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 Louisiana. 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?
Yes, reserving a business name is a necessary step in Louisiana’s LLC formation process. You will need to use this reservation when you begin your new business registration. So, before you do anything else, visit the geauxBIZ portal or download a “Reservation of Name” form. Once you receive confirmation of your reservation, you’ll be authorized to begin 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 Louisiana LLC registration.
Louisiana requires a name reservation so they can confirm that your LLC name is unique and available for use. So, it’s not a question of if you should reserve a name, but when you should reserve it. You can do so up to 120 days before you form your LLC.
Even if your business isn’t quite ready, you might consider reserving a name in advance. 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 you’re worried about that perfect name getting claimed by someone else, reserve your name well ahead of time, since you’ll need to do so before filing your Articles of Organization anyway.
How Long Does a Louisiana Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Louisiana must 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 and allows you to convert your reservation to registration when the time is right.
An entity name reservation in Louisiana lasts 120 days from the date of filing, but cannot be renewed after it expires. Consequently, you’ll need to plan out your business launch timeline. Don’t file your reservation more than 120 days before you’re ready to form your LLC, or you could be at risk of losing your name.
To transfer the reservation to someone else, you can file a “Reservation Transfer” form for another $25 fee. This will only change ownership of the reservation; it won’t extend the hold on your name.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Louisiana?
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. For a quick preliminary check, you can use the S.O.S. Commercial Search Tool, but because Louisiana uses the name reservation as an official availability check, the search tool shouldn’t be considered final. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Louisiana (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.
Electronic or paper? Take your pick. The Secretary of State offers both options. The geauxBIZ online filing system makes it relatively easy. Plus, they offer this handy video tutorial that walks you through each step.
Keep in mind that as of January 1, 2018, certain parishes are required to file available business forms online: Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita, Rapides, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Terrebonne.
However, if you live outside these parishes and want to file a paper copy, you can download and complete the “Reservation of LLC Name” form, then mail it to:
Secretary of State, Commercial Division
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
Either way, there’s a $25 filing fee involved. Online, you’ll be prompted to pay via credit or debit card. By mail, include a check made out to “Secretary of State.” Online filings are processed in 24 hours and mailed forms typically take 3-5 business days. However, you can request expedited 24-hour processing for $30 or 2-4 hour processing for $50.
Wrapping up and Choosing the Best Route
Your LLC name is an important part of the business. Before your business can start operating, hiring, and raking in cash, you need to file a name reservation to get the ball rolling. 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 a name well in advance since you’ll be required to do so eventually anyway. That way, you can lock down that clever name right away, then take care of your other business details.
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.