A Guide to Michigan Business Name Search
When you are thinking of starting a new business, one of the first and most important requirements is choosing the right business name. This name will be the primary identifier for your company in the industry, at markets, with vendors, and with consumers. Choosing a name involves a process that involves a crucial component known as the Michigan business name search. This is also known as an entity search which may sound confusing to a first-time entrepreneur. Hence, we have created this guide to help you understand the importance and process of the business name search, the naming rules, and the various options available to check Michigan business name availability.
Michigan Business Entity Search
Legally creating a business entity includes selecting an appropriate company name and conducting a Michigan business name search. It is essential to choose a name that befits your company or business activity. It is important to focus on a unique and memorable name that will help your company stand apart from your rivals. Since the company name needs to be distinct, here are some tips to help make choosing the right name easier:
- Choose a name that is easy to remember
- You can use business name generators online
- Try to choose a name that is not limiting in terms of business expansion
- You can be creative with a company name
- A name that conveys meaning or purpose is recommended
- Use a variety of online resources for brainstorming company names
- Follow the Michigan business name rules and guidelines
What is a Michigan business name search?
If you’ve decided to establish your startup in the state of Michigan, then conducting a Michigan business name search using the Corporations Online Filing System (COFS) can be quite helpful. Each state in the USA has a process for making information concerning business entities searchable. The governing authority for such a search varies from one state to another. For example, in some states, the entity search is facilitated by the office of the Secretary of State. If you want to conduct a Michigan business entity search then this will be facilitated by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
Let’s look at an example to understand the concept and process of a Michigan business name search.
Example: You want to establish a new company in Michigan. The said business is a travel agency or tour operator in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You want to name it “Ann Arbor Travel”. Once you have chosen this name then the next step is to visit the website of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) – Search for a business entity. When you check for Michigan business name availability then it will bring up a profit corporation with the same name and active status. This means you will not be able to use this name. Now if you change the name to “Ann Arbor Travel and Tours” and conduct the Michigan business name search again then it will show the availability of the said name.
Naming your Michigan LLC
Once you have a business plan in place, it is important to focus on naming your business. A company name is considered to be the primary business identification for that business. Therefore, you must take plenty of precautions when choosing a name. You can use the help of business name generators or similar tools and conduct an online Michigan LLC name search to determine the appropriate name. A business name carries a lot of weight and it is important to remember that it takes anywhere from 5 to 8 impressions for your future customers to remember the name. Let’s look at the two important points to consider when it comes to naming your limited liability company.
General LLC naming rules
One of the most important details to consider when naming your company is the Michigan business name rules and regulations. The naming and reservation of an LLC are governed by Act 23 of 1993 Michigan Limited Liability Company Act, MI Comp L § 450.4205 (2020). The general rules for an LLC name are:
- It should have words like Limited Liability Company or abbreviations like LLC or L.L.C.
- Names should be distinguishable and not contain words or abbreviations like Incorporated, or Inc.
- The LLC should not refer to specific services like medical practices, attorneys, or even banks without obtaining the necessary licenses or permissions
- You need to also check the restricted word list for specific industries or professions
If you follow the state naming guidelines then it will not only enable you to conduct a Michigan LLC name search properly but will also ensure your chosen name is not rejected.
Search LLC business name availability on the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website
Once you have successfully conceived a name for your limited-liability company based on Michigan business name rules, the next step is to conduct an availability search. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) offers an online option to conduct a Michigan LLC name search. The following examples are of the different ways to search:
- Search by Entity Name – This is the most common form of a Michigan business name availability search. This search is especially meant for new domestic and foreign entities. You can search for a name that begins with, exact match, keyword, and Soundex. Let’s look at an example to understand this process.
Example: If your chosen name is “MOMLIFE APPAREL” and you conduct a search in the database for Michigan business name availability using just MOMLIFE APPAREL or MOMLIFE APPAREL LLC then it brings up a company that is active and based in Troy, MI. Now, if you tweak the name a little and make it MOMLIFE APPARELS then the Michigan LLC name search reveals that the name is available for reservation.
