The first step in forming an LLC or corporation in Louisiana is to check whether the name is available to use. Each business entity that is registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State must use a unique name. See our step-by-step guide to learn how to quickly search available names by using the Secretary of State Business Entity Database.
The Secretary of State Business Entity Database provides information for corporations and LLCs registered in Louisiana. The names of sole proprietorships or general partnerships are not centralized. Instead, they are registered with the Parish Clerk of Court, where the business is located.
How To Do A Louisiana Corporation or LLC Business Name Search
Step 1: Visit the Secretary of State
Visit the Louisiana Secretary of State website.
Step 2: Enter the Business Name
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field. In this example, we will look up “The Pool Guys” and click “Search.”
Step 3: Review Results
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “The Pool Guys.” To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Louisiana, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form a corporation or LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since there they are both already registered.
To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Name” column. In this example, we will look up “The Pool Guys, LLC.”
While the name “The Pool Guys, LLC” has a result, when looking at the detailed report, we see that the status is “Inactive,” which means it is no longer in use. It is possible the name is available to register.
To see the result of a name that isn’t being used, we will search for “Cowboy Cleaners.” With a search with no results, while final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in Louisiana. Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
What information can be looked up in the database?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Registration Date –
Date the entity was filed with the Secretary of State
- Domicile Address – This could be the business’s physical address, or it could be an address where business records are stored.
- Status – Active means the entity is in good standing, and all reports and filing fees are up to date. Inactive means the business entity is no longer legally operational.
- Type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Registered Agent’s information – A 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 Agent, so their home address isn’t listed.
- Officers – Name, title, and address of the entity’s members.
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 DBA for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships
A DBA, also known as “Doing Business As,” Trade Name, Assumed Name, or Fictitious Name is a name used by a sole proprietorship or partnership and is different from the owner’s legal name.
Related: How to register a DBA in Louisiana
What are the requirements to name an LLC in Louisiana?
Before finalizing the name of your Louisiana LLC, you will want to make sure the name meets all of the state requirements, such as the correct usage of the entity designator, using a name that is distinguishable from other registered names, and the name can’t allude to any government affiliation.
Related: Louisiana LLC Name Requirements
Can an LLC name be reserved?
If you find a name you want to use but are not ready to form the LLC, the Application for Reservation of Trade Name (Form 398) can be filed to reserve the name for up to 120 days. The state fee to reserve a name is $25.
How do I form an LLC in Louisiana?
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 Louisiana LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.
While not required in Louisiana, 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 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.
Also, be sure to check for Louisiana business licenses and permits to ensure the business is legal to operate.