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How To Do A South Dakota Business Name Search

How To Do A South Dakota Business Name Search

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How To Do A South Dakota Business Name Search

Starting a business in South Dakota involves several steps, but one of the first is choosing a business name. This step is a little more complicated when setting up an LLC or corporation in South Dakota because these business structures must have a unique name. 

To help you verify that your corporation or LLC is available to use, our step-by-step guide will show you how to quickly do a South Dakota business name search using the South Dakota Secretary of State business name database.

Related: Guide to starting a business in South Dakota

Step 1: Visit the Business Name Database

Go to the South Dakota Secretary of State website.

Step 2: Search your Business Name

Enter the name you would like to use in the “Search Name” field.  In this example, we will do a South Dakota LLC name search by looking up “Premier Lawn Care.” Enter your desired name and click “Search.”  

How to do a South Dakota Business Name Search

Step 3: Review Results

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

South Dakota Business Entity Search

To find more information about any of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Business ID” column to see a detailed report. 

South Dakota LLC Name Search Results

While the name “Premier Lawn Care” by itself may not be available, other variants are such as “Premier Lawn Care of South Dakota.”  Searching for those business names brings a result that says, “No Records Found.”  Even if the name looks like it is available, the Secretary of State will do their own search to avoid confusing potential customers with a business name that sounds like someone else’s.  Typically words that sound alike but are spelled differently, and even abbreviations will make names show up as available but won’t be approved.

South Dakota Business Name Availability

These are the basics of searching for a business name in South Dakota.  Even when the name of the business you want looks like it 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. 

Also, keep in mind 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?

What information can be found on the South Dakota business name database?

The South Dakota business search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:

  • Entity Name
  • Entity type: Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability Partnership, Limited Partnership
  • Status: Good Standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date. If the result shows “Inactive,” the name may be available to register.
  • Initial Filing Date: The date the entity was first filed with the Secretary of State
  • Term of Duration: Perpetual means the entity intends to exist forever. Some entities will instead choose a specified end date.
  • Principal Office: This could be the physical address of the business, or it could be an address where business records are stored.
  • Registered Agent Information:South Dakota 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 agent 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 publicly listed. 
  • Annual Report Due Date
  • Access is also provided to view the original LLC Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation.

South Dakota Business Name Search FAQs

How do I find a name for a South Dakota sole proprietorship?

Unlike corporations and LLCs in South Dakota, the names of South Dakota sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not listed on the state database. Instead, they are registered with the Register of Deed’s office in the county where the business is located. 

Registering a name for a sole proprietorship or general partnership requires filing a South Dakota DBA (often referred to as a Doing Business As, Assumed Business Name, or Fictitious Business name) with the County Clerk where the business is located. 

How do I form a South Dakota 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 South Dakota LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.

While not required in South Dakota, an LLC operating agreement, which contains the rules for how the LLC operates, is a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.

After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to register for South Dakota business licenses and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so the business is legal to operate.

What are the requirements to name an LLC in South Dakota?

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 South Dakota?

If you want a name but are not ready to register the LLC, you can file the Application for Name Reservation. The name reservation will hold a name for up to 120 days.

Author

  • 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.

How To Do A South Dakota Business Name Search

How To Do A South Dakota Business Name Search

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