Having a business in Alabama is something a lot of aspiring business owners have in their heads, especially those that do not run a company in Alabama before. However, having something in your head does not amount to much until you make use of the idea you have. If you have an idea for your business, you need to name your business as well. If you have little to no idea about how to claim a company name in Alabama, I’ll advise you to take a look at this quick guide that provides you with the necessary information about business name claims in the State of Alabama.
To register a business name in Alabama, you need to be sure that you have chosen a name that is available by finding the name of your business, searching for a domain name, and a federal trademark. After these steps, you can then go ahead to register the name you have searched for your business.
Here is a more detailed guide on how to claim a name for your business in Alabama :
Claiming a business name in Alabama
Step #1: Choose Your Business Structure
Note that you will need to choose a structure for your business first before looking up a name. The structure of your business is part of the important decisions you will make as a business owner. Basically, sole proprietorships and partnerships are simpler than corporations and LLCs. However, factors you need to think about when selecting a structure for your business depend on the wants and needs of your business.
Alabama does not impose a lot of rules when it comes to naming a business, however, you should note that your chosen business name has to be unique and easy to differentiate from other company names. Also, the name of a business must include a business distinguisher as a part of the name. This essentially means if your business is a corporation, then its name should come with an appropriate abbreviation such as “Corp.” or “Inc.”
On the other hand, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) should include a relevant identifier such as “Ltd.,” “LLC,” or other appropriate identifying abbreviation. You can look out for more details on how to name your business in Alabama through the link.
Step #2: Check the Availability of Your Name & Follow the rules for business naming.
As mentioned in step one, your chosen business name must be distinct and distinguishable from other company names in Alabama. You can easily check the availability and uniqueness of your desired business name by conducting a name search through an Alabama Business entity name-searching tool online that is provided by the Alabama Secretary of State. If there are similar names to the name you have chosen for your business in the results, you will need to make a change to your name and then rerun the name-searching tool. You can conduct the following searches in Alabama to ascertain that your business has a unique name that is not trademarked:
- Search a Trademark from the Federal Government
- Search a name you can give your Business in Alabama
- Check availability of Domain Name
- Social Media & Web Search
In addition to searching for the availability of the name of your business, it is recommended that you also check your domain name availability (as mentioned), which can be done for free through the help of web hosting platforms such as GoDaddy or BlueHost.
Step #3: File Your Business Formation Document
Once you are sure that the name of your business is available, your next and final step is to have your business formation filed as soon as possible. It would be best to have your company’s formation filed quickly because there is no guarantee that your chosen company name will still be available in a few days or weeks. After all, another business may have the same business name as you and may file their formation sooner than yours.
Moreover, the entire company formation process can be quite difficult to do on your own. For this reason, you might want to consider hiring a business formation service to do the job on your behalf as hiring a dependable business formation service provider comes with many benefits such as:
- Fast and Easy Business Formation: A reputable company formation service can help you file your business formation promptly and effortlessly.
- Convenient Business Name Searching: Business formation services can conveniently look for your desired business name availability in your state of filing.
- Guidance on Necessary Business Formation Documents: An outstanding business formation service provider can help you with every aspect of the business formation process.
- Save Money and Time: With the help of a reliable business formation service, you get the opportunity to save valuable business resources and time.
#Step 4: Register your Business and its Name
After you have formed a new company, you will need to register your business and its name. You will start this process by:
- Sending a reservation for your business name to the Secretary of the State of Alabama alongside a required fee of 25 dollars or you can choose to submit the form online through the website of the Alabama Secretary of State.
- Filing the Articles of Organization for your business with the Secretary of the State of Alabama if you’re starting an LLC, or you’ll file the Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of the State of Alabama.
- Getting the Right Business Licenses and Permits: you need to comply with all the federal, state, and federal government regulations to operate a business in Alabama. Depending on the business type you operate, you will need to get the required licenses and permits that are required in Alabama.
- Protecting the name of your business With a Trademark (Optional): After you have confirmed the availability of the name of your business and secure it, you can choose to apply for a trademark for your business. This usually costs between 225 dollars to 400 dollars plus any attorney fees as well as a renewal fee every 10 years.
Claiming a company name in Alabama; Other things to Know
In Alabama, it is important that you request for a Fictitious Name/DBA name in addition to the original business name because it allows your new or existing business to do business with a name that is different from its legal name. It is usually helpful because it can allow you to give another name to your business without a need to file for change to the documents used in its formation. Note that all businesses can request for a Fictitious name, however, Corporations and LLCs filing are quite different from that of sole proprietorship and general partnership.
Also, in Alabama, you can request a business name reservation as mentioned above. Filing an Alabama business name to be reserved can be beneficial, for instance; if you get a distinct company name, but you don’t wish to start your corporation or LLC immediately. The State of Alabama charges a sum of 28 dollars for name reservation online, and 10 dollars for name reservation through the mail.
If the name of your business is available, you must pay the appropriate filing fee for your business type:
You’ll pay a sum of 200 dollars if you file your Certificate of Formation online, meanwhile, it’ll take only 100 dollars if you choose to file by mail. You may be required to pay extra fees if you’re using a professional service to file your business formation papers, which is recommended.
If you want to change the current name of your business for any reason in Alabama, you can do so by either requesting a fictitious name or you can submit a request to review the legal name of your existing business. Requesting for a Fictitious name is the only method available for changing the current name of a sole proprietorship business and general partnership. Meanwhile, it is an easier way to replace the current/previous name of an LLC or a corporation. If you run a Corporation or an LLC, you can choose to submit a request to review the legal name of your existing business, you’ll need to request for the LLC-name Amendment Certificate for Alabama if you run an LLC. However, if you run a Corporation in Alabama, you’ll need to request for the Corporation-name Amendment Certificate for Alabama. The file you request for will then be mailed alongside a required 50 dollars filing fee.
Now that you know the essential steps to name your business in Alabama, you can now start searching for the name of your business availability with ease.