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How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in Florida

Written by:

Edited by:

Reviewed by: Daniel Javor

Published on July 25, 2022

Updated on November 17, 2022

How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in Florida

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How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in Florida

Before you register and form your limited liability company (LLC), you need to make sure the name you’ve chosen is available in your state. If you choose a name that’s already in use, the state will deny your LLC application. So checking name availability is absolutely crucial. In Florida, it’s a simple process — just follow the steps outlined below. 

Follow Florida LLC Naming Guidelines

Like all states, Florida has specific rules and restrictions when it comes to business names. You need to follow these or your preferred name could be rejected by the state. 

In Florida, it’s important that your name include the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.), and your name cannot include words that could confuse your Florida LLC with any government agency. Your name also cannot include words like “bank”, “insurance”, or “university” without approval from certain state authorities. 

Additionally, your name cannot imply that you’re involved in any unlawful activity, and it must be distinguishable from all other business names in the state.

Related read: How to Name Your LLC

man in glasses working on his computer

Search for Name Availability

Now it’s time to do the actual search. In Florida, this requires a visit to the Department of State website, as detailed in this screenshot. 

Florida Business Entity Search Form

Next, enter your preferred name in the search box and press enter. Do this with similar names as well to see if businesses exist with similar names. If you find the name during your search, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board and choose a different name.

Before you register or reserve the name for your LLC, you should visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure it’s not already trademarked. If it has been, you’re not allowed to use the name. 

Checking for Domain Name

Check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. Once you’ve finished your name checking process, you can register the domain name by choosing an ICANN-accredited registrar such as GoDaddy.

The fee for maintaining your domain name usually ranges from $10 to $20 per year. When you purchase the name, you generally must pay for the first year up front. 

Reserve or Register Your LLC Name 

Now that you know your preferred business name is available in Florida, not nationally trademarked, and has an available web domain, it’s a good idea to take the next step and make it official. 

In Florida, you have two options. You can either reserve the name by doing the following:

The reservation of a specified name shall be made by submitting to the Secretary of State a letter, executed by the applicant, specifying the name to be reserved and the name and address of the applicant. If the Secretary of State finds that the name is available for use, the Secretary shall reserve the name for the exclusive use of the applicant for a period of 120 days. 

You’ll mail the letter to:

Department of State
Division of Corporations
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314

Alternatively, you can go ahead and formally register your LLC name here.

The first option gives you more time to be absolutely sure you want to create a new business, while registering right away lets you start your entrepreneurial journey more quickly. The choice is yours. 

You should also consider trademarking your LLC name with the US Patent Office so it’s protected throughout the country. 

Florida Department of State Contact Info

Florida Department of State

Phone: 850.245.6500

R.A. Gray Building
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250

Conclusion

Your business name is your business identity, so before you officially register your LLC it’s absolutely crucial to confirm that your preferred name is available. This will ensure you avoid any business naming potholes and set your LLC up for smooth sailing.