Naming Your South Carolina LLC
We’re here to help you find the right business name for your South Carolina LLC. From searching for a business name with the SC Secretary of State to understanding naming rules or creating a “Doing Business As” name to register your entity, you’re in the right place.
South Carolina Secretary of State Business Search
Once you have an idea of the business name you want to use, you should check availability by completing a business entity search with the SC Secretary of State. This helpful tool on their website lets you search the registry of South Carolina LLCs and corporations to see if someone already has 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 instead.
South Carolina Secretary of State business entity search
Rules for Naming an LLC in South Carolina
Once you’ve decided on a name for your LLC and checked business name availability, you’ll need to meet South Carolina naming rules.
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 South Carolina. This is why you should check business name availability on the SC SOS website.
Your LLC Business Name Must Not Be Confusable with Another Business Name
It’s not enough for your LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in South Carolina. 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 normally come at the end of the name.
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 South Carolina agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, South Carolina Department of Revenue, South Carolina 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 would be illegal for your business to carry out
Fictitious / Assumed Names
Most states allow you to do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. This is often referred to as a “DBA” (doing business as”) name, but in South Carolina, it’s known as a “Fictitious” or “Assumed” name. You might choose to use a different name from your SC formal LLC name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Charleston Rental and Real Estate Holding Company LLC, but you have a brand called Old Town Holiday Rentals. You should file a fictitious name to let the South Carolina Secretary of State know. In South Carolina, you do that through an “Assumed Name Certificate”—or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf through our Assumed Business Name service.
Incfile’s Fictitious Business Name service
Business Name Registration in South Carolina
Once you’ve decided on your South Carolina business name, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether or not 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 with the South Carolina Secretary of State. You do not need to reserve a name if you are forming your business right away.
- If you’re ready to start your LLC, you can formally file your Articles of Organization with the South Carolina SOS, or let Incfile take care of it for you.
FAQs on Naming Your South Carolina LLC
You might find the following answers useful.
How Do I Search for My South Carolina LLC Business Name?
Just go to the business name search tool and enter your proposed business name. You can search the register of the South Carolina Secretary of State, which will tell you if there are any SC corporations or LLCs with that name.
Are There Any Rules on Naming My South Carolina LLC?
Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the state of South Carolina). We’ve detailed these rules above.
Can I Do Business Under a Different Name Than My LLC Name?
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 South Carolina LLC?
Yes. The South Carolina Secretary of State allows you to reserve a name if you don’t want to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you are ready to start your business now, you do not need to reserve a name.
Additional Incfile Resources on LLC Names
You might find these resources helpful.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your South Carolina 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
How to Choose a Business Name
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’s guide to choosing a business name