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 South Carolina. 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?
Nope, not in South Carolina. If you aren’t yet ready to start your business, you may reserve a name, but if you would rather skip straight to filing your Articles of Organization, you can 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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of South Carolina 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 South Carolina gives you exclusive rights to that name for a period of 120 days. Make sure you’re ready to form your LLC within this window, though, because you cannot renew a name reservation, and after your 120 days end, your name is open to the public once again.
While there’s no renewal option, you are allowed to transfer the reservation to someone else by filing a “Notice of Transfer of a Reserved LLC Name” form and paying a $10 fee. Transferring a name only changes its ownership; it doesn’t extend the reservation.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in South Carolina?
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. The Secretary of State’s website makes this process easy with their Business Name Search function. Simply search your desired name to see if it’s taken. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of South Carolina (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.
Need to get your name reserved fast before someone else snags it? File online using the Business Entities Online portal, as this is the most efficient method. Click “Start a New Business Filing” and create your account. Once signed in, you will be able to reserve your business name.
Or, to submit via postal mail, download the “Application to Reserve an LLC name,” and fill it out in its entirety. Print two copies and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you’d like a copy back. Then, mail your form to:
Secretary of State
Attn: Corporate Filings
1205 Pendleton Street Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
Reserving your LLC name will run you $25, payable by card online and by check (made out to “Secretary of State”) by mail.
And that’s it! Online filings are processed within 24 hours and mailed documents in 2-3 business days. Soon your name will be reserved and you’ll be one step closer to forming your LLC.
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 South Carolina to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $25 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $110 South Carolina Articles of Organization 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.