How To Do A Georgia Business Name Search
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 Georgia Secretary of State’s website.
The Secretary of State’s Business Entity Database provides information for corporations and LLCs registered in Georgia. The names of sole proprietorships or general partnerships are not centralized and are registered with the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where you do business.
There is no fee for searching the database.
Also See: Guide to Starting a Business in Georgia
Steps For Searching Corporation and LLC Names In Georgia
Step 1: Visit the Georgia Entity Name Database
Visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s website.
Step 2: Search for a Business Name
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field. In this example, we will look up “Sew What” and click on “Search.” We recommend keeping the button selected for “Contains” as it’s a broader search. If there are too many results, you may want to go with “Exact Match.”
Step 3: Review the Results
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Sew What” in the name. What we want to find is a name that is similar to the name we are looking to register. The closest one is just before the last record, “Sew What?! LLC”. While your business may not have the “?!,” those characters won’t be considered distinguishable, making this a name you can’t register.To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Entity Name” column. In this example, we will look up “Sew What LLC.”
Clicking on the link for “Sew What LLC” brings an expanded result.
There is also a button to get details on the entity filing history, which includes the business formation and annual registration.
While the name “Sew What” by itself is likely, not available, other variants such as “Sew What Quilting” or “Sew What Seamstress” is. Searching for those business names brings a result that says “No data found.” While final approval is still with the Georgia Secretary of State, it is likely available to register.
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: Should I trademark my business name?
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 Fictitious Business Name.
How do I form an LLC in Georgia?
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 Georgia LLC.
While not required in Georgia, an Operating Agreement, which are 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 Georgia business licenses and permits and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so the business is legal to operate.
Can an LLC name be reserved in Georgia?
If there is a name you want to use but are not ready to form the LLC, a name may be reserved by submitting a Name Reservation Request form and paying a fee of $25. The name reservation will hold the name for 30 days.