How To Do An Alabama Business Name Search
If you are forming an LLC or a corporation in Alabama, the first thing you need to do is a business name search. This search checks all the registered business entities in the state to see if the business name you want to use is available. Like most other states, Alabama requires each LLC or corporation registered in the state to have a unique business name. So, before starting your business, it’s important to run a business entity search to verify if the name is available through the Alabama Secretary of State before registering your LLC or Corporation. There is no fee to search.
Something to keep in mind is that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique. To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.
Related: How to start a business in Alabama
Searching Corporation and LLC Names In Alabama
Visit the Alabama Entity Name Database
If you are lucky and no matches are found as in this example, you can register the business name.
However, if you were to search for “Mother Trucker,” there is a Limited Liability Company registered under that name. From this search, you can find the Entity ID, Entity Name, City, Type of Entity, and the Status. If the status says “Exists,” that means there is a company that is using the name and is in good standing with the Secretary of State. If Status says “Previous Name,” “Merged,” “Withdrawn,” or something else, it may mean the name is open, however, you will have to check with the Business Entity Records department to be sure.
By clicking on an entry, more information about the entity would be shown.
How to Register a Trade Name (Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships)
To register, a sole proprietorship or partnership operating their business under a name that is different from the owner’s legal name will register for a Trade Name, also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, Assumed Name, or Trade Name.
How do I form an LLC in Alabama?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form an Alabama LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Certificate of Formation.
While not required in Alabama, an Operating Agreement, which contains the rules for how the LLC operates, is a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to register for Alabama business licenses and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so the business is legal to operate.
What are the requirements to name an LLC in Alabama?
In addition to the name being unique, the name of the LLC must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., in addition to not using restricted words such as bank or insurance, unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.
Can an LLC name be reserved in Alabama?
If there is a name you want but are not ready to register the LLC, you can file the Reservation of a Business Entity Name (Form SCC631) with the Alabama Secretary of State. The name reservation will hold a name for up to 120 days, at the cost of $10.