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 Massachusetts. 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. Name reservations are available for anyone hoping to do business in Massachusetts, but not required for LLC formation. If you’re eager to start your company, you can skip this step and dive right into filing your Certificate of Organization, which will automatically 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 Massachusetts LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $30 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts lasts 60 days, during which you are the sole owner of that name.
Within this 60-day window, you can renew your reservation by filing another form and paying an additional $30. While you can renew your hold as long as you need, those $30 fees can start to add up, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t reserve a name too far in advance.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Massachusetts?
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 Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Business Entity Search lets you determine if your proposed name is already in use. There’s also a separate Name Reservation Search you can use to see if your name has been reserved by someone else. Search both databases before moving on. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Massachusetts (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.
Get started by downloading an “Application of Reservation of Name,” which you can find – along with other important name reservation information – here. Use Adobe Acrobat or a similar program to complete the form. It must be typed, as the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will not accept handwritten documents. After you’re done, mail or hand deliver it to:
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1717
Boston, Massachusetts 02108-1512
Or, if you live in Boston, you can stop by the same address to drop it off in person. There is no electronic or fax option to submit this form.
Reserving or renewing a business name comes with a $30 fee, which you can pay by check, made out to “Secretary of the Commonwealth.”
And that’s it! The 60-day reservation will begin when your form is processed. Typical processing time is 3-5 business days. Once 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 Massachusetts to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $30 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $500 Massachusetts LLC formation fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $30 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.