- Search by an Individual Name – The second option is to search using an individual name. An individual name here can be the name of a resident agent, member, officer, or owner among others. This option can also be used for a Michigan LLC name search. As an example, if you type the word ‘Mark’ and search, then it will bring up 10,000 records in the database.
The remaining search options are to Search by Identification Number and Search by Filing Number. These are normally applicable for existing businesses that want to check their active status or for those looking for specific entities.
Do you want to form an LLC in Michigan?
Naming your Michigan Corporation
When we refer to a new company formation, branding and marketing, sales, banking, and customers there is one characteristic that connects them all and that is a company name. Your business name will help you in setting the overall brand image and tone where the customer expectation is concerned. These days there are plenty of online tools or business name generators available that can help you in generating a short, yet powerful name that is relevant to the ideology or goals of the company. This will help you quickly come up with a name so that you can conduct a Michigan Corporation name search. Let’s look at several of the details to consider when naming your new corporation.
General Corporation naming rules
One of the focal points of naming a corporation is following the state guidelines or Michigan business name rules and regulations. The naming of a profit corporation is governed by 2020 Michigan Compiled Laws, Chapter 450 – Corporations, Act 284 of 1972 Business Corporation Act (450.1101 – 450.2099), MI Comp L § 450.1211 (2020). The general naming rules for a profit corporation in Michigan are:
- It should have words like “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” or abbreviations like Corp. or INC.
- The name should be unique and should not imply that the said corporation has been organized for any purpose other than what is outlined in the articles of incorporation.
- According to Michigan business name rules, certain words cannot be used like “security,” “industrial bank,” “trust company”, or “surety.”
- You need to also check the restricted word list for specific industries or professions.
If you make sure that your chosen business name is compliant with the Michigan naming guidelines then it will help you to conduct the Michigan Corporation name search more fruitfully. Secondly, the chance of the chosen company name getting rejected will be minimized.
Search Michigan Corporation name availability in the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website
Once you have identified a name for your corporation in compliance with the Michigan business name rules then the next step is to conduct a Michigan Corporation name search. This name availability search is facilitated online by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). There are different ways to conduct the name search and they are:
- Search by Entity Name – This is the foremost option for Michigan Corporation name search. This search can be used by both domestic and foreign entities. You can think of any name and then apply search criteria like exact match, begins with, soundex, and keyword. Let’s look at an example to understand this process.
Example: The name chosen for your corporation is “WALKER MANUFACTURING”. Now if you conduct a Michigan Corporation name search in the database using just WALKER MANUFACTURING or WALKER MANUFACTURING INC. then it brings up a company that is active and based in Wyoming, MI. Now, if you tweak the name a little and make it WALKERS MANUFACTURING or WALK MANUFACTURING then it shows the said Michigan business name availability. Now you can file the Application for Reservation of Name.
- Search by an Individual Name – Another Michigan Corporation name search option is where the name of an individual can be the name of a resident agent, director, and president among others. This option can also be used for identifying Michigan business name availability. As an example, if you type the word ‘Godfrey’ or ‘Irwin’ then the search reveals 636 and 934 names respectively in the database.
There are two more search options, which are Search by Identification Number and Search by Filing Number. These search options are used by existing businesses and registered agents to check a variety of information like the active status or the filing of annual reports.
Are you thinking of registering a Corporation in Michigan?
Need any Assistance in Michigan Business Name Search?
A business name is the face of a company. Therefore, it is important to conduct a Michigan business name search while maintaining compliance with all state naming guidelines. The Michigan business name availability will help you to proceed with name reservation and also facilitate other processes like the filing of formation or incorporation documents, banking, issuance of licenses, and filing of taxes among others. The entire process of entity search may seem complex, if so then IncParadise can provide meaningful assistance.
We are one of the leading business formation service providers in Michigan. We can help you to conduct a Michigan business name search and provide the details of such a search. If you are planning to or forming a corporation or an LLC in Michigan, then we can help you with business related processes like the new entity registration. We also offer a host of additional services that will help you comply with annual requirements.