North Carolina Business Entity Search – LLC – Corporations

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In this post, we show you how to easily search for available business names in North Carolina using a free entity search tool provided by the state.

Before you file the required documents for your new LLC, you will need to do an LLC name search first to check the name’s availability. You should make sure that the name that you are considering is unique and different from other LLCs operating within the state.

You can research a business entity name and availability in the State’s online database.


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If your business will be an LLC, there are some requirements to be aware of before searching. As for name requirements, most states say your LLC name can end with the abbreviations LLC, L.L.C., or the words Limited Liability Company. Each state has its own requirements and guidelines. Most people choose LLC.

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The name must be distinguishable and clearly unique. For example, if there is a business entity named ABC Plumbers, Inc., the name ABC Plumbers, LLC would not be available. The name ABC Plumbers & Contractors, LLC would have a better chance of getting approved. The final determination of a name’s availability is the State where the name is attempting to be registered.

Giving Your New Business a Name

When you name something, you get attached to it. Naming your soon to be business can only spur your decision forward. Backing out on the idea will be less of an option.

When forming a company, you and your co-founders need to brainstorm and decide on a few things, such as your business name. Before contacting the good folks at ZenBusiness or Incfile, you need to:

  • Come up with a name that hasn’t been used before. Visit the North Carolina Secretary of State website and enter the business name in the Corporate Name Search database.
  • That name, even if unique or derivative, shouldn’t sound like an existing one as the North Carolina Secretary of State would reject it.
  • Ensure that the name does not violate any North Carolina State Law.
  • You can also call the State Business Information Line at 919-814-5400 and ask them to do a business name search.
  • For more info, visit the North Carolina Secretary of State website. 

How To Do A North Carolina Business Name Search

Visit the North Carolina Corporate Search page https://www.sosnc.gov/search/index/corp and enter the business name that you are thinking about using into the “Search For” section of the search page. When searching for names in North Carolina,

  • Don’t enter LLC after the name or variations (LLC, L.L.C., etc) while doing searches.
  • Search for both the plural and singular versions of names. For example, if your LLC name has the word “Publishers” in it, also do a search with “Publisher”.
  • Search the first 1-2 words of your LLC name. For example, if your desired LLC name is “Raleigh Electrician Service LLC”, do a search for “Raleigh Electrician”.
  • The point is to check for any potential name conflicts and to come up with a unique LLC name.
  • In the “Search By” section you are given four options to search by “Company” “Registered Agents” “Company Officials” and “Assumed Business Names”
  • In the “Words” section you are given the choice of searching business names by “Starting With” “Any Words” “All Words” “Exact Words” “SOSID”.

Searching the North Carolina database could take a little bit of time but with a few searches of “Starting With” or “Exact Words” you should get a pretty good idea about the availability of the business name that you are interested in registering.

It’s important to note that even when a given business appears to be available, the NC Secretary of State will do their own search to confirm availability. There could be name variations or abbreviations that could cause a conflict.

That’s how you can search for a business name in North Carolina. Again, the NC SOS office will make the final determination on a business name’s availability.

North Carolina Secretary of State

Mailing address:
NC Secretary of State
PO Box 29525
Raleigh, NC 27626-0525

Department of the Secretary of State
Corporations Division
Phone: 919-814-5400 (hours: 8am – 5pm Eastern)
Email: corpinfo@sosnc.com

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Searching for a new business name is easy but nothing is guaranteed until you get the name reserved or registered. But you can start searching your business entity name in North Carolina now and get some ideas.

Disclaimer – This website does not provide tax or legal advice. It is for general informational purposes only. The business formation services mentioned on our website are Document Filing Services and CANNOT provide you with legal or financial advice. It is presented with the understanding that these Document Filing Services ARE NOT engaged in rendering legal and/or accounting services. If you need legal or tax advice,  please consult with a competent attorney and/or accountant. Features, pricing, and service options on our website are subject to change without notice.

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