​Understanding When to Use LLC for Your Business

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Starting your LLC and deciding on a name is both exciting and intimidating. It’s not only the beginning of the branding and marketing process, but it’s also going to stick with you as your identity for hopefully a long while. The first part of filing for your LLC is to research your potential LLC’s name with your secretary of state to ensure that it’s unique. At this stage, a there is a common question that is frequently asked:

Do I need to place put “LLC” on my company name for signs and business cards?

Basically, all states that recognize LLCs require that the name of the business include the term “limited liability company” or some form of this title to label the business’ entity type. If you want to understand more about your state’s LLC rules, visit our LLC State Information in Incfile’s Learning Center. LLC is the most commonly used abbreviation, but you may find “Limited Liability Co.” or “Limited” to be used in some states. It is advisable to use this designator whenever possible, especially when signing any agreements or engaging in any type of legal contracts. It is also useful to display the full name when you design LLC business cards or stationary, are listed on a building directory and when you create your website.

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What if I don’t want to use “LLC” in my business name?

Maybe you don’t like the look of this abbreviation tagged to your business name or perhaps it doesn’t quite fit in with the design logo you have in mind. Unfortunately, if your state requires that you include “LLC” to your entity’s name when you register, you will have to abide by the law. There is another option, though: if you really don’t want to include “LLC” at the end of your business name, once you’ve registered your LLC you can choose to register a DBA (doing business as) which is also called a “fictitious business name.” Some sole proprietors or partnerships may choose to register a DBA when they want to manage a company under a name other than their legal names. This option is also available for an LLC. In fact, our company is registered under the legal name “Incfile.com LLC,” but we registered the name “Incfile” as a fictitious business name thus allowing us to use it as an extension of our legal name.

Is There an Advantage to Having “LLC” in my Business Name?

Using the “LLC” in your business name does have a number of advantages as you start your business. First of all, this shows potential customers that you have registered your business with your state and that you are a reputable and legitimate business. Secondly, the LLC in your business name informs clients and customers that your company is a separate legal entity and that legally they’re dealing with an entity and not with you personally. For example, it makes it known to anyone who is thinking about suing you that they will probably have a difficult time obtaining your personal assets since you’ve taken the critical step of forming an LLC.

Regardless if you are starting an LLC, C Corporation, S Corporation or Nonprofit, your name is one of the single most important decisions that you will make as you start your business. It’s the first thing your customers see, it tells your customers what you are about and it allows you stand out from others in the same industry. Even something as little as including “LLC” in your name shows your credibility. What do you want your name to say about you?

Christina​ Morales

Christina Morales graduated from California State University, Sacramento with her B.A. in History and her credentials in secondary education. After teaching high school for several years, she started her own freelance business. She combined her love of creating content with her fascination of technology and since then has had the privilege of writing for a vast array of companies in the business, law, app, cloud computing, and marketing industries. When Christina isn’t writing, you can find her reading on her Kindle, watching HGTV or the Food Network, or crafting with her two little girls.