As an entrepreneur, you may be hard-pressed to focus on how to grow your business as you start a Michigan LLC. While this is important, you also have to think about what you will name your business. A name can make or break you as you operate in Michigan. Think of all the successful companies. Their names are memorable, linked to brands, and recognizable by their clients. The same goes for their logos. If you want to ensure that your business has a high chance of succeeding, you cannot ignore the name. Also, you have to make sure that the name for LLC companies is a unique Michigan LLC name, and that no other company will benefit from similarity. But first, you have to make sure that your preferred name is available by performing an LLC name search.
Reasons to Perform an LLC Name Search in Michigan
You are probably familiar with the fact that before registering a business name in Michigan, you have to do a search. While people often do it to ensure their name is unique, this Michigan business entity search can also serve other purposes:
1. Finding Similar Michigan LLC Names
One of the main reasons behind getting a unique name when opening an LLC is to ensure you stand out. Else, your clients can end up contacting another company with similar Michigan LLC names. If the other business handles the same goods and services as you, they can ride on this existing name confusion. You would end up doing the marketing while they reaped the benefits. Also, the authorities cannot allow you to register a name that is similar to an existing one.
2. Checking Your Business Status
When you start your business, you will file the articles of organization with the authorities. If you ever want to check the status of your business, you can do a business search in Michigan. It will show you whether you are compliant and your business’ good standing with the authorities.
3. Resident Agent and Office Information
All businesses must have an LLC registered agent who receives their legal papers, a role which most entrepreneurs delegate to professional services. If you want to hire a business service of process, you can use the search as a means to check if the company is registered. Also, you can use this as a way to contact them and ask for their Michigan resident agent services.
4. Maintaining Current Business Information
Your Michigan LLC details will change over time as you conduct business in Michigan. For example, you may change your main office address. You will want the public records to reflect these changes, and an easy way to do this is by doing a name search. Of course, you have to inform the authorities of the changes for them to reflect on the state’s Business Entity Database.
How to Perform a Michigan LLC Name Search
Are you ready to look up your preferred name or even do some research on an existing business? All you have to do is access the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and choose the Business Entity Search option. Use the first option and enter the desired name. If results come up, it means that someone has used the same or similar name. But if not, you will have a winner!
However, if you are looking up an existing business entity, you will need its name, which can be partial or in full. If you do not have access to this, you can try using details such as the names of the individual members. From this, you can get access to the business’:
- Type of structure;
- Current and previous ID numbers;
- Date of filing and dissolution;
- Activities and purpose;
- Compliance with reports;
- Point of contact (name and address).
What If My LLC Name Is Unavailable?
It can be disappointing to realize that someone else bagged your desired LLC name before you had the chance to use it. But what can you do at this point? It depends on your type of company.
For domestic LLCs in Michigan, the only option lies in finding alternatives. That means going back to the drawing board and seeing what else you can use. You can even try online generators for that extra helping hand.
If you already have an existing business outside MI, you can decide to work with a DBA. This distinguishable name allows you to use another one outside of the one registered outside MI which still falls under the parent company. You can use this option if your existing LLC name for Michigan business is already in use in MI. To do this, you need to use the Application for Certificate of Authority form and detail your need for an assumed name.
How to Make a Michigan LLC Name Distinguishable?
Your work does not end at choosing a fully distinguishable name that aligns with your brand and speaks to your audience. It also has to be in line with Michigan’s business naming requirements which stipulate that the name must:
- Include suffixes that show it’s a limited liability company. You can include the whole name or use abbreviations such as LLC, L.L.C.; LC, and L.L.C.
- Not contain any words that might fool people into thinking you’re offering different services. For example, you cannot name your business as ABC Stationery yet you sell gym clothes.
- Not have any words that imply you are running a different entity than an LLC. Words such as inc. and corp. are not allowed.
- Not have any phrases that would make people think that you offer government services or professional services. In the case of the latter, you require a license to offer such services and should have one if you’re to allude this in your name.
What to Do After Choosing a Name for a Michigan LLC?
Congratulations on finally finding a name that suits your business and can help you grow your brand. It may seem like a small fete but this is one of the most important decisions you will make as a business owner. If you are sure about the name and want to make sure that nobody else gets their hands on it, you have two options:
- Start your business: If you already have your strategy figured out and can assemble your dream team, the next step would be registration. During the process, you will detail how you want to run your business and include your name and other pertinent information. Once the process goes through, nobody else can use your name, and you will secure it for as long as you remain compliant with statutory obligations.
- Reserve the name: You might not be ready to head on to registration straight away. If you still have to sort out some issues before taking such a huge step, the state allows you to hold your name for 180 days. Reserving a Michigan business name costs $25 and is an easy way to ensure that for the next six months, nobody can use the name. It’s enough time to get your ducks in a row and register the business.
Whichever of these options you choose will help you protect a Michigan business name as you start your business in MI. All the best
What does name reservation mean in Michigan?
If the name is available and no URL contains the exact name, you can reserve your name. This reservation remains valid for 6 months (180 days), enabling you to finish the other steps in forming your LLC.
You will need to file an application which is subject to a non-refundable filing fee of $25 through the following means:
You can find the form through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
You will need a hard copy of the Business Name Reservation Application which you can find here . If you would like to get the reservation done faster, you need to include an expedited service form.
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau
P.O. Box 30054
Lansing, MI 48909
You will require a hard copy of the Business Name Reservation Application which you should fill and deliver to:
2501 Woodlake Circle
Expedited Service Name Reservation
If you want to get started on forming your LLC fast, you can consider expediting the name reservation process. Charges apply for this service are as follows:
24 hours – $50
Same Day – $100
Two hours – $500
One hour – $1,000