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 Missouri. 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?
Reserving an LLC name is not mandatory in Missouri. There are circumstances when it’s wise to place a reservation, although you aren’t required to do so before filing 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 Missouri 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 Missouri 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 Missouri Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Missouri 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 Missouri gives you a 60-day hold on your name.
You can renew your reservation for two subsequent 60-day periods by filing a name renewal online and paying an additional $25 each time. After your second renewal, though, you’re not allowed to reserve that name again, so don’t reserve a name more than 180 days before you’re ready to launch your business.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Missouri?
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 Business Entity Search to see if your proposed name is already taken. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Missouri (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.
The Missouri Secretary of State lets you reserve a name online, by mail, or in person, but the most streamlined option is online. Go to the Corporations Online Portal and log in (or create an account). From the next page, select “Create a Business Entity.” Then, choose “Name Reservation” in the dropdown box. Follow the onscreen instructions and you’ll be finished in no time. In the final step, use a credit or debit card to pay the $25 fee.
If you prefer to do business by mail, you can also fill out an “Application for Reservation of Name” and mail it to:
Secretary of State, Corporations Division
P.O. Box 778
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Or, if you live in Jefferson City and need an excuse to get out of the office, drop it off at:
600 W. Main St., Rm. 322
Jefferson City, MO 65102
For mailed and in-person applications, pay your $25 with a check made out to “Secretary of State.” Processing time is 4-5 business days for paper applications and 24 hours for online ones.
And that’s it! The 60-day reservation will begin as soon as your form is processed. 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 Missouri 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 Missouri 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.