Ideas on How to Name a Business
Need ideas on how to you name your business? Your LLC? Your corporation? I made the video above so that you could either watch the video or read the article below.
Then, I’m going to give you tool to help you name your business quickly and easily…for free. Next, I’m going to give you some rules to follow and things to avoid.
That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article. We have helped our clients name thousands of businesses and some people can come up with a name right off the top of their heads. Others want to head scratch. “I don’t know.” “I have to talk with such and such first.”
So, I’m going to show you a surefire method to choose a name quickly and easily.
Then, if you would like to, you have give us a call. We have attorneys and consultants on staff who can help you set up your LLC properly and professionally.
Two Categories to Name a Business
Now, there are two categories of company names that come to mind. One is where the name really doesn’t matter much such as using a company to own a rental property. We talk to most of our real estate investor clients about putting each property into a separate LLC. That way, a lawsuit on one property doesn’t create the domino effect. In that case we simply have them name the LLC as the address of the property. The 123 Main Street LLC for example.
We had this one guy who was setting up multiple LLCs for rental properties. He head scratched and worried and pondered. This went on for a couple of months. Finally, the guy rear ended someone’s car. I mean, he just smashed into the back of the guy on the highway. That car hit another, which hit another. I think there were seven cars altogether. He was sued for way more than his insurance would cover. So, they guy went months without putting his properties into LLCs because of the names. The guy was at fault in the car wreck. He was a wealthy real estate investor so, though there were multiple people in the car wreck, he was the one with the $110,000 BMW 750 with all the options.
So guess who everyone sued?
Right, the rich guy.
Paralysis of Analysis
All of a sudden he was panicked about getting the LLCs formed. There were some other strategies we could employ to protect the properties. But he would have to defend these strategies in court rather than having the protection automatically. That is because, as you know, he should put the properties into the LLCs before the accident.
I mean, the guy could have protected everything. But he dilly dallied too long on picking the company names.
Don’t Use Your Own Name (Usually)
For most businesses and real estate holdings, for privacy and protection, we don’t recommend people use their own names in the name of the business. Maybe if it’s a construction business or a business where using your name makes sense, then okay. Anderson Construction might be perfectly fine if you’re Bob Anderson. But for holding real estate or trying to keep your ownership private don’t use your name on the company. But don’t name it Bob Anderson LLC if you are using it to own real estate. You want more privacy than that so you don’t paint a target on your back.
Suppose you use an LLC for protective purposes to hold your stock market portfolio. Maybe you use a corporation to run a business. Perhaps you hold business equipment. For real estate, as we said, don’t use your name. See our video called Anonymous LLC and I think you’ll really like some of the ideas we have there on owning your LLC privately.
Increasing Your Odds the Business Name is Available
Another mistake people make is using one-word names; especially common names. Then we go to look up the name and it’s not available. This is especially true in larger states such as California, Texas, Florida and New York. This holds true, as well, in popular states for corporations and LLCs such as Nevada, Delaware and Wyoming.
So, common words such as Cornerstone are often taken; Cornerstone, LLC. In Texas just about anything with the word Lonestar is taken. Lonestar Enterprises, Inc., you can forget it in Texas. In California, Golden State with just about any other common word like Enterprises or Ventures is gone. In addition, initials are often taken; ABC Enterprises. J&J Holdings, for example. So, what we recommend for name availability purposes is having more than one word. This is, unless the word is a totally made up word such as Polywave or Venstar or Capmax.
What Should I Name My Business? Surefire Method
So, here we go. Here is a surefire way to come up with a name for your business. See the image below or the description of this video. I’ve written several columns of name choices so you can see them and use them to pick a name for your business. As I’ve mentioned, we’re in the business of setting up corporations and LLCs. Moreover, our company was established in 1906. We have attorney on staff. So, if you want your business set up right so you’re more likely for it to protect you from lawsuits when you need it. Feel free to call us to have us set up your corporation LLC the right way with your articles. You’ll have a proper bylaws or operating agreement, membership or stock certificates and just about everything you need. See our number above as well as a contact form.
