Verify Your Business Name With a California Business Name Search

Los Angeles California

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Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Alexis Konovodoff
Written by Alexis Konovodoff
Written byAlexis Konovodoff
Updated December 04, 2023
Edited by Zachary Ace Aiuppa
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If you plan on starting your big or small business in California soon, creating your business name is one of your principal tasks. As it’s the first thing your new customers will see, it must be distinctive and represent your California business as best as possible.

For it to be unique, you’ll have to ensure that no other business in California has claimed it. This is achievable with a California business entity search, such as the Swyft Filings free business name search tool.

Free California Business Name Search

See if your company name is available in California with our free business name search service. There is no cost or commitment on your part. We will email you within 1 hour to let you know if your name is available Alaska and how to reserve it today.

Key Takeaways

  • The California Secretary of State has business naming conventions that all new business owners must follow to register a business successfully.

  • New California corporations, LLCs, partnerships, and other entities will benefit from conducting a California business search before submitting formation documents.

  • Once you’ve established that a business name is available for your company, you can move on to a business name reservation, a DBA (“doing business as”) application, or domain name registration.

  • With your business name ready, you can immediately file your LLC with the California Secretary of State.

California’s Business Name Conventions

As with all states, you’ll find that California has unique business naming conventions. Some are more general, and some are more specific, depending on the type of business you’re launching.

In general, all California business entity names must:

  • Consist of the English alphabet, Arabic numbers, or symbols listed in the California Code of Regulations[1]

  • Not be the same or similar to the names of other business entities registered in California (distinctions in case type, diacritics, and subscript or superscript characters don’t count as differences)

  • Not show affiliation with the government by including words or abbreviations of cities, states, counties, countries, etc. 

  • Not show affiliation with the government by including the words agency, bureau, board, commission, department, division, or municipal

  • Not contain words like “professional corporation” or any of its abbreviations unless it’s a professional corporation with the meaning stated in the Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act

  • Not contain the words insurance, assurance, reinsurance, or surety unless it’s an insurance company

  • Not include “foundation” or “charitable foundation,” as it may be misleading

More specific rules refer to different entity types and their indicators:

  • California corporations must include the suffix corporation/corp, company/co, incorporated/incorporation/inc, or limited/ltd in the name

  • California limited liability companies (LLC) must add Limited Liability Company (Ltd. Liability Co.), LLC, or L.L.C. to the name.

  • California limited partnerships must add a limited partnership (LP/L.P.) or Limited Liability Limited Partnership (LLLP/L.L.L.P.) business identifier

You might think your California business name is unique enough, and an entity search before registering is unnecessary. However, if not, you can’t get back the time and money you’ve already spent. By skipping this part, you also miss out on other benefits an entity search brings to your business:

1. Find Similar Businesses

A business entity search can help you find existing California corporations and LLCs in the same business line. You can gain access to their company details for various purposes that might arise in the future.

2. Speed Up the Registration Process

Doing a business entity search allows you to speed up your business registration process. You can receive your business licenses and other documentation without delay and start your business in no time.

3. Avoid Costly Situations

Registering your California business name without confirming it’s available can result in a lawsuit, no matter how unique your name may be. Not only will your business be put on hold until the case is resolved, but you’ll also lose the money you could’ve spent on essential things for your business.

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Next Steps

Finding and checking the availability of your California business name isn’t a done deal. You still have to take measures to secure it and potentially create other names that will help your brand grow. Then, you can file your LLC in just a few steps.

Complete Your Name Reservation

If you want your desired California corporation or LLC name to stay available until you’re ready to register your business, you must make a name reservation.

In California, you can reserve a name through the California Secretary of State online service, Bizfile Online.[2] You can also access the form in PDF format, fill it out, and send it by mail to this address:

Secretary of State Business Programs Division

Business Entities, 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor,

Sacramento, CA 95814

The reservation comes with a fee of $10.

During the 60-day reservation window, you can file your Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation and complete other steps necessary to create your California business. You can renew your reservation if you need more time, but not while the first reservation lasts. There has to be at least one day in between.

Choose a Domain Name

The success of your California business largely depends on how many people reach out to you. In today’s digital world, creating a website can increase that number. 

The first step is choosing a similar domain name so your customers can connect your website to your California business. Like your California business name, it has to be distinctive, represent your brand, and be memorable enough for your clients to revisit your website. 

Squarespace’s easy-to-use domain search tool can help you quickly find and register a domain name that matches your California business. You can then choose from Squarespace’s flexible website templates, pre-designed layouts, and curated design elements to build a website — no coding required. Start your business with Swyft Filings and receive a free domain from SquareSpace for one year.

Consider a DBA

A DBA (“doing business as“) is an option for business owners who want to operate their California business under a different name than their formation documents. Also known as a fictitious name, this is useful for sole proprietorships who don’t want to use their real name as the face of their products or want to branch out. 

Each county or city in California has different DBA filing requirements, so you’ll have to visit their respective websites first.[3] Then, follow these instructions:

  1. File for your California DBA online or by mail with payment for the filing fee (usually no more than $50)

  2. Issue a statement about your DBA in local newspapers within the next 30 days and publish it once a week for four weeks

  3. File an affidavit of publication with the city or county clerk’s office within 30 days of the last publication

A California DBA is valid for five years.

File your LLC online

If you have the perfect business name in your pocket and are ready to take the next step, it’s time to file for your California LLC. Thankfully, our LLC formation service is designed to make this quick and straightforward. All you need to do is provide some information about your California business, and we’ll prepare the necessary documents and file them with the California Secretary of State. Once approved, you’ll get the full LLC package in the mail.

However, that’s not the end of the process. We’re here to help throughout your business formation journey, from a Statement of Information, DBA, business name change, and much more.

Free California Business Name Search

Enter your desired California company name to see if it is available with our free business name search.


How do I find out if a business name is available in California?

For a California business name availability search, you can turn to Swyft Filings’ free business name search, which gives you results in under an hour completely free.

The California Secretary of State Business Entity Search is the state’s official website search page that provides information about a specific company. You can search by business entity name or entity number or click on the advanced search button and filter the results with the keywords the name contains or starts with, search type, entity type, status, and initial filing date.[4]

How do I find a business entity in California?

You can find a business entity in California by conducting a California business search on the California Secretary of State website. You’ll get all the information you need about the business, such as its entity type, status, initial filing date, physical and mailing address, and registered agent information. You can also request various certificates, like a certificate of status.

How much does a California business entity search cost?

A California business entity search is completely free. You can use Swyft Filings’ free business name search or make an account on the California Secretary of State website to access more details about a California company.

Conducting a business entity search is advantageous to your business in many ways. You can verify existing businesses and ensure your company name doesn’t match theirs. This will also help you avoid mistakes that might cost you an arm and a leg if your company is sued for copyright. With less time spent correcting these mistakes, your business license and other documentation necessary for starting your business will arrive sooner.

How can I find a person’s address for a business in California?

A simple business entity search can help find the address of a person operating a business within the State of California. You’ll get its mailing address, physical address, and other contact information.


  1. California Secretary of State. “California Code of Regulations.” Accessed May 25, 2023.

  2. California Secretary of State. “Bizfile Online.“ Accessed May 25, 2023.

  3. State of California Franchise Tax Board. “Guide to DBAs.“ Accessed May 25, 2023.

  4. California Secretary of State. “Business Search.“ Accessed May 25, 2023.

Originally published on June 26, 2023, and last edited on December 04, 2023.
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