When planning to start a Wyoming LLC, first comes your big idea, your product or service, the meat and potatoes of your business. After all, that’s how you’ll build a dream business.
But after the initial rush of deciding to take your idea to market, you have to answer an important and pressing question: “what do I call it?”
Every LLC needs a name, preferably a catchy one, specifically one that isn’t already in use. After all, despite how clever it may be, you can’t steal someone else’s name.
“But,” you may ask, “how do I know if a name is already in use?” It’s a good question. There are a lot of businesses in Wyoming, a lot of names to check. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to go about it: performing an LLC name search.
Quick Note: If you’d like to save time, an LLC formation service (like LegalZoom and ZenBusiness) can perform an LLC name search and register the business on your behalf. No need to navigate confusing state-website portals or file anything yourself.
Reasons to Perform an LLC Name Search
Checking for Wyoming LLC name availability is the most common reason to perform a search, but it’s far from the only one. Here are a few other reasons you might search for a name:
1) Finding Similar Names
You don’t want potential customers confusing you with another company, especially if that company is a competitor. Your proposed name might be available, but there could also be multiple businesses out there with deceivingly similar ones.
If you don’t want your LLC getting mixed up with other businesses, this might prompt you to find a new name.
2) Checking Your Business Status
Once you’ve filed the Articles of Organization and started your Wyoming LLC, you can periodically check its status by searching for your existing name. This will confirm your business’ good standing with the state and provide your Filing ID, which you may need for certain filings in the future.
3) Registered Agent and Office Information
At some point, you might need to send a business service of process. Or, more positively, you might want to partner with them. In either case, you’ll need their Wyoming registered agent name and office address, readily available through a name search.
4) Maintaining Current Business Information
When modifying your LLC’s information – like changing your registered agent or principal address to a member or a registered agent service – you will want to confirm the information that the Secretary of State already has on file. A name search will take care of this for you.
How to Perform a Wyoming LLC Name Search
Despite the reason you’re searching for a business name, there’s only one way to go about it. Get started by heading to the Secretary of State’s Business Center Search page.
You may have come up with an amazing LLC name, but before you use it on documents, stamp it on merchandise, or print business cards, you should make sure it’s available. On the search page, enter the desired name and click the search button. See any results? If so, your name is already in use and you’ll need to come up with a new one. But if not, your name is free, so go ahead and reserve it or use it on your Articles of Organization.
Availability checks are helpful, but they’re not the search tool’s only function. You can also use it to find information on a specific business. Enter the business’ full or partial name in the search bar, hit the button, and a list of results should appear. Click any business in that list to access its:
- Legal Name
- Filing ID
- Business Type
- Sub Status
- Initial Filing Date
- Tax Standing
- Registered Agent Standing
- Other Standing
- Term of Duration
- State of Formation
- Fictitious Name (if applicable)
- Principal Office Address
- Mailing Address
- Registered Agent Information
- Filing History
- Public Notes
- Parties (Organizers, etc.)
When you’re trying to contact or research a certain business, this information can be extremely helpful. Or, it can be a great way to make sure your own LLC is in good standing and up to date.
What If My Name Is Unavailable?
So you went to the Business Search, you plugged in your desired name, you hit search, and there it was: your precious name, already in use. What now?
If your LLC is domestic (formed in Wyoming), your only option is to start brainstorming ideas for a different one. Just don’t use one that’s too similar. Then, when you’ve found an acceptable, available name, go ahead and reserve it.
Is your business expanding to Wyoming from another state? If so, you’ll have an extra step in the process, because it’s a little more complicated for foreign LLCs.
You’ve already been operating under a certain name registered in other states, but if that name is unavailable in Wyoming, you will need to register a “fictitious name.” When you foreign qualify your LLC, you can designate a fictitious name by submitting this form along with a $50 filing fee.
How to Make a Wyoming LLC Name Distinguishable
Keep in mind that, like other states, Wyoming has specific business name requirements. In order to comply with them, your LLC name must:
- Use one of the following terms:
- Limited liability company
- Ltd. liability co.
- Limited liability co.
- Limited company
- Not use any language that implies a purpose other than it’s real business function.
- Not be the same as, or deceptively similar to, any other name currently on record with the Secretary of State.
If you were set on a particular name but discovered that it was already in use, you’ll need to distinguish it somehow. But what makes a name distinguishable? Alterations to the following elements are NOT enough to make a name unique:
- Articles like “a,” “an,” and “the”
- Conjunctions like “and” or “but”
- Singular vs. plural forms of the same word
- Business type indicators like LLC, Inc., Ltd., or LP
Essentially, to create a fully distinguishable name, you must change the name itself, not just the syntax. However, you can still make small changes that distinguish your name while keeping it similar to your original idea.
For example, you can make changes to keywords, find synonyms, use unique spellings, add prefixes or suffixes, or rearranging keywords. Any of these strategies will make your name unique without disposing of it completely.
What you do next depends entirely on what your goal. If you’re checking for name availability and your name is free in Wyoming, you can proceed to reserve it and use it on your Articles of Organization.
If you’ve fallen in love with a business name and discovered that it’s available, you might want to lock it down before anyone else can. Claim your name by filing a reservation.
By submitting this form and paying a $50 fee, you will receive 120 days of exclusive rights to that name. Or, if you’re ready to start your business, just use the name on your Articles of Organization and it will be automatically registered to your LLC.
Need Help Starting an LLC?
Like we mentioned earlier, an LLC formation service can take care of all the paperwork for you. Using a formation service guarantees that your filings will be completed and submitted correctly. It also eliminates the stress of doing it yourself and gives you more time to develop your business plan, network, or just relax.