So you’ve decided that it’s time to open up a business in New Jersey. The first thing you’ll need to do when starting a company is to come up with a suitable name that meets New Jersey Naming Guidelines.
However, you can’t just choose any you want, your business name needs to also be distinguishable from other businesses registered in the state. This means that no two businesses in New Jersey can have the same name.
Why Is Performing a New Jersey LLC Name Search Important?
A New Jersey LLC name search allows business owners to check all registered business entities in the state to see if their desired business name is already taken up by another entity. Running a New Jersey LLC name search before you file your LLC formation application will significantly reduce the chances of your application getting rejected.
New Jersey Naming Guidelines
As mentioned earlier, you need to choose a business name that meets the naming guidelines set by the state of New Jersey. Here are a few important points to keep in mind when coming up with a New Jersey LLC name:
- Company name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.)
- Company name cannot include words that would confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc)
- Restricted words such as Bank, Attorney, and University may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual such as a doctor or a lawyer to be part of your LLC.
Using Comma in LLC Name
New Jersey state allows business entities to register their business name with or without a comma. For example, if you’re planning to name our New Jersey LLC “Summer Boutique”, you can file your New Jersey business entity with the following names:
- Summer Boutique LLC
- Summer Boutique, LLC
New Jersey LLC Name Must Be Distinguishable
Another important point when choosing a New Jersey business name is that it must be distinguishable upon the records of the Secretary of State, meaning you can’t have the same business name as another entity in New Jersey. One way to check your desired business name’s availability is to run a NJ LLC name search.
New Jersey LLC Name Search
The New Jersey Secretary of State maintains records of business entities registered in New Jersey and it’s available for the public to use. You can therefore make sure of the New Jersey Business Name Search function to check the availability of your desired business name before forming your LLC. The New Jersey Corporations and LLCs are searchable with the following criteria:
- Business Name
- Entity ID
- Filing Number
The Business Name search option is the most often used method when running a New Jersey business entity search online. It’s also very easy to check as all you need to do is to type in your desired business name into the search bar and click on “Search” for the site to present you with a list of names related to the one you’ve entered.
You don’t need to include phrases like LLC, Corp, or other naming designations as the website will extract the names for every type of entity (except sole proprietorships or partnerships) available in its database. To perform a business name search, simply follow the steps below:
- Enter the name of the desired business name in the search bar.
- Click on “Search.”
New Jersey website also offers additional filter options that allow the public to search by Active vs Inactive businesses.
Every New Jersey corporation/entity will be assigned with an associated ID number. The public can also search for a New Jersey business by entering the Business ID in the search bar and clicking on the “Search” button.
Similar to how an entity has a business ID, the corporation will also have an associated filing number that’s unique to the business. You can key in the filing number in the search bar to search for the related business on the site.
New Jersey Business Name Status Search
With the sheer amount of businesses available in New Jersey, it is completely understandable if you find yourself struggling to come up with a good business name that’s distinguishable from other entities. One useful trick is to search through the New Jersey Business Entity Database to gain inspiration or look for expired names that you can use for your business.
For example, if you want to open up a grocery shop, just type the name “Grocer” into the search field and the site will generate a list of business entities with the name “Grocer” in it along with its status.
Here, you can browse through all the business entity names available and even possibly find an expired name that’s perfect for your business. If you do find a suitable name, it’s recommended that you give the Department of State’s office a call to confirm the name’s availability before filing your LLC.
Just because the name you want is available in the New Jersey business entity database doesn’t mean you can register that name for your business. The name might have a trademark associated with it, which is why you should run a trademark search of your New Jersey business name. Taking a few minutes of your time to run the search will avoid costly litigation in the future.
However, just because another entity has trademarked your desired New Jersey business name doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot use it anymore. It’s also important for you to have a look at who is using the name, what industry they’re in, as well as where they’re located so that you do not inadvertently infringe on another’s intellectual property rights.
Here are a few steps involved in performing a trademark search:
- Search state trademark records with the New Jersey Business Entity Search organized by entity type to see if your desired business name, slogan, and others are being used by another entity in your state.
- Search the US Patent and Trademark Office’s electronic records to check that your desired business name, slogan, and others are not associated with any federally registered trademarks.
