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 Ohio. 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?
Some states require name reservation as the first step in forming your business, but Ohio does not. You may reserve a name if you’re worried about losing it, but if you’d rather secure that name by filing your Articles of Organization, 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 Ohio LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $39 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 an Ohio 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 an Ohio Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Ohio 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. For 180 days, you will own the rights to that name, and no one else can use it. Make good on this reservation by forming your LLC within this 180-day window.
Decide against your reserved name? Form 534b, your name reservation application, can also be used to transfer or cancel your hold. Transferring your reservation, however, only changes the ownership; it doesn’t provide a renewal or extension. Transferral and Cancellation each cost $25.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Ohio?
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. Punch your desired name into the Ohio Business Name Search to see if it’s already in use. And check out Ohio’s useful Guide to Name Availability for a lot more information. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Ohio (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.
Form 534b is available for both online and paper filing. To submit online, go to the Secretary of State’s Filing Forms & Fee Schedule page. Scroll down until you find the section titled “Name Registrations,” then “Name Reservation/Transfer/Cancellation.” Click the link to go to Ohio Business Central, the online filing portal. Once there, you’ll need to create an account, and then you can submit your reservation request.
Below the online submission link will be one for a PDF download. Fill in the form with your information and name options (you get three choices). Make sure to type the form and print it out single-sided; the Secretary of State’s office will not accept handwritten or double-sided documents. Once you’re done, mail it to:
Office of the Ohio Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, Ohio 78711-3697
Reserving a business name costs $39 whether you file online or by mail. The online system will let you enter credit or debit card information, and if filing by mail, you can include a check (payable to “Ohio Secretary of State”) or a “Credit Card Authorization Form” with your card details.
Get all that done? Then your name will be reserved soon! Now it’s time to start thinking about launching your business. Read over our comprehensive guide on filing your Articles of Organization 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 Ohio to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $39 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $99 Ohio LLC formation fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $39 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.