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 West Virginia. 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, name reservation is a purely optional service in West Virginia, and not required in order to start your business. If you’re ready to get your LLC up and running right away, you can skip ahead to the Articles of Organization.
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 West Virginia LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $15 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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of West Virginia 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 West Virginia lasts 120 days, during which no one else will have access to your name.
After your reservation expires, the name will once again be available to the public, unless you’ve formed your LLC during that time. Because of this, it’s important to plan out your reservation and formation timeline, so that the 120-day window doesn’t close and leave you without a name.
If during your reservation you’d like to transfer it to someone else, you can do so by filing a signed Notice of Transfer (including the transferee’s name and address) with the Secretary of State.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in West Virginia?
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. To do so, give the Corporations Division a call at (304)558-8000, but keep in mind that this is an informal check and does not totally guarantee availability. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of West Virginia (find them all on page 2 of the application). 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.
To get started, download Form NR-1: Application for Name Reservation. Then, fill it out with the necessary information. But you’re not done yet! There are a couple more items you need to submit with your form:
- Payment: Name reservation costs $15, which you can pay by check or card
- Customer Order Request: On page four of the application linked above, enter your contact information, processing selection, return delivery options, and payment method
- e-Payment Authorization: Page six of the application. Only submit this is you are paying with a credit or debit card.
Everything looking good? Great. Then mail your documents and payment to the One-Stop Business Center at 1615 Washington Street, East Charleston, WV 25311. If you live near Charleston, you’re also welcome to drop them off in person.
Standard processing time for paper filings is 5-10 business days. But if you need it sooner, the Secretary of State offers three expedited service options. You can pay an additional $25 for 24-hour service, $250 for 2-hour service, and $500 for 1-hour service. Designate your processing option, either standard or expedited, on the Customer Order Request.
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 West Virginia to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $15 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $100 West Virginia Articles of Organization fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $15 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.