How to Search Available Business Names in Colorado

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Quick Reference

Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity, find the information you need from the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.

The Secretary of State Business Entity Database provides information for sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations and LLCs registered in Colorado.

There is no fee to search the entity name database.

Also See: Guide to Starting a Business in Colorado

What information can be looked up?

The database search can find information on:

  • Business name
  • Status – Good standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date
  • Date of formation – when the business entity was filed with the Secretary of State
  • Entity Type – Corporation or Limited Liability Company
  • Principal office address
  • Registered Agent’s information – The Registered Agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business.  This is often one of the owners and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information.  Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like NorthWest Registered Agents so their home address isn’t listed.

How to do a Colorado Business Name Search

  1. Visit the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.
  2. Enter the name of the business you would like to register.  In this example, we will search for “Sew What”.  Even though the instructions show to use the designator (LLC, Limited Liability Company, Inc, Incorporation, etc), by keeping it out, we get broader search results.How to do a Colorado Business Name Search
  3. We get a response that the name is available to use.
  4. Even though we get a response that says the name is available, it is a good idea to click on “search the business database”.  If there is another name that is similar, the Secretary of State may not approve your name choice. This name has several similar names and there are some that are concerning.  Looking at the “Status” column, we can often rule out those that say “Expired”, “Voluntarily Dissolved” or “Delinquent”.  We do want to look closer at ones if they have “Effective” or “Good Standing”.Seeing so many results that are close, it’s questionable but possible that that name is available.  In this instance, it would be best to verify with the Secretary of State for confirmation before filing.Colorado Business Search Results
  5. We could do a business name availability search for “Sew What Clothing” and get the message that the name is not available. This name is definitely off-limits to be registered.

Colorado LLC Name 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.

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.

Related: How to register a Trade Name in Colorado

How do I form an LLC?

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 a Colorado LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.

If you have a name in mind, but you aren’t ready to officially form your LLC, you can reserve the name for up to 120 days by filing a Statement of Reservation o​f Name form​​ with the Colorado Secretary of State. The​re is a $25 filing fee to file the Colorado Name Reservation form.

While not required in Colorado, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering especially for multi-member LLCs.

After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).  This is a “social security number” for the business.  There is no cost to get one through the IRS.

After forming the LLC, Colorado business licenses and permits may still be necessary.

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