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, and 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, and a lot of names to check. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to go about it: performing an LLC name search.
Don’t forget to get your business’ domain name so nobody else can use it. This will protect your brand and make things much easier for you later. Secure it easily through GoDaddy.
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
No matter 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, Members/Managers, 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, plugged in your desired name, 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 either form your LLC or reserve the name for future use.
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 its 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 rearrange 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 is. 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?
As 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.
We invite you to take a look at our complete guide to all of the top options, but we’ll also quickly run down three of the most popular companies right here.
- ZenBusiness ($49) – ZenBusiness offers a well-rounded LLC formation package at a great low rate. Their standard LLC package includes a year of annual report service. ZenBusiness also receives stellar customer feedback, plus it’s a public benefit corporation that gives back to the communities it serves.
- Northwest Registered Agent ($39) – Northwest offers a bit more of a premium service and we think it’s worth it. Northwest includes a year of its industry-best registered agent service with the purchase of any LLC formation package. They also offer the best customer support in this industry, with knowledgeable representatives who are familiar with the details of business formation processes in every state.
- LegalZoom ($79) – For most people, LegalZoom is the first name that comes to mind for LLC services. With millions of clients, it’s easy to see why. LegalZoom’s pricing and features may not compete on an equal playing field with ZenBusiness and Northwest, but its brand power is second to none, it receives solid customer reviews, and it has a strong money-back guarantee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which words are restricted from usage for LLC names in Wyoming?
The restricted terms for Wyoming business names fall into three general categories: those that imply an association with a government entity, those that refer to the banking industry, and those that refer to educational organizations. For more info and a full list of these terms, check out the “Words or names that require additional review” section at the end of the “How to Choose a Company Name” document.
Is it necessary to reserve my business name before forming my Wyoming LLC?
No. In fact, Alabama is the only state that requires entrepreneurs to reserve a business name before forming an LLC. In Wyoming and the other 48 states, this is an optional and largely unnecessary step.
How many small businesses are there in Wyoming today?
The state of Wyoming is home to nearly 70,000 small businesses. Entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and business types find that Wyoming is a great place to own and operate a small business.
What are the top small business resources and websites in Wyoming?
The Wyoming chapter of the Small Business Development Center is a great place to start, as they offer a wide variety of tools and resources for Wyoming LLCs. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Wyoming District Office is another valuable resource, and the state’s Economic Development Agency also has plenty of good info.
What Is the Total Expected Cost of Operating an LLC in Wyoming?
The overall costs of operating a Wyoming LLC can vary considerably based on the specifics of your business. However, we created a helpful guide to help you identify and plan for every expense your LLC will face in this state.
Should I Use an LLC Service, Hire an Attorney, or Form My Own LLC?
The answer to this question lies in your personal preferences, but we can give some general pointers. An attorney will cost the most by a mile, but also provides expertise you won’t find with the other options. The DIY route is free of charge but can require quite a bit of legwork and provides no peace of mind that the process is being completed correctly.
Using an LLC service means your business will be formed by professionals who know what they’re doing, while also costing significantly less than a lawyer. This “best of both worlds” attribute is what makes LLC services our preferred option.