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How To Do A Missouri Business Name Search

How To Do A Missouri Business Name Search

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How To Do A Missouri Business Name Search

If you are forming an LLC or a corporation in Missouri, the first thing you need to do is a Missouri business name search.  This search checks all the registered business entities in the state to see if the business name you want to use is available.  Like most other states, the state of Missouri requires each LLC or corporation registered in the state to have a unique business name, so before starting your business, it’s important to verify if the name is available.

Related: Guide to Starting a Business in Missouri

Step 1: Visit the Missouri Entity Name Database

Visit the Missouri Secretary of State website.

Step 2: Search your Business Name

Enter the name you would like to use in the “Search for a Business Entity” field.  In this example, we will do a Missouri LLC name search by looking up the “Lawn & Order.” After entering the company name, click the “Search” button.

How to do a Missouri Business Name Search

Step 3: Review Results

Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Lawn & Order.”  To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Missouri, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.

Missouri Business Entity Search Results

To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the link for the business name you are interested in to get a detailed report.  In this example, we will look up “Lawn & Order, L.L.C..”

Missouri LLC Business Name Results

While the name “Lawn & Order” may not be available, we can look at the example of the available name, “Cowboy Cleaners.” Searching for this name brings a result that says, “No records to display.”  While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register. 

Missouri Available Business Names

These are the basics of searching for a business name in Missouri.  Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names. 

What information can be found on the Missouri business entity database?

The Missouri business entity search can uncover several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:

  • Business Name
  • Entity Type: Corporation, Limited Liability Company, etc.
  • Missouri Charter Number: A Missouri Charter Number is assigned to a corporation or LLC by the Missouri Secretary of State.
  • Domesticity: This refers to a domestic or foreign business entity. A domestic entity is one that initially formed and operates in the state. A foreign entity is one that initially formed in another state and wants to physically do business in the state.
  • Registered Agent Information:Missouri registered agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business.  This is often one of the owners, and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information.  Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent, so their home address isn’t publically listed.  
  • Status: Active means the entity is in good standing, and all reports and filing fees are up to date. Other statuses that may indicate a business name is available include “Admin Dissolved,” “Voluntarily Dissolved,” or “Forfeited.”
    Principal Address: This could be the business’s physical address, or it could be an address where business records are stored.
  • Filing Date: The date the entity was filed with the Secretary of State
  • The filed LLC Articles of Organization are also available to view.

Something to keep in mind is that even though each corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique.  To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.

Related: Should I trademark my business name?

Missouri Business Name Search FAQs

How do I find the business name of a Missouri sole proprietorship?

A Missouri sole proprietorship or partnership can use the small business owner(s) full first and last name as the business name, but many will want to operate under a specific business name. In order to register the business name, they will do a Missouri Fictitious Name registration, which is also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, or Assumed Name.

Like the names of corporations and LLCs, Fictitious Names can be searched on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website.

How do I form a Missouri LLC?

Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use.  Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form a Missouri LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.

Unlike most states, Missouri requires an LLC operating agreement, which is a document that sets the rules for the LLC’s operation.

After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to register for Missouri business licenses and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).  This is a “social security number” for the business.  There is no cost to get one through the IRS.

What are the requirements to name an LLC in Missouri?

In addition to being unique, the LLC’s name must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., and it may not use restricted words such as bank or insurance unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.

Can an LLC name be reserved in Missouri?

If there is a name you want but are not ready to register the LLC, you can file the Application for Reservation a Name with the Missouri Secretary of State for up to 60 days.


  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

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How To Do A Missouri Business Name Search

How To Do A Missouri Business Name Search

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