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 Rhode Island. 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 LLC 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?
No, there is no requirement that says you must reserve a name before forming your LLC. However, if you’re worried that your desired name might get taken, you have the option to claim it. But if you’d rather file your Articles of Organization right away, you can.
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 Rhode Island LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $50 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island gives you exclusive rights to that name for 120 days. After your time expires, you cannot renew your reservation, and it’s once again available to the public. So, it’s best to launch your business within those 120 days, or you risk losing your desired name.
If you need to transfer your reservation to someone else, you can do so by filing a notice with the Secretary of State. This notice must include the name and address of the transferee, along with your signature.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Rhode Island?
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 using the Secretary of State’s Corporate Database. Just type in your proposed name to see if anyone is already using your name. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Rhode Island (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.
Head to the Secretary of State Business Forms page and select RI Limited Liability Company, which will take you to a list of forms. Next to “Reservation of Entity Name,” you’ll find options for “Download” and “File Online.”
Either option is valid, but filing online is often quicker. Click that option to access the Online Filing System. Once there, select “File New Business Entity,” and on the next page, click “Reservation of Entity Name” under Domestic Limited Liability Company. From there, you just have to enter a few pieces of information and use a credit/debit card to pay your fee.
If you choose “Download,” you will be presented with the paper “Application for Reservation of Entity Name” form. Fill it out and mail it, along with a check (payable to “Rhode Island Secretary of State”) for your $50 fee, to:
Office of the Secretary of State
148 W. River Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02904-2615
And if you happen to live near Providence, you can drop it off at the same address, if you’d like. For hand-delivered forms, you can pay using a card, check, or cash.
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 Rhode Island to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $50 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $150 Rhode Island Articles of Organization fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $50 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.