When planning to start a New Mexico LLC, first comes your big idea, your product or service, the meat and potatoes of your business. After all, that’s how you’ll build a dream business.
But after the initial rush of deciding to take your idea to market, you have to answer an important and pressing question: “what do I call it?”
Every LLC needs a name, preferably a catchy one, specifically one that isn’t already in use. After all, despite how clever it may be, you can’t steal someone else’s name.
“But,” you may ask, “how do I know if a name is already in use?” It’s a good question. There are a lot of businesses in New Mexico, a lot of names to check. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to go about it: performing an LLC name search.
Quick Note: If you’d like to save time, an LLC formation service (like LegalZoom and ZenBusiness) can perform an LLC name search and register the business on your behalf. No need to navigate confusing state-website portals or file anything yourself.
Reasons to Perform an LLC Name Search
Checking for New Mexico LLC name availability is the most common reason to perform a search, but it’s far from the only one. Here are a few other reasons you might search for a name:
1) Finding Similar Names
You don’t want potential customers confusing you with another company, especially if that company is a competitor. Your proposed name might be available, but there could also be multiple businesses out there with deceivingly similar ones. If you don’t want your LLC getting mixed up with other businesses, this might prompt you to find a new name.
2) Checking Your Business Status
Once you’ve filed the Articles of Organization and started your New Mexico LLC, you can periodically check its status by searching for your existing name. This will confirm your business’ good standing with the state and provide your Business ID, which you may need for future filings and documents.
3) Registered Agent and Office Information
At some point, you might need to send a business service of process. Or, more positively, you might want to partner with them. In either case, you’ll need their New Mexico registered agent name and office address, readily available through a name search.
4) Maintaining Current Business Information
When modifying your LLC’s information – like changing your registered agent or principal address to a member or a registered agent service – you will want to confirm the information that the Secretary of State already has on file. A name search will take care of this for you.
How to Perform a New Mexico LLC Name Search
The New Mexico Secretary of State offers a one-size-fits-all solution for business name searches. Whether you’re checking a name’s availability or looking for a particular company, you can use the business search tool found here.
When checking to see if a name is in use, simply select “Exact Match” from the top, enter your proposed name in the search bar, and hit “Search.” Any results that appear mean the name is currently unavailable, and you’ll need to come up with a different one. But if there are no results, you’re in the clear! Feel free to reserve that name or use it on your Articles of Organization.
The process is only slightly different when you’re searching for an existing business. Enter that business’ full or partial name, its Business ID, or its Registration Number in the corresponding search bar. You’ll likely find a list of results. Click any of them to access the following:
- Business ID
- Entity Name
- “Doing Business As” Name (if applicable)
- Business Status
- Standing (Good Standing or otherwise)
- Entity Type
- State of Incorporation
- Mailing Address
- Principal Information
- Registered Agent Name
- Registered Agent Address
- Officer/Manager/Member/Organizer Information
This information can be incredibly useful in reaching out to another business or checking to confirm that your LLC’s information is up to date.
What If My Name Is Unavailable?
So you went to the business search, you plugged in your desired name, you hit search, and there it was: your precious name, already in use. What now?
If your LLC is domestic (formed in New Mexico), your only option is to start brainstorming ideas for a different one. Just don’t use one that’s too similar. Then, when you’ve found an acceptable, available name, go ahead and reserve it.
For foreign LLCs, the process takes another step. If your business is expanding to New Mexico from out of state, it already has an established name. But what if that name is unavailable in New Mexico? In this case, you would need to designate an alternate name for use in the state. Fortunately, it’s not too hard. Just include the new name on your Application for Registration when your foreign qualify your LLC and you’ll be all set.
How to Make a New Mexico LLC Name Distinguishable
Remember that each state has specific business name requirements, and New Mexico is no different. Adhering to these requirements means that your LLC name must:
- Use a term that identifies its business type, like “limited liability company,” “limited company,” “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “L.C.,” or “LC”
- Be available and distinguishable from every registered and reserved business name on record with the Secretary of State.
But how do you determine if a name is distinguishable? This term isn’t defined anywhere in the LLC Act or on the Secretary of State website, but typically, differences in the following elements will NOT distinguish a name:
- Business type designators like LLC, Ltd, Inc, or LP (New Company LLC, New Company Ltd, New Company Inc, and New Company LP are all considered the same)
- The articles “a,” “an,” or “the.”
- Conjunctions like “and,” and “or”
- Singular vs. plural versions of the same word
Essentially, to create a fully distinguishable name, you must change the name itself, not just the syntax. If your name is unavailable, and you’re not sure how to make it distinguishable, try finding synonyms, adding prefixes or suffixes, rearranging the words, using different spellings or adding/removing words. This way, you can have a unique name that’s still similar to the one you originally wanted.
What you do next depends entirely on what your goal. If you’re checking for name availability and your name is free in New Mexico, you can proceed to reserve it or use it on your Articles of Organization.
In the case that you’re not ready to start your LLC, but you want to protect your name, you can file a name reservation. For $20, you’ll get 120 days of exclusive rights to that name. Or, you can use that name on your Articles of Organization, which will register it automatically.
Need Help Starting an LLC?
Like we mentioned earlier, an LLC formation service can take care of all the paperwork for you. Using a formation service guarantees that your filings will be completed and submitted correctly. It also eliminates the stress of doing it yourself and gives you more time to develop your business plan, network, or just relax.