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 Maine. 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.
Quick Note: If you’ve already found the ideal business name and would like to secure it quickly by starting the LLC, an online LLC service can do it for you. No need to navigate confusing state-website portals or file anything yourself.
Are You Required to Reserve a Business Name?
In some states, name reservation is a mandated first step in the LLC formation process, but this is not the case in Maine. If you’re ready to start your business, you can jump right ahead to filing your Certificate of Formation.
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 Maine LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $20 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 a Maine 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 a Maine Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Maine 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 Maine makes that name yours for a period of 120 days.
However, after that window closes, you cannot renew the reservation, and the name is available to the public once again. So if you’re filing a name reservation, be prepared to form your LLC within the next 120 days.
To transfer a name reservation, all you have to do is file a Form MLLC-1A: Transfer of Reserved Name, although it will cost you $20. Transferring a reservation only changes ownership; it is not an extension.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Maine?
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. Use the Secretary of State’s Corporate Search feature to look up your proposed name. This will show you if it’s already in use. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Maine (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.
To stake your claim, find Form MLLC-1: Application for Reservation of Name on the Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions Forms and Fees page. There are only a few pieces of information you need to provide (proposed name, your name, and your address). After you’re done, mail or deliver the form to:
Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101
You’ll notice that there’s a cover sheet attached to the form, which you’ll need to fill out to help ensure expediency in processing.
Reserving an LLC name in Maine costs $20 and you can pay with a check made out to “Maine Secretary of State,” or by card (only if you include a Credit Card Payment Voucher).
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 Maine to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $20 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $175 Maine LLC formation fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $20 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.