Are you looking to register a California business name but don’t know where to start? Or do you want to check if a brand option you’re considering is available, but don’t know how to do a California business name search or how to check for business name availability? In this article we will help you through the process, so you feel more comfortable with the process and check that you can register your business with ease.

Why Register a California Business Name?

California Business Name Search

Some people act as a business as a sole proprietorship. This business model means that they don’t, technically, need to register their name. They can also avoid the minimum $800 tax that is applied to every LLC, regardless of the income they get.

However, acting as a sole proprietorship does have some problems that registering a business name would avoid. For example, if your business was to be taken to court for something, and you lost, the business is responsible for the debt, not the individual if the business is an LLC. Therefore, creditors and the courts can’t seize personal assets.

Another benefit is that your name is protected from being used by someone else. The worst case scenario is that someone will take your name, then register it and then sue you for using the business name. Therefore, you will lose out on the branding and possibly personal assets.

Some benefits can help you expand as an LLC. For instance, banks are more likely to lend money to an LLC than a sole proprietorship. And you can get better supplier credit terms when you’ve got a registered business. Therefore, learning how to register a California business name should be a top consideration.

How to Check Business Name Availability in California

In this part of the article, we will demonstrate how easy it is to do a California business name search and check for business name availability in the state.

Step 1 – Build a List of Potential Brand Names

California Business Name Search

The first thing that you want to do is to ensure that you have a list of potential brand names ready. You might already have a favorite, one that has been generated from an LLC business name generator. Or you might want to use one to come up with dozens of potential names.

The last thing you want to do is to forget backups for when your favorite options have been taken out because they’re already in use.

Step 2 – Read the Checklist

The California Secretary of State has created a checklist for starting a new business in the state. Be sure that you read this document before you register a name. One of the first items on the checklist is the creation of a business plan. You will need to do market research, financing plans, and more for your document.

If you’ve never written a business plan before, you can find support online. Many business websites have a business plan template that you can use to help you. Or seek help online from business gurus, freelancers, or other professionals.

Step 3 – California Business Name Search

California Business Name Search

Now you need to take the potential names for your business and conduct a California business name search. For this, you search through the currently registered names that are on the Business Entities search page. You can have the option to enter a name and then the website will provide a list of matching or similarly named businesses.

Included within the information will be the filing date, status, entity type, and current agent in the state.

You can also get the details to require a name for the reservation. There is currently no facility for you to do this via email or online. This may change in the future.

Step 4 – Register an LLC in California

Now you need to register your business for the state. You can do this from the California Secretary of State website. There are business forms on the website that allow you to reserve your name, and also complete the form for your business’ status to be made an LLC.

It can depend on how long it will take to get your business to be registered. Sometimes it can take three weeks, sometimes it can be much shorter.

It is important to note that business names are only checked against entities in the registry. If there are names that are protected with trademarks or service mark registrations, these will not be displayed. Therefore, you must check with these bodies before registering a name. And you should not advertise your name until after the State Office has approved the name.

If you need to contact the Secretary of State, here are the details for the department.

Phone (916) 657-5448
Email N/A
Hours 8 am–5 pm, Monday–Friday

California Business Name Search

The Costs to Register a Business Name in California?

There are numerous costs when it comes to registering a business in California. Unlike in other states, the costs are very high. The minimum cost for taxes is $800 per year. Then other costs can push up the registration fee for an LLC in the state.

Experts reckon that you should save about $1200 as a minimum for registering your business as an LLC.

Getting Help

If you need help, it is highly recommended that you speak to an LLC agent. You will need one for the state anyway. The best options are ZenBusiness and Bizee, which can offer services for very little money. Not only can they help you register your business in any US state, but they can also act as an agent in every US state, allowing you to protect your name across the country and operate in numerous territories without issue.

California Business Name Search

Final Word: California Business Name Search

Above are the steps that you need for a California business name search. It is a simple process, but it might take some time and you will need to have some finances to ensure you can afford the registration costs.

California has a high tax rate and costs for registering a business. However, there is also a higher disposable income per person than in other states or on average across the USA.

You will need to pay $800 in tax annually as a minimum. However, you might be required to pay more depending on your income and other aspects.

Numerous industries are great for starting a business. Tourism and food are great options. But other options can be very profitable.
It is highly recommended to have a website for your business. A website can help with marketing, and improve your business's chances of bringing in new customers. A website can also help manage your business by automating some processes.
No, but it does help with marketing and improving your business; chances of success online. You can check whether a domain is available through the business name generator by clicking on the name.