Reserving New Jersey Business Entity Name
After running your business name search and finding that it is available, the next thing you can do is to reserve that name before someone else takes it. New Jersey’s Secretary of State Department of the Treasury handles all LLC naming questions and requests including name reservation. You can then submit a name reservation form to them to have your desired name reserved for 120 days. In the event your LLC is not formed by the end of 120 days, you may renew the reservation with the state.
You can file your name reservation either online or by mail. Each option comes with its own advantages. Although submitting online will incur a higher fee, your application will be expedited and have special priority. Alternatively, you can file a paper application by mail instead. Cheques for filing fee must be made out to the “Treasurer, State of New Jersey.”
Filing Fee: $50 by mail or online.
For expedited services add $25.
NJ Division of Revenue,
PO Box 308, Trenton, NJ 08646
Other Considerations – What To Do Next
After reserving your desired business name, here are a few more considerations to look into before officially registering your LLC with that name:
Check Domain Name Availability
Businesses understand the importance of maintaining an online presence, which is why there are more and more business websites available. In fact, almost everyone expects a company to have their own website.
This means that domain names with six or fewer letters are mostly taken up by others and you’ll need to rely on your creativity to come up with a unique website name that can distinguish your business from others. Business owners can use sites like Namechkr or GoDaddy to check for available domain names. These sites are very helpful and can even suggest alternative names in case your desired name is not available.
One thing to know is that while the .com domain extension is the most commonly used, it’s not the only extension available. There are other extensions like .co, .net and .io that are slowly rising in popularity as more and more .com domain extensions are taken up. So this is another thing to consider when creating a website.
Check Social Media Name Availability
In addition to having a company website, businesses should also maintain a social media page for their business. Many customers love to do a quick search on Yelp and Google Review to see what others are saying about the business. This is why it’s important for you to maintain a good image on social media.
Here are a few tips to maintain a good New Jersey business entity social media:
- You should keep and maintain a strong social media presence even if you think that your business is small. Businesses with a strong social media presence can help boost organic traffic online, attract potential customers and even build awareness among your community.
- A social media account will first need a unique social media handle for customers to search for you online. When choosing a handle, it is recommended that you check if your desired name is available across different sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, so that you can use the same handle for multiple platforms. If you do find that your desired social media handle is still available, it might be best for you to quickly register an account so that others won’t take it before you do.
- You can either check your desired social media name on each major site one by one or you can use Namechkr tool to run the search across all platforms at once.
Register Your New Jersey Business Entity
After checking the New Jersey business entity database, trademark, domain, and social media handle, you can proceed to register your business entity with the state. It is possible to file your LLC on your own but it may involve a lot of paperwork which could be extremely tedious.
This is why many businesses hire companies like ZenBusiness, Incfile, and Northwest Registered Agent to take care of all the necessary fillings involved..
Register Company Tax ID/EIN with the IRS
After registering your business entity, you’ll need to register your company tax ID with the IRS for tax purposes. The company tax ID is also known as EIN and consists of a nine-digit number that acts like a business’ social security number. The process of registration is quite straightforward and can be performed online on your own.
Open a Business Bank Account
The next step is to set up your business bank account. While it is entirely possible to use your personal bank account for business transactions – which is the case for many smaller businesses, this practice is highly discouraged. It’s always best to split personal and business finances to avoid any suspicions.
Not only that, but having a business bank account can also help you build business credibility which can become helpful when applying for business loans in the future.
Setup an Email Account
Most businesses now have an email account for communication purposes. Not only that, but social media platforms will also require an email address to register an account with them. This is why it is important for businesses to get a business email account. You can easily get a @yourcompany email address set up for as low as $6 per month with Google Workspace.
One of the first steps of creating an LLC is to come up with a suitable business name. Once you’ve decided on a preferred name, you can run it through New Jersey’s Business Entity Search to check if the name is available.
Next, you might also want to check and secure your domain and social media name for customers to find you easily online. Now that your business name is secured, you are ready to take the next steps to formalize your LLC.
Starting a business correctly doesn’t have to be difficult. With over 15 years of experience consulting new businesses and start ups, Matthew is probably the best person to help you set a strong foundation for your business.