MI Business Entity Searches & Naming Your Michigan LLC
Whether you’re searching for the right name for your new business or want to register your company name with the MI Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on Michigan LLC searches, LLC naming rules, fictitious names and registering your business.
Michigan Secretary of State Business Search
While most people think of the secretary of state when it comes to naming and registering a new business, in Michigan you actually want the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). You should start naming your business by completing a Michigan business name search. The department has a helpful tool on their website that lets you search the register of MI LLCs and corporations to see if someone is already using your desired business name.
If the business name is already used, that means it’s not available, and you won’t be able to register it. Try searching for a different business name in the corporation search tool instead.
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs business name search tool
Rules on Michigan LLC Name Availability
Once you’ve decided on a name for your LLC and checked business name availability, you’ll need to meet Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs naming rules. These do vary from state to state — we’ve got both general naming rules below as well as naming rules specific to MI.
General Business Name Availability Rules
These rules typically apply to all LLCs, no matter what state they are formed in. You will need to pay attention to these rules, as they will influence the name you choose for your Michigan LLC.
Your LLC Business Name Must Be Unique
The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the state of Michigan. This is why you should check business name availability on the MI LARA website.
Your LLC Business Name Must Not Be Confusable With Another Business Name
It’s not enough for your MI LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of another corporation or LLC in Michigan. 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 like “A,” “And,” “An,” “&,” “The,” etc.
- The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
- Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
Your LLC Business Name Must Contain Certain Words
All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their name. These words should normally come at the end of the name.
Your LLC Business 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 MI agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Michigan Department of Treasury, Michigan 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 Olympic organization
- Imply a purpose that it would be illegal for your business to carry out
Specific LLC Naming Rules for Michigan
In addition to the general rules listed above, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has some specific business naming rules for your LLC. You will need to follow these rules if you want to name your MI business appropriately.
More on Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs business naming rules
Michigan LLC Fictitious Names
You might choose to do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In Michigan, doing business under a different name is known as an “Assumed Name.” You might choose to use a different name from your MI formal LLC name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Michigan Tourism Holding Company LLC, and you have a chain called Great Lakes Apparel. You should file a Certificate of Assumed Name to let the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs know, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf through our Assumed Business Name service.
Incfile’s Assumed Business Name service
Register Your Business Name in Michigan
Once you’ve searched for your Michigan business name, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a fictitious name, you can register your MI LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.
- If you don’t want to form your Michigan LLC right now, you can reserve the business name with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. You will need to complete an Application for Reservation of Name and file it with the MI LARA. You do not need to reserve a name if you are forming your business right away.
Michigan LARA LLC name reservation form
- If you’re ready to start your Michigan LLC, you can formally file your Articles of Organization with the Michigan LARA, or let Incfile take care of it for you.
FAQs on Naming Your Michigan LLC
You might find the following answers useful.
How Do I Search for My Michigan LLC Business Name?
Just go to the business entity search tool and enter your proposed business name. You can search the register of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which will tell you if there are any MI corporations or LLCs with that name.
Are There Any Rules on Naming My Michigan LLC?
Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the state of Michigan). We’ve detailed these rules above.
Can I Do Business Under a Different Name Than My LLC Name in Michigan?
Yes. Known as “assumed names,” “fictitious names,” “doing business as names” or “trade names,” you can choose to conduct business under a different name. Details are above.
Can I Reserve a Name for My Michigan LLC?
Yes. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs allows you to reserve a name if you don’t want to start your business immediately. If you are ready to start your business now, you do not need to reserve a name.
Other Useful Resources for Naming Your Michigan LLC
You might find these resources helpful.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Michigan LLC name does not infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to make sure your proposed business name does not infringe is to carry out a trademark search through Incfile. If it doesn’t infringe, you can even register it as a trademark yourself.
Incfile Trademark Search and Registration service
Find the Perfect Name for Your Michigan LLC
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:
- Appeal to your customers
- Be memorable enough to stand out
- Best represent your product or services
- Not be used by another business
Incfile guide to choosing a business name