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How to Check Business Name Availability in Texas

business name availability texas

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As of 2024, the economy of Texas is expected to outpace the nation’s, and this has been typical pretty much every year. For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, this makes the state especially appealing; if there’s going to be anywhere a small business will thrive, it’s Texas.

But before you can get started, you have to think of a catchy and memorable business name. Plus, it has to be free for the taking; two companies can’t have the same name, after all.

Interested in more information? Then read on to find out how to check business name availability in Texas.

Make Sure Your Company Name Is Acceptable First

It’ll be a pity if you go through the whole checking process and realize your company name isn’t legally accepted; you’ll be back at square one. So confirm you’re following rules and regulations first.

Your company name can only use letters in the alphabet and Arabic numerals. If you want to add symbols, these are the only acceptable ones: “!?=+-$%#*@[]/()&.

If you’re forming an LLC, then the name must have “limited liability company,” “LLC,” “limited company,” or “LC.” For corporations, they need any of the following words (or their abbreviations): corporation, incorporated, company, limited.

Common sense dictates that your business name shouldn’t imply you’re involved in illegal operations, nor should it have offensive words. You can’t use the words “lottery” or “lotto,” and there should be no connection to government entities.

Use the Texas Secretary of State’s Website

The easiest way to check if a business name is available in Texas is to use the state’s Secretary of State’s website. They have an online business service called SOSDirect, and it’s available 24/7.

The downside of using SOSDirect is that it costs $1.00 per search, and you’ll have to make an account to use this service. However, it’s an extensive database, as you can search not only LLCs, but also corporations, limited partnerships, trademarks, assumed names, and more.

To use SOSDirect, you’ll obviously have to create an account first. You can do this by submitting a request for an SOSDirect Account. You’ll also need Adobe Acrobat Reader and WinZip to use it.

Once your account’s registered, you can log in with your user ID and password. Then, select your payment method and all the relevant information related to it.

After that, you can click on “Business Organizations,” then “Name Availability Search” under “Inquiries and Orders.” Type in the name you want, and the site will tell you if it’s available or not.

Other Ways of Reaching the Texas Secretary of State

If you don’t wish to use SOSDirect, you can still contact the Texas Secretary of State. Do note that these methods may have associated fees.

Here are the details you’ll need:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 512-463-5555
  • Fax: 512-475-2761
  • Mail: Business & Commercial Section, Secretary of State, P.O. Box 13697, Austin, TX 78711

If you’d like to make an in-person appointment, this is feasible too. Find the Secretary of State Corporations Section at 1019 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701.

Check With the Texas Comptroller

The Texas Comptroller has a free Taxable Entity Search. Not only is the service free, but you won’t need to make an account either.

Type in the business name you want under “Entity Name” then hit “Search.” If a red bar across the top says “Business Name [your search] was not found,” then this means the name isn’t taken yet.

Use Business Anywhere’s Checker

We at Business Anywhere can help you set up an LLC with our business registration service. If you’d like, we can also create a corporation for you. Either way, you can pay for the base package, then add services as you see fit.

On our page, you can search business names in Texas as well. Simply enter the name, choose “LLC” or “corporation,” then click “Check availability.” 

On the next page, we’ll tell you if the name’s free. If it is, then you can proceed with our business registration service by entering your first name, last name, email, and phone number. Or if you already have an account with us, type in your credentials to log in.

Verify With the County Clerk

If you’d like to be extra sure that you have a free business name, you can check with the county clerk’s office in the county where you plan to operate your business. This will ensure that the name is available at the local level.

Like with the Texas Secretary of State, there’s the convenience of using the County Clerk’s website to search business names. Or you can visit the physical location to have a staff member conduct the search for you.

Another additional step you can take is performing a trademark search. This will give you the green light to use your desired name, as it’ll prove it’s not already trademarked by another entity.

While you’re at it, you may want to go ahead and register a trademark for your LLC. There are several benefits that come with this process, so it’s worth the extra time and money spent.

Check Business Name Availability in Texas to Get Started

When you embark on a new venture, checking the business name availability in Texas is a must. Since company names have to be unique, being certain yours isn’t already in use can save you lots of time, money, and trouble.

So before proceeding with a business and marketing plan, perform an easy LLC name search in Texas. This one step will pave the road for an easy way to a successful business.

To get started on forming your company, sign up with Business Anywhere. We’ll give you free registered agent services for the first year.

About Author

Picture of Rick Mak

Rick Mak

Rick Mak is a 30-year veteran businessman, having started, bought, and/or sold more than a dozen companies. He has bachelor's degrees in International Business, Finance, and Economics, with masters in both Entrepreneurship and International Law. He has spoken at hundreds of conferences around the world during his career on entrepreneurship, international tax law, asset protection, and company structure. Business Anywhere Editorial Guidelines

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