If you are forming a new business in Nebraska, 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 all other states, the state of Nebraska 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 Nebraska Secretary of State before registering your LLC or Corporation. There is no fee to search.
Also See: Guide to Starting a Business in Nebraska
How to do a Nebraska Business Name Search
Step 1: Visit the Business Name Database
Visit the Nebraska Secretary of State website.
Step 2: Search your Business Name
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field. In this example, we will look up “Speedy Lawns” using the “Name Keyword Search” and then click “Perform Search.”
It is recommended to search by “Name Starts With,” “Name Keyword Search,” “Name Sounds Like,” and “Name Exact Match” to be sure to search your name thoroughly.
Step 3: Review Results
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Speedy Lawns.” To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Nebraska, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.
To find more information about any of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Details” button to see a detailed report.
While the name “Speedy Lawns” by itself may not be available other variants are such as “Speedy Lawns of Nebraska” or “Joe’s Speedy Lawns” are. Searching for those business names brings a result that says, “There were no records found.” 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 Nebraska. 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 name database?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Principal Address – This could be the business’s physical address, or it could be an address where business records are stored.
- Nature of Business – An optional section for filers to indicate what the business does.
- Status – Active means all reports and filing fees are up to date, and the entity is in good standing with the state. Inactive means the entity is no longer in good standing or in operation, and the name may be may be available to register.
- Registered Agent’s information – A Nebraska 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 publically listed.
- Entity type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Date filed – When the entity was filed with the Secretary of State
- For an additional fee, you can purchase a copy of the Certificate of Organization (LLC), Articles of Incorporation (Corp), and Proof of Publication.
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)
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, which is also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, Assumed Name, or Fictitious Business Name.
Before starting a sole proprietorship or partnership, a name search will be needed before selecting a name.
What are the requirements to name an LLC in Nebraska?
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?
If there is a name you want but are not ready to register the LLC, you can file a Name Reservation Application with the Secretary of State. The name reservation will hold a name for up to 120 days at the cost of $15.
How do I form a Nebraska 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. Learn how to form an LLC in Nebraska.
While not required in Nebraska, 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 Nebraska business licenses and permits to make sure the business is legal to operate.