
- You must use a name that is distinguishable with a difference of at least one keyword or keyphrase. For example, “Dallas Auto Parts” is distinguishable from “Auto Parts of Dallas.”
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 Texas LLC Name Search Availability
The next step is to conduct a Texas LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in Texas.
- LLC Name Search: Search the Texas Taxable Entity Search or SOSDirect Name Search to check if your chosen business name is available. There is a $1 search fee when using SOSDirect. 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 Texas LLC Name
Along with your LLC Certificate of Formation, you need a Name Reservation Certificate in Texas. The name reservation filing fee is $40.
You can reserve a business name for 120 days with the Texas SOSDirect Name Reservation tool online or by mail using the Application for Reservation or Renewal of Reservation of an Entity Name (Form 501).
If you do not form your LLC in time, you will be able to renew your name reservation as long as you do so within 30 days before it expires.
Using a Texas DBA for Your LLC
In Texas, a DBA (“doing business as”) name is known as an assumed name. A Texas 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. The fee for getting a Texas Assumed Name Certificate (Form 503) is $25.
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 Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas Secretary of State. The filing fee for a Texas Trade or Service Mark Application is $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 Texas, check out the steps on how to form a Texas LLC.
Texas Secretary of State Contact Information
Business & Commercial Section
Texas Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, TX 78711-3697
1019 Brazos St.
Austin, TX 78701
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Phone: (512) 463-5555
Texas LLC Name Search FAQ
Why do I need to do a Texas LLC name search?
When forming a Texas 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 Texas Secretary of State. To search for available LLC names, you can use the Texas Taxable Entity Search or SOSDirect Name Search tool on the Secretary of State website. Note that there’s a $1 fee for using the SOSDirect Name Search tool.
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Texas?
You can use the Texas Taxable Entity Search or SOSDirect Name Search tool to check if your business name is available. You may also contact the Texas Secretary of State via phone at (512) 463-5555 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance on how to perform a Texas LLC name search.
Can I renew a Texas LLC name reservation?
Yes. You can renew a name reservation by filing a new application during the 30-day period before the expiration of your last name reservation. Simply download and fill out Form 501: Application for Reservation or Renewal of Reservation of an Entity Name.
Is the Texas Secretary of State LLC name search reservation tool free to use?
Yes. You can use the Texas SOSDirect Name Reservation 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 120 days.