So with this list, you’ll pick a first word such as Metro. Then you choose a word from the second column such as Endeavors. Then you pick your identifier that notifies the world that it’s an LLC and not another type of business entity. So you end up with Metro Endeavors, LLC. Or Capstone Enterprises, Inc. Northern Ventures LLC, etc. So you can feel free to use this list and it will give you at least 626 different name choices. Alternatively, you can choose your own first word and add one of our second words. Thus, the name choices are practically infinite.
So, here is the pattern:
First, choose a FIRST WORD from column #1 (such as Metro)
Next, choose a SECOND WORD from column #2 (such as Endeavors)
Finally, choose an IDENTIFIER from column #3 (such as LLC or Inc.)
So, that should help you pick a name, and pick one rapidly.
More Important Points on How to Name Your Business
Here are some other very important things to consider.
Many people are not too creative and they come up with a word or phrase they like such as Blue Sky. So, it’s Blue Sky Enterprises, LLC. Then they call us down the line and want Blue Sky Enterprises 2, LLC, Blue Sky Enterprises 3, LLC etc. So, they have us set up multiple LLCs with Blue Sky Enterprises in the name.
But really think about it. If you want anonymity, why flag the world that all of these companies are linked to each other? Otherwise you’re giving a pretty good clue that all of these LLCs are owned by the same person. Hey, there’s not a whole lot of thought that has to go into this to figure that out. Anybody would draw that conclusion, wouldn’t you?
So, for anonymity you’ll want to refrain from using a naming pattern where people could easily recognize the businesses are tied to each other. Like my friend who insisted on using his last name in every company. The building inspector found some problems in one building. Then all of a sudden that same inspector is slapping all kinds of violation orders on all of his other properties.
But it’s more than that. You’re talking with your bookkeeper or CPA. They say Blue Sky. Well which Blue Sky? Blue Sky 1? Blue Sky 4? Which one? So, when talking to people, having the names too similar will confuse people as to which one you’re referring to. And not only will it confuse them but it’ll confuse you too. I’m talking from experience. I’ve done it and I’ll never do it again because of all the confusion it created. So, in naming your business, use distinct and different names. Again, if you have an LLC that owns real estate I suggest naming the company the street address of the property.
LLC Plus Land Trust for Real Estate
What we do for most clients is first we set up a land trust that owns the property. That gives an additional layer of privacy of ownership. It also makes the property easy to sell without changing the title because you can just assign the beneficial interest to your new buyer without paying the bucket of blood fees to the county when you sell a property. We use the same convention here. 123 Main Street Trust. Then we have the LLC own the land trust. Technically speaking we make the LLC the beneficiary of the land trust; 123 Main Street LLC, for example. So, the land trust provides privacy of ownership and ease of transferability. Plus, it can save you a ton of money in property transfer fees. Then LLC provides lawsuit protection and asset protection.
If you already own a property it is quite easy. You just call us up and have us name the LLC the address of the property.
New Property Purchase
If you’re closing on a new property, you simply buy it. Many lenders want you to close in your own name. Then right after closing, you put the property into a land trust. 456 Maple Street Trust. You can then make the beneficiary of that land trust an LLC, 456 Maple Street LLC.
Why not just put it straight into the LLC? If you own the property in your own name, the bank could invoke the due on sale clause if you do. But putting it into a land trust with you as the beneficiary, the Garn St. Germain Depository Institutions Act doesn’t let the lender call the loan due. So, though I know this is correct, covering my butt I have to say ask a lawyer first. We do have lawyers on staff here at our company who you can call and speak with right now if it’s during business hours or fill out a free consultation form on our website to set up land trusts and LLCs if you want to.
Naming Businesses in Different States
If I buy properties in different states I’d also put GA for Georgia. FL for Florida. NV for Nevada. So, 456 Maple Street GA LLC. That way I know it’s my Georgia LLC so I know which state we’re talking about.
This helps when have properties or businesses in different states. Each one is in a different corporation or LLC. That way, it’s easy to remember the state where that property or business is located. Back in the early 2000s I had over 50 different properties and construction projects going at the same time in different states such as Washington State, California, Michigan, Florida. It’s hard to keep track of everything. So, using the addresses and the state abbreviations helps you put each property in the proper mental slot. It also makes it easier to communicate with others such as your CPA, contractors, tenants, etc. Then you can have one central LLC that doesn’t own any property that collects all the rents from all of your properties. That way you keep it simple.
