The Florida Secretary of State website offers free use of a name search database that lists the names of all active businesses in the state. This database can be useful for a number of reasons. Whether you are brainstorming a name for your business and want to check availability, or you are checking on the status of a current business, the database can provide this information and is easy to use.
Florida LLC Name Requirements
When forming your Florida LLC, there are two guidelines you must follow when it comes to naming your company.
- Choose an LLC Appropriate Name. Your Florida LLC must contain an LLC abbreviation at the end of the name, such as "LLC" or "L.L.C.".
- Conduct a Name Search. Your Florida LLC must have a name unique from any other active business in Florida. Additionally, the name must be fully unique, i.e. a difference in the designator at the end of the name does not constitute an adequate distinction.
An optional third step is to check the URL availability of the name. If a website is essential to your business, you will want to make sure there is a viable URL option related to your chosen name. Even if you don’t plan on using a website right away, you might want to consider purchasing the domain name for down the road.
Searching Business Entities
There a few different reasons why you might conduct a business entity search.
- Determine if the business was legally formed.
- Determine if the business is in good standing.
- Learn the address of the business.
- Learn the address of the registered agent.
Search Your LLC Name
Once you have come up with a name for your LLC, you will want to conduct a search in the Florida database. If your name is already being used by an active business, you will not be able to register your LLC under that same name. To conduct a search, follow these steps:
Visit the Florida Business Database:
- Search your desired company name. Leave out the ending designator to begin.
- Be thorough by using only the first or first few words of your name to ensure there are no similar appearing names.
- Browse the listed results. If they show your name or a name too close in nature to yours, then that name is not available for you to use. In this case, you will need to brainstorm a new name or an adequate variation.
- If you are uncertain whether or not your desired name is available or 100% unique from other registered Florida LLC names, do not worry about going ahead with your paperwork. If it turns out that the name is unavailable, the Florida Division of Corporations will notify you that a name change is required by sending your filing back.
Different Ways to Search the Database
There are a number of different ways to conduct a business entity search on the Florida Division of Corporations site. Depending on what information you have available, you should be able to find your business entity fairly easily. Here are a few methods by which you can search:
- Business Entity Name
- Registered Agent Name
- Officer Name
- Partner Name
- Florida Employment Insurance Number (FEIN)
- Document Number
Searching the database is always free of charge, so do not worry about conducting multiple searches. It is important to be thorough in your research and LLC naming, as this will save you time and trouble down the road. Additionally, the database can always be used as a simple inquiry tool about the status of another Florida company.