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Whether you’re searching for the right business name or registering your LLC with the Iowa Secretary of State (SOS), Incfile can help. We’ve got all the information you need on how to conduct an Iowa business search, plus LLC naming rules, fictitious names and registering your business.


General Rules for LLC Names

These rules typically apply to all LLCs, regardless of what state they’re formed in.

Your LLC Name Must Be Unique

Your preferred business name cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the State of Iowa. This is why it's imperative to perform an Iowa business entity search before you begin the filing process.

Your LLC Name Must Not Be Confusable with Another Business Name

Your LLC name should be unique, but that’s not enough. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in Iowa. For example, you cannot use the following factors to say your name is different from the name of another business:

  • Suffixes, such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., Ltd., LLC, etc.
  • Definite articles, such as “A,” “An,” or “The”
  • The conjunction "And," or “&"
  • The singular, plural or possessive forms of words
  • Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
Your LLC Name Must Contain Certain Words

All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their names, normally at the end of the name.

Your LLC Name May Have Other General Restrictions

Most states will not allow you to form LLCs with names that:

  • Are very similar to the name of a federal or state agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Iowa Comptroller, Iowa Police, Treasury, etc.)
  • Suggest affiliation with a federal or state agency or organization
  • Use the term “Olympic” or any terms that are trademarks of the International Olympic Committee
  • Imply a purpose that would be illegal for your business to carry out

Specific Rules for Iowa Business Names

As mentioned above, Iowa requires LLCs to comply with the general naming rules. Iowa does not require any further name regulations to be met.

How to Come Up with a Business Name

Finding the perfect business name can be elusive. We have a complete guide to choosing the right business name, but basically, you'll want to choose a name that will:

Best represent your product or services

Be memorable enough to stand out

Appeal to your customers

Not be used by any other business

Need help coming up with business name ideas? Try our free Business Name Generator.

Iowa Business Search

Once you have an idea of your preferred business name, you’ll need to perform an Iowa business name search to make sure the name hasn’t been taken by another business.

Incfile offers a fast, simple and convenient tool to look up your proposed business name. The Iowa Secretary of State also has a tool that lets you search the State of Iowa business registry to see whether another business entity already has your desired business name.

Find out whether your preferred business name is available in Iowa with Incfile’s free tool

Trademarks and Service Marks

You must be careful that your Iowa LLC name doesn’t infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to make sure your proposed business name doesn’t do that is to complete a trademark search through Incfile. If no one else is using it, you can even register it as a trademark yourself.

Make sure your business is starting off on the right foot when it comes to intellectual property.

Let Incfile run a trademark search for you.


Iowa DBA or Fictitious Name

You may do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In some states, this is called a DBA (doing business as), trade name or assumed name. In Iowa, it's called a fictitious name. You may decide to use an Iowa fictitious name for a variety of reasons.

For example, your business might be called Midwest Marketing Solutions, LLC, and under that company, you have an event planning business called Midwest Events. You could file for a fictitious business name just for that company. You'll file a resolution to adopt a fictitious name with the Secretary of State, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf through our DBA service.

Note: A trade name is not the same as a trademark. Learn more about trademark vs. DBA.

Register and manage a DBA or fictitious name through our easy-to-use service

Register Your Business Name with the Iowa Secretary of State

Once you’ve completed an Iowa business entity search, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a fictitious name, you can register your LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.


If you don’t want to form your LLC right now, you can reserve the business name. You’ll need to file an application for reservation of name with the Iowa Secretary of State. Your name will be reserved for 120 days once the application is processed. If you’re forming your Iowa LLC right away, you won’t need to reserve a name.


If you’re ready to start your LLC now, you can file your Certificate of Organization with the Iowa SOS or have Incfile do it for you.

Incfile can handle all your formation paperwork with the State of Iowa for you — and we’ll do it for free!

Incorporate in Iowa for $0 + State Fee ($50)

FAQs about Iowa Business Names

How Do I Search for My Iowa Business Name?

Use our intuitive, free Business Name Search tool and enter your desired business name. You can also perform an Iowa business search of the state's registry, which will tell you whether there are any corporations or LLCs in the state with that name.

Are There Any Rules for Naming My Business in Iowa?

Yes. Most LLCs are bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the State of Iowa). You'll find more information above.

Can I Do Business Under a Different Name Than My LLC Name in Iowa?

Yes. You can conduct business under a fictitious name. Details are above.

Can I Reserve a Name for My Iowa LLC?

Yes. The Iowa Secretary of State allows you to reserve a name for 120 days if you don’t want to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you’re ready to start your business now, you don’t need to reserve a name.

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