NAMING YOUR ALABAMA LLC
1. Alabama Naming Guidelines
Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in starting your LLC. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Alabama naming requirements and that potential clients can easily search for.
Be sure to follow these naming guidelines:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your Alabama LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your Alabama LLC.
Not sure what to name your business? Check out our LLC Name Generator.
2. Do an Alabama Business Search
Before filing your name reservation request, you can use the Alabama Business Entity Search to check the availability of your desired entity name. To perform the most effective search, type in the entity name you would like to use, excluding identifiers like “LLC”, and leave all other boxes blank. This will return all entities using the same or similar names. If you can't find the name in your search, that means the name has not been taken and is available for you to use.
If you choose to file online, the site will prompt you to perform this search before submitting your form. If you file by mail, be sure to conduct a thorough online search before completing your paperwork to avoid rejection.
3. Is the URL available?
Another important consideration to make when selecting a business name is whether or not your desired web domain name is available. Having a URL that clearly matches your business name is important. This seemingly small step can make a big difference in how prospective customers find your business.
The best way to determine if your desired URL is available is to search for it online using your preferred domain registry, such as GoDaddy.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
4. Reserve Your Entity Name
Alabama’s Secretary of State Business Entities Division handles all LLC naming questions and requests. Alabama requires all domestic and foreign LLCs to obtain a Certificate of Name Reservation before filing formation documents to ensure the chosen name is available for use. This certificate can be requested online or by mail.
When reserving your name, you will have to pay a filing fee. Checks must be made out to the "Secretary of State." Those who are not paid subscribers to Alabama Interactive must pay an additional $28 fee to submit a request online. There is no additional fee to file by mail.
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While reserving your entity name is straightforward, there are some other things you should think about when choosing the best name for your business. You may want to do a Trademark and Social Media search for your name to see if it's available for use online. This will help ensure you have full, unrestricted use of your business name.
Conducting a trademark search of your business name and associated slogans or logos before registering can help prevent costly litigation in the future. Discovering that another entity has trademarked your business name does not automatically disqualify you from using it.
However, it is important to know who is using the name, what industry they operate in, and where they are located to be sure you do not inadvertently infringe upon anyone’s intellectual property rights.
To complete this step:
- Search Alabama’s trademark records to see if your business name or associated slogans, logos, or others are in use by another business in your state.
- Search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s electronic records to find any federally registered trademarks associated with your business name.
Social Media Search
Just as important, or more so, than finding a domain name that fits your business is ensuring that your business name is available for use across social media platforms. To do this search your business name on each major site, using a tool such as Namecheckr to search across all platforms at once.
Having a name for your business is an important first step for creating a successful LLC, and one that is incredibly easy to do. Once you have found your preferred name using the Alabama Secretary of State Business Entity Search, you'll want to secure your domain name so that your customers will be able to find your business online.
Reserving your entity name with an Alabama Name Reservation Form will help you stand out from the competition. With your entity name secured, you will be ready to take the next steps to formalize your Alabama LLC.