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 Iowa. 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?
No, placing a name reservation isn’t necessary in Iowa. You have the option to reserve a name, but it’s not required for LLC formation. If you’re ready to get your business off the ground, you can skip this step and file your Certificate of Organization, which will officially claim your name.
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 Iowa LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $10 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 Iowa 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 Iowa Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Iowa 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 reservation in the state of Iowa allows you to claim that name for 120 days.
After your reservation expires, you can renew it one time for an additional 120 day period. Because you only get one renewal, it’s important to plan out your LLC launch timeline. If you haven’t filed your Certificate of Organization by the end of your second 120-day reservation, the name becomes open to the public again and you risk losing it.
To transfer your name reservation, file a “Notice of Transfer of Reservation of Name,” and pay an additional $10 fee. This does not renew or extend your reservation; it simply changes the name’s owner.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Iowa?
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. The Iowa Secretary of State’s website has a Business Entities Search function that you can use to check for your desired name. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Iowa (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.
Secretary of State
Business Services Division
Lucas Building, 1st Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
For anyone local to the Des Moines area, you’re also welcome to drop your form and payment off in person at the same location.
Don’t forget that payment! The Secretary of State’s office can’t process your form without it. For both mailed and in-person submissions, include a check payable to “Secretary of State.”
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 Iowa to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $10 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $50 Iowa LLC formation fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $10 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 Wyoming.
While LegalZoom is by far the most well-known LLC formation service and has decent overall value, we highly recommend looking into ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to, and these two are reliable, professional, and efficient.