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 Maryland. 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?
You have the option to place a hold on your desired LLC name in Maryland, but you are not required to do so. You can, if you’re ready, go ahead and file your Articles of Organization right away. This will automatically register 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 Maryland 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 a Maryland 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 Maryland Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Maryland 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 Maryland gives you 30 days of sole ownership over that name.
The good news? You can renew your reservation as many times as you like by filing an Application for Re-Reservation. The bad news? Each re-reservation only gives you 30 more days and costs an additional $25. Be careful, those $25 fees can add up quickly, so you don’t necessarily want to reserve a name too long before you plan to submit your Articles of Organization.
To transfer a name reservation, deliver a signed notice to the Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT), including the name and address of the transferee. Once transferred, the reservation cannot be transferred again.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Maryland?
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 by using the Business Entity Search feature on the Maryland Business Express site. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Maryland (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.
On the SDAT website, navigate to the Departmental Forms and Application page. There you’ll find the “Corporate Name Reservation” form. That’s all you need! Download, complete, and mail or hand deliver it to:
State Department of Assessments and Taxation /UCC
301 W Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
*In-person filings will automatically be charged the additional $20 expedited processing fee
A name reservation in Maryland will cost you $25, and each re-reservation, an additional $25. You can pay by check, made out to “State Department of Assessment and Taxation.” Processing times can take up to eight weeks. But if you’re in a rush, you can request expedited (seven-day) processing for another $20.
You’re all set! The 30-day reservation will begin on the day that your form is processed. Now that your name is reserved, it’s time to start thinking forward to filing your Articles of Organization. Check out our comprehensive guide here.
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 Maryland to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $25 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $100 Maryland 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 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.