One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your Washington LLC.
Checking the LLC name availability in Washington is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other Washington businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.
Our Washington LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in Washington, 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 a Washington LLC Name
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in Washington.
Step 1: Follow the Washington LLC Naming Guidelines
Your first starting point when naming your LLC in Washington is to follow all the guidelines outlined by the state which are listed below:
- The name you choose needs to include specific phrases like “company,” “limited,” or “incorporated.”
- You are not allowed to use words that could imply your business is affiliated with a government entity in any way like the Department of Treasury or FBI.
- Must not contain any words or phrases like “bank,” “banker,” “banking,” or “trust.”
- Businesses that are a limited liability partnership do need to contain the words “limited liability partnership” or the abbreviation “LLP” or “L.L.P.”
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 Washington LLC Name Search Availability
The next step is to conduct a Washington LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in Washington.
- LLC Name Search: Search the Washington Taxable Entity Search (scroll down the page) to check if your chosen business name is available. 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 Washington LLC Name
In order to register your business name with the state of Washington, you must first obtain and fill out a Name Reservation form. The base fee associated with the form is $30 but the expedited service fee is $50.
When you file the Name Reservation form your business name will remain reserved with the state for up to 180 days. You are able to reserve a business name without being incorporated as long as you are able to provide proof of your business status.
Unlike other states, Washington requires businesses to reserve their business name in writing. For online filings, sign up using the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System.
Using a Washington DBA for Your LLC
Washington state does require all LLC businesses to register a DBA (doing business as) or, as it is also called, a “trade name.” A trade name allows a business to operate under a name that is different from its legal name. This allows businesses to establish an identity or brand for marketing purposes and makes it easier for customers to identify them.
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 Washington LLC Trade or Service Mark
Before you register a trade name or service mark for your LLC, you’ll need to search the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System or federal trademark database. The database will be able to inform you if another business has already taken your name.
A trade or service mark protects a brand’s identity and intellectual property from being used by other businesses. This prevents competitors from using similar branding, logos, slogans, and names that might confuse customers or damage the company’s reputation.
The filing fee for a Washington Trade or Service Mark Application is $55 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 Washington, check out the steps on how to form a Washington LLC.
Washington Secretary of State Contact Information
Washington Secretary of State
Corporations & Charities
P.O. Box 40234
Olympia, WA 98504-0234
801 Capitol Way South
Olympia, WA 98501
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Phone: (360) 725-0377
Washington LLC Name Search FAQ
Why do I need to do a Washington LLC name search?
When forming a Washington 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 Washington Secretary of State.
To search for available LLC names, you can use the Washington Taxable Entity Search tool on the Secretary of State website.
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Washington?
Can I renew a Washington LLC name reservation?
No. You won’t be able to renew a Washington LLC name reservation once the initial 180 days are up.
Is the Washington Secretary of State LLC name search tool free to use?
Yes. The Washington Taxable Entity Search tool of the Secretary of State’s website is free to use for any entrepreneur. You don’t even need to create an account. Simply scroll to the bottom of the page, enter the name you’d like to search, and search through the results.