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Naming Your Business
Whether you’re searching for the right business name or registering your LLC with the North Carolina Secretary of State (SOS), we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to perform an NC SOS business search, plus LLC naming rules, assumed names and registering your business.
General Rules for LLC Names
These rules typically apply to all LLCs, no matter what state they are formed in.
Your LLC Name Must Be Unique
The business name you've chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the State of North Carolina. This is why it's imperative to perform an NC Secretary of State business search before you begin the filing process.
Your LLC Name Must Not Be Confusable with Another Business Name
It’s not enough for your LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in North Carolina. In addition, you cannot use the following features to say your name is different from the name of another business:
- Suffixes, such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., Ltd., LLC, etc.
- Definite articles, such as “A,” “An,” or “The”
- The conjunction "And," or “&"
- The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
- Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
Your LLC Name Must Contain Certain Words
All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their names, usually at the end of the name.
Your LLC Name May Have Other General Restrictions
Most states will not allow you to select LLC names that:
- Are similar to the name of a federal or state agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, North Carolina Controller, North Carolina Police, Treasury, etc.)
- Suggest affiliation with a federal or state agency or organization
- Use the term “Olympic” or any terms that are trademarks of the International Olympic Committee
- Imply a purpose that would be illegal for your business to carry out
Specific North Carolina Business Name Rules
In addition to the general rules listed above, North Carolina imposes some specific business naming rules, which include but are not limited to:
The Department of the Secretary of State will also reject the following words used in names unless the applicant can provide documentation that proves his or her business entity is legally qualified to provide the service indicated:
- Architect, Architecture, Architectural
- Certified Public Accountant and abbreviations of such
- Cooperative, Co-op
- Engineer, Engineering
- Pharmacy, Prescription Drug, Drug, Prescription, Rx, Apothecary
How to Come Up with a Unique Business Name
The perfect business name can be difficult to find. We have a complete guide to help you choose the right name for your business, but basically, you'll want to choose a name that will:
- Appeal to your customers
- Be memorable enough to stand out
- Best represent your product or services
- Not be used by another business
Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try our free name generator.
North Carolina Business Search
Once you have an idea of the business name you’d like to use, you’ll need to perform a North Carolina business name search to make sure another business doesn’t already have that name.
Bizee offers a simple, convenient tool you can use to look up your desired business name. The North Carolina Secretary of State also has a tool that lets you search the North Carolina business registry to see whether someone already has your desired business name.
Find Out Whether Your Preferred Business Name is Available in North Carolina With Bizee’s Free ToolCheck Your LLC Name
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your North Carolina LLC name doesn't infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to make sure you're in the clear is to carry out a trademark search through Bizee. If it's not already in use, you can even register it as a trademark yourself.
Make Sure Your Business is Starting Off on the Right Foot When It Comes to Intellectual Property
Let Bizee run a trademark search for you.Bizee’s Trademark and Registration Service
North Carolina DBA or Assumed Name
You can conduct business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In some states, this is called a DBA (doing business as), fictitious name or trade name. In North Carolina, it's called an assumed name. You may decide to use a North Carolina assumed name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your business might be called North Carolina Travel Company LLC, and under that company, you have a hiking business called Appalachian Trail Adventures. You'll want to secure an assumed name specific to that arm of your business. You'll do that by filing an Assumed Business Name Certificate, or you can have Bizee do it on your behalf through our DBA service.
Note: A trade name is not the same as a trademark. Learn more about trademark vs. DBA.
Register and Manage an Assumed Name or DBA Name Through Our Easy-To-Use ServiceBizee’s Assumed Name Service
Register Your Business Name with the North Carolina Secretary of State
Once you’ve completed a North Carolina entity search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need an assumed name, you can register your LLC name in one of two ways:
- If you don’t want to form your LLC right away, you can reserve the business name. You'll need to complete an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name and file it with the North Carolina Secretary of State. Once you do so, your name will be reserved for 120 days. You don't need to reserve a name if you're forming your business right away.
- If you’re ready to start your NC LLC, you can file your Articles of Organization with the North Carolina Secretary of State or have Bizee do it for you.
Bizee Can Handle All Your Formation Paperwork With the State of North Carolina for You — and We’ll Do It for Free!
Form your North Carolina LLC for $0 + State Fee ($215)Start Your LLC Now
FAQs About Naming Your North Carolina LLC
How Do I Search for My NC LLC Name?
Are There Any Rules for Naming My NC LLC?
Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the State of North Carolina). You'll find more information above.
Can I Do Business Under a Different Name Than My LLC Name in North Carolina?
Yes. You can conduct business under an assumed name. Details are above.
What Are the Rules on Naming My California Business Entity?
Yes. The North Carolina Secretary of State allows you to reserve a name if you don’t want to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you're ready to start your business now, you don't need to reserve a name.