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 North Dakota. 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, in North Dakota it’s not mandatory to reserve a business name before forming your LLC. You have the option to file a reservation, but if you’re ready to start your business and would rather register your name by filing your Articles of Organization, you’re welcome to do that instead.
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 North Dakota LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $10 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of North Dakota can reserve an entity name.
Filing your name reservation prevents another entity from using that name to conduct business in the state during the time of your hold. North Dakota is generous with their name reservations. Each reservation gives you sole ownership of your desired name for a period of 12 months, after which you can renew your hold for successive 12-month periods by filing another form and paying a $10 fee each time.
To transfer your reserved name to someone else, file a “Reserve Name Notice of Transfer” with another $10 fee.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in North Dakota?
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 Records Search function to see if your name is currently registered or reserved. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of North Dakota (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.
You’ve confirmed that your name is free and compliant, now go to the Business Forms page to find the “Reserve Name Application”. The form itself is quick and easy, only requiring that you check off your business type (LLC), enter your desired name, and sign. To pay the $10 fee, include a check made out to “Secretary of State,” or write your credit card information in the designated space on the form.
Then, mail your document to:
Secretary of State
State of North Dakota
600 E Boulevard Ave, Dept 108
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0500
Or, fax it to (701) 328-2992.
And that’s it! The yearlong reservation will begin as soon as your form is processed, which can take up to four weeks. But 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 North Dakota to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $10 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $135 North Dakota LLC formation fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $10 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.