Your company name is important. It’s your first impression, and it’s how people will remember you. You don’t want to be the business with a forgettable name. So, when you’ve got that perfect name in mind, that clever alliteration or meaningful acronym, you might think about reserving it before someone else does.
Naming your company is one of the first official steps when starting an LLC in Illinois. In certain situations, it may be necessary to reserve a business name while you’re preparing to bring your business idea to life.
In this article, we’ll explain when reserving a business name is necessary and guide you through all the steps involved.
Are You Required to Reserve a Business Name?
Certain states may require you to reserve a business name before forming your LLC, but this is not the case in Illinois. If you’re ready to launch your business, or you aren’t worried about your name getting taken, you can skip this step and head straight to your Articles of Organization.
Should You Reserve Your LLC Name?
Maybe it took you sleepless nights of brainstorming, or maybe you thought of it while sitting at a traffic light. No matter how you came up with your memorable LLC name, you’ll want to make sure that it’s available and ready to use when you file your Illinois LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $25 fee. Overall, it’s cheaper to skip this fee and simply start your business, which will lock in your name.
However, there are cases where you may not be ready to officially start your business. Filing an application to reserve your business name gives you “dibs” and ensures that competitors aren’t able to snag it while you’re preparing for launch.
If your business name is unique, including unusual spellings or characters and/or family names, it may not be necessary to reserve an Illinois business name ahead of time. Plus, paying the extra state fee to reserve your business name could be a waste of resources if you’re planning to launch your business soon after.
How Long Does an Illinois Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Illinois can reserve an entity name. Filing your name registration prevents another entity from using that name to conduct business in the state during the time of your hold. An entity name registration in the state of Illinois costs $25 and gives you sole ownership of that name for a period of 90 days.
But after that, there’s no option for renewal, so it becomes open for anyone to claim. So, if you’re worried about losing your desired name, be sure to file your Articles of Organization and officially start your business within that 90-day window.
Say you have a stroke of brilliance and come up with a better name. You can cancel your reservation at any time for an additional $5 fee.
Or, perhaps you want to give name ownership to someone else. Reservation transfer is also an option for another $25. Just know that a transfer does not extend or renew your reservation; it simply changes the owner.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Illinois?
Got a name in mind? Perfect. Follow these steps to reserve it.
Before submitting your application to reserve your business name, you first need to check name availability. To do so, submit a Name Availability Inquiry Form to the Illinois Secretary of State. You can request to check up to three names at once, and you will be notified via email if they are or are not available. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Illinois (find them all here).
All good? Then check to see if your LLC name is available. If it is, let out a sigh of relief—you’re ready to reserve it.
Start by going to the Secretary of State LLC Forms page. Select Form LLC-1.15: Application to Reserve a Name. This is the same form you can use to transfer or cancel a reservation as well. Only complete the section for name reservation and you can leave the others blank.
Then, when you’ve completed the form, mail or hand deliver two copies to:
Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St., Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756
Reserving a name will cost you $25. Include, with your forms, a check payable to “Secretary of State.” Typical processing time for the Illinois Secretary of State’s office is 7-10 business days.
Need it sooner?
You can request 24-hour expedited processing for an additional $50 fee, but only if you deliver your forms and payment in person.
Wrapping up and Choosing the Best Route
Your LLC name is an important part of the business. If you’re not ready to launch your business, but you’ve got a perfect name and you think someone else might claim it, consider reserving it.
However if your business is ready for takeoff, use our comprehensive guide to forming an LLC in Illinois to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $25 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $150 Illinois LLC formation fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $25 isn’t a fortune by any means, but this will at least save you the hassle of reserving a name and registering an LLC separately.
Save Time by Using a Professional LLC Service
As a business owner, you have a lot to think about. Pile on the responsibility of handling state correspondence, tax information, and more while keeping your LLC compliant, and you’ve got yourself a pretty full plate. Sometimes the best move is to let someone else take care of the paperwork for you. This way, you can sleep easy knowing you’ll never miss a deadline or compliance requirement with the state of Illinois.
While LegalZoom is by far the most well-known LLC formation service and has decent overall value, we highly recommend looking into IncFile or Northwest Registered Agent. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to, and these two are reliable, professional, and efficient.
We compiled our meticulous research into thorough comparison guides for you to use. Take a look if you’re considering a professional LLC service. It’s well worth your time.