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How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in Ohio

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 Ohio

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How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in Ohio

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 Ohio, it’s a simple process — just follow the steps outlined below. 

Follow Ohio LLC Naming Guidelines

Like all states, Ohio has a set of restrictions when it comes to business names. You need to follow these or your preferred name could be rejected by the state. 

In Ohio, it’s important that your name is distinguishable from all other business names registered with the Secretary of State. Additionally, the name must include one of the following indicators: 

Limited Liability Company, Limited, ltd, ltd., L.L.C., or LLC

Be sure the name doesn’t include any words that could result in your LLC being confused with a government agency. Your name also cannot include words like “bank”, “insurance”, or “university” without approval from certain state authorities.

Related read: How to Name Your LLC

team working together using laptop

Search for Name Availability

Now it’s time to do the actual search. In Ohio, this requires a visit to the state’s Business Search feature, as detailed in this screenshot. 

Ohio 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 Ohio, not nationally trademarked, and has an available web domain, it’s a good idea to take the next step and make it official. 

In Ohio, you have two options. You can either reserve the name by filling out this form here, which means the state will hold it for you for 180 days, or you can go ahead and formally register your LLC name online here. You will need an Ohio Business Central account to register your LLC.  

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. 

Ohio Secretary of State Contact Info

The official Secretary of State website.

Ohio Secretary of State
Business Services Division
Client Service Center
22 North Fourth Street
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, Ohio 43216

Phone: 614.466.3910

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.