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 Tennessee. 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.
As an entrepreneur, you already have so much to think about. Let ZenBusiness take care of the name reservation paperwork so you can focus on launching your dream business.
Alternatively, if you’d rather setup an LLC and solidify the name that way, we have a special discount and will do it for FREE ($79 less than LegalZoom).
Are You Required to Reserve a Business Name?
There are states where name reservation is a mandatory part of LLC formation, but Tennessee isn’t one of them. Reserving a name is an option, not an obligation, so if you’re ready to start your business and want to file your Articles of Organization immediately, go right ahead.
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 Tennessee LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $20 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Tennessee 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 Tennessee makes you the exclusive owner of that name for four months, after which you may re-reserve it by filing another form and paying another fee. There is no limit to how many times you can renew your reservation, but to avoid paying too many fees, it’s best to form your LLC within the first four-month window.
Don’t want your reserved name anymore? You can cancel it by filing an “Application for Cancellation” or transfer it with an “Application for Transfer.” Each of these forms comes with a $20 filing fee.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Tennessee?
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 Tennessee Secretary of State provides a handy Business Name Availability tool, where you can enter your desired name to see if it’s free. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Tennessee (find them all here in section 106). 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.
Lock down your perfect business name by filing Form SS-4228: Application for Reservation of LLC Name. You only need three pieces of information:
- The name you’d like reserved
- Your name
- Your address
Since there’s a $20 filing fee involved, include a check made out to “Tennessee Secretary of State” and send your form to:
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue
6th Floor, William R. Snodgrass Tower
Nashville, TN 37243
Live in or near Nashville? You can also deliver your form and payment in person if you’d prefer.
That’s all there is to it! Your name is reserved and your next step is filing your Articles of Organization.
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 Tennessee to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $20 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $300 Tennessee LLC formation fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $20 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. While LegalZoom is by far the most well-known LLC formation service and has decent overall value, ZenBusiness is an entrepreneur favorite. Other than that, IncFile and Northwest are two other popular options with appeals of their own.