California Business Name Search

Getting Started

When getting started, you’ll need several solid ideas for business names. To start a business in California, you’ll want a name that is unique and distinguishable from other existing business entities within California.

We suggest coming up with a few name ideas before you begin your search. Having several options in mind is important because your first name choice may not be available. Need some help getting started? Use our business name generator below!

Generate Business Name Ideas


Search business name availability

To begin, you can run a preliminary search for the business name you wish to use.

To do this, visit the California Secretary of State Business Entities search page. The results of this search can not guarantee that the name you want will be available. Continue on to the next step.

After you’ve run a search of current California Business Entities, download the Name Availability Inquiry Letter PDF from the California Secretary of State (SOS) website.

Fill it out and mail it in. There is no fee for this service.

Email and online services for this step are currently unavailable.

 

Next, you’ll need to complete the Name Reservation Request. Download the form, complete it, and mail it in or drop it off in person along with the $10 fee. The name you want will be held for you for 60 days.

Email and online services for this step are currently unavailable.

 

If you plan to perform frequent name availability checks, look into California’s SOS Prepay Priority Telephone Service.

To create an account, a minimum deposit of $100 is required, followed by a $4 fee for each name search and a $10 fee for each name reservation. You can find the information about the Prepay Priority Telephone Service here.

 

Refer to the Business Entity Name Regulations & Additional Statutory Requirements and Restrictions download for more information.

California Secretary of State Office

Websitewww.sos.ca.gov/

Phone: (916) 657-5448

Email: unavailable

Hours: 8am – 5pm, Monday – Friday

Click to search the California business name database to ensure the name you want is not already in use.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can access the forms you need at the California Secretary of State website.

The mailing and delivery address for the California Secretary of State office in Sacramento is:

1500 11th Street

Sacramento, California

95814

 

Email and online communication are currently unavailable.

However, you can search the California Business Entity database in an attempt to rule out possible business names that are already in use.

After reserving your business name, the next step is to file the Articles of Organization. This paperwork can be filed online, or via mail or in person.

To complete the Articles of Organization in California, you should:

– Have your LLC name available and reserved.

– Have your business street address, not just a post office box.

– The name and address of a Registered Agent.

– The $70 filing fee.

– The $800 yearly franchise fee. We recommend not filing your Articles of Organization between October and December because you will be required to pay the current year and the proceeding year at the same time (for a total franchise fee of $1600).

– Allow 3 to 7 business days for the filing to be completed.

We believe that a unique business name that is easily distinguishable from other business names is an important part of having a successful business.

 

That being said, if your ideal business name is already in use, you may be able to use a similar variant by gaining consent from the current entity.

The California Secretary of State outlines that similar names are available with consent from the original existing entity. However, you will need to obtain a letter of consent prior to filing a proposed (similar) name.

According to section 21004, subsection (b), the letter must be written on the original business entity’s letterhead and worded as such:

“[Insert name of existing business entity giving consent] hereby consents to the use of the name [insert proposed name] in forming a [insert type of business entity].”

 

Please refer to the Business Entity Name Regulations & Additional Statutory Requirements and Restrictions for complete details.

 

If you’re still unable to find a business name that suits you, try using our business name generator to get unique name ideas (click here to find our business name generator).

Before you begin your business search at the California Secretary of State website, visit the United States Patent and Trademark online office with your business name ideas.

Run a trademark search at uspto.gov to ensure there are no trademarks on the name you wish you use.


Registering your business Domain/website

Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to check if the domain name for your business is available. The last thing you want is to register your business name and find that another competitor or company already has a website with your name! Use our domain check below to instantly check availability.

Enter your business name to check domain availability