Having a business in California is something a lot of aspiring business owners have in their heads, especially those that do not run a company in California 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 California, 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 California.
To register a business name in California, you need to be sure that you have chosen a name that is available by finding the name of your business, search 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 California:
Claiming a business name in California
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.
California 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, you can read more about this here. 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 California through the naming Guidelines for the State of California and the Regulation Code for the State of California.
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 California. You can easily check the availability and uniqueness of your desired business name by conducting a name search through the Business database tool for the Secretary of the State of California. 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 California 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 California
- 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:
- Filing the Articles of Organization for your business with the Secretary of the State of California if you’re starting an LLC, or you’ll file the Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of the State of California if you’re starting a Corporation. You can choose to file this document(s) online, by mail, or in person.
- Getting the Right Business Licenses and Permits: Depending on the business type you operate, you will need to get the required licenses and permits that are required in California. You have to know where you’ll get the right license for your business in the State of California, you can do that by taking a look at this link.
- 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 California; Other things to Know
In California, 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.
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 70 dollars to file your Articles of Organization with the California Secretary of State if you wish to start an LLC in the State. Meanwhile, you’ll be required to pay a sum of 100 dollars to file the Articles of Incorporation if you’re starting a Corporation.
If you want to change the current name of your business for any reason in California, 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 Articles of Amendment for California if you run an LLC. However, if you run a Corporation in California, you’ll need to request for the Corporation-name Articles of Amendment California. The file you have requested will then be mailed alongside a 30 dollars filing fee.
Now that you know the essential steps to name your business in California, you can now start searching for the availability of your business name with ease.