Buying Properties In LLCs
Okay, so what about when you want to buy properties but you don’t know where yet? Maybe you know the state but you don’t have the address yet because you haven’t gotten the offer accepted. Say you want a couple of LLCs sitting around that you can use to make offers so you have the legal protection. Perhaps you’ll use them as soon as the property closes. So, you can put them right into the land trusts. Then you have that LLC waiting in the wings so it can be the beneficiary of the land trust. See our video on land trusts for owning real estate.
Some states take a while to form an LLC, like California. Maybe a few weeks. Rush filings may be a bit faster. In Wyoming, on the other hand, we can set up an LLC for you in a few minutes. But I wouldn’t make the offer in an LLC that is named after the address of the property. It would certainly look suspicious to a seller. Plus it shows that you’ve already made too much of a commitment by forming a company with that address in the name. So it might hurt your negotiation power because they might think you’re too committed to walk away. Thus, don’t name the LLC the address of the property before the seller actually accepts your offer.
So, I would come up with a name that might tell you something about the city or the area but not the address. Say you plan to invest in South Miami. You might call it Prime Properties of South Miami LLC. Now it’s easy to call us and have us change the name of your LLC later. So, you can use a generic name until you actually have the property wrapped up.
Professionally Established Corporation or LLC
We can get an Employer Identification Number or EIN for you so you can open a bank account. Once you know the property is closing we can easily amend the name to 1224 E Palm Miami LLC. Even if you change the name of the company, you can keep the same EIN. Just notify the IRS of the name change on your next tax filing. Just like if you change your own name, like when my wife and I got married she took my last name but she kept her original social security number. That’s because she’s still the same person just with a different name. Change the company name and the EIN stays the same because it’s still the same company. It just has a different name.
So, that way you can get your company and bank account all set up and you’re wheels are on the ground and you’re ready to rumble as soon as you put the property into the company. That’s another beauty of using the land trust to own the property. Why? It’s because you don’t have to change the title of the property when you change the name of the LLC. The reason is that the LLC doesn’t own the property. The land trust / trustee owns the property. The LLC is simply the beneficiary of the land trust and the beneficiaries of land trusts are generally not in the public records.
Now, if you don’t want to have to notify the IRS and the bank of the name change, that’s fine too. We can simply apply for the EIN after changing the LLC name and you can open the bank account at that time.
Important Step for Naming a Business: Trademark Search
You’ll also want to make sure that nobody else holds a trademark on the name that you want to use. This is especially important if you are competing in the same industry. You can do a quick trademark search on the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. You can use their Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). Do a “Basic Word Mark Search” and see if someone else has a current or pending trademark on your name of choice.
There are also state trademarks. That is, some people make have registered a trademark in the state where they use it instead of registering a federal trademark. Check with a trademark attorney if you need legal advice in this area.
By the way, if the name is available, it wouldn’t be a be a bad idea to trademark the name yourself if the name is important to you. Feel free to call us to help you register your trademark.
Corporate Transparency Act
Under Title 31 USC you must register the name of your LLC. This is a law under the title Corporate Transparency Act. We have Corporate Transparency Act form on our website that you may want to use if you need help. You can complete the form and then call us for details. There will be a charge for our assistance. Alternatively, you may be able to register your name and ownership information without incurring a fee.
More Business Naming Rules
Here are a few other rules to keep in mind. First the name of your business needs to be available. Even if it’s not exactly the same, if the state feels like it could be confused with another company they’ll want you to come up with something more definitive. If there is already a Jackson Industry and you choose Jackson Industries, for example, the examiner might reject it. So be as unique as possible. Then there are certain restricted words that require a license such as Bank or Insurance or University or CPA.
Other than that, naming your company is pretty flexible. You get to choose.
So, I hope this helps. Feel free to use our company naming tool that we provided. I like to use the address if it is an LLC that owns real estate. I would stay away from using your own personal name when naming a company to own real estate. To increase the odds of the name being available use more than one word unless you use a totally made up name like Microsoft, Google, Walmart, Costco, Exxon. Those are all just made up words out of the clear blue sky that somebody made. You can do the same. So, if you want to come up with a brand name for a business, the sky’s the limit.
So, I hope this gives you some value and insight and direction to naming your business.