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 Michigan. 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 creation 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. This is not so in Michigan. You have the option to reserve a company name, but you’re not obligated to do so. Ready to start your business? Skip the reservation and head straight for the 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 Michigan 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 Michigan 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 Michigan Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Michigan can reserve an entity name. You can, essentially, reserve a name indefinitely. However, each time you renew your reservation, it’s going to cost you.
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 Michigan lasts 180 days from the date your filing is processed. But let’s say you’re not ready to start your business by the end of that 180-day window. That’s okay! You can renew the reservation by filing another form and paying another $25 fee.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Michigan?
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. If you use the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Business Entity Search, it’s easy as pie. Just search your desired name and see 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 Michigan (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.
Now that you know your name is available and compliant, it’s time to get down to business. You can reserve your LLC name by mail or in person, but the fastest way is online. Navigate to the Online Filing System, then sign in or click the link for a new entity at the top. Then, select “Application for Reservation of Name,” and you’re on your way.
But sometimes, nothing beats the feeling of a paper form. If you prefer trusty postal mail, download the form here, then fill it out using Adobe Acrobat (or a similar program) because LARA won’t accept handwritten forms. When finished mail it to:
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau
P.O. Box 30054
Lansing, Michigan 48909
If you’re local to Lansing, you can also hand deliver your form to 2501 Woodlake Circle Okemos, Michigan 48864.
For each reservation and renewal you submit, there’s a $25 fee. Here’s how to pay:
- Online: The digital form will prompt you to input your credit/debit card information
- Mail: Include a check or money order, made payable to “State of Michigan”
- In Person: Pay with check, money order, or card
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 Michigan to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $25 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $50 Michigan 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.