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How to Reserve a Business Name? — Procedures and Costs Per State (2024)

Coming up with a business name can be an exhausting endeavor. You need to consider other factors in your brainstorming process, along with other requirements and rules set by your state. However, it’s harder to come up with one and eventually losing it because you didn’t make it legally yours.  To ease your worries, our experts will walk you through on how to reserve a business name.

How to Reserve a Business Name?

Ensure Business Name Availability

Before you reserve a business name, it is important that you first make sure the name is available. Otherwise, one of two events can happen. 

First, you can get your name reservation request rejected ultimately. It’s very likely to happen if your name is exactly the same or similar to someone else’s. For example, you cannot pluralize your business name as a way of differentiating it from an existing business name.

But that’s only one of the two possibilities. The second is that you might not get your request rejected. However, if a company that has the same or similar name finds out, you might get entangled in issues such as getting sued for trademark infringement. This is likely to happen if you go beyond name reservation process and proceed to register the business name.

searching business name in us

To save yourself from this, you should simply check to see if the business name is available. You can do this by consulting with your secretary of state website. There, you can access tools that will help you run your name against a database of registered businesses for similarities and matches. 

If your name comes back completely unique, then you can proceed to the next step. If it doesn’t, you will need to get back to the drawing board. Whatever the case may be, our team strongly recommends not to skip this step.

Reserving Business Name Per State

Every state in the US has something in common for business name reservation and that is visiting the secretary of state website to check and reserve. We’ve taken the liberty of compiling a detailed list linking to all secretary of state websites.

searching business name by state

State Requirements

Although there are different governing rules per state, there are common requirements you will need to accomplish in reserving your business name. As our team reiterated above, you cannot choose the same name as any other business. Most states in the US will reject your incorporation application if you try to get an identical name as any business.

general requirements for LLC

The laws governing this differ from one state to the other. But, generally, your name should be as unique as possible. Once reserved, you must register within a certain period. The period varies from one state to the other. Some will allow you the grace period of 120 days, and others might not. Therefore, you should conduct proper research on your state’s requirements before you reserve your name.

Importance of Reserving Your Business Name

When you’re trying to set up a business, you obviously have many tasks to accomplish. Among others, you will have to get your finances in order, and you’ll need to create a business plan. Reserving your business name helps to make sure that your name is well-protected. This will be the case until you’re eventually ready to get your business on the road.

Another reason to reserve your business name is the possibility of your desired name being taken anytime. What you think might be a unique name idea today might be someone else is thinking of already. If you don’t reserve the business name soon, they might register it before you do. However, if you reserve the business name, your state will inform inquiring parties that the name has been taken. Therefore, once reserved, you can rest assured that your hard-earned name is safe and secure for you.

business in US

In addition many secretaries of state only allow you to reserve your business name for a given period. Afterward, you’ll lose the rights to the name. If you reserve yours, it acts as ananchor to keep you on track. You’ll know that you cannot afford to procrastinate or waste time launching the business. Otherwise, you’ll lose what you’ve worked for.

Business Name Reservation Providers

The best entities you can go to for help in this regard are LLC and corporation service companies. These are companies that are specifically dedicated to helping you create and run your corporation or LLC. They usually offer many services, from impressive registered agent services to EIN filing [1]. However, they also help you do business availability searches and reservations.

There are many of them in the industry. Examples of LLC and corporation service companies include LegalZoom, Incfile, Rocket Lawyer, etc. The best choice for you depends a lot on their extra services that you’d like to have.

Costs and Duration of Business Name Reservation

If you want to reserve your business name, you can expect to spend up to $50 to reserve the name. This is very likely if you’ll be reserving through an LLC service company that will help you with other matters. Once reserved, your reservation will last 120 days on average.

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How much does it cost to reserve a business name?

It costs around $50 to reserve a business name. However, this depends if you plan on doing it on your own or if you want to avail this service from an LLC service company. For example, if you’re working with an LLC service company, the service might come free with their packages.

Can you reserve an LLC name?

Yes, you can reserve an LLC name. Many states in the US do not put a lot of restrictions on which businesses can reserve names.

How long does it take to reserve a business name?

It takes no time at all to reserve a business name. All you need is to head to your secretary of state website. Then, do a name search. Once you’ve confirmed uniqueness, you can then reserve your name. 


Learning how to reserve a business name is one of the first essential steps in creating or forming your business. In this article, our experts have provided a detailed guide to help you through the process. All you need to do now is think of a name and file a reservation!

Charles McMillan
Charles McMillan
Charles is a family man, an entrepreneur, and a writer. He is skilled in finding the balance between efficiency, affordability, and high-quality offerings when it comes to business services. He’s on a continuing mission to discover and rediscover the most popular LLC services, while sharing his most accurate assessment and review to help business owners like himself.