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How To Do A West Virginia Business Name Search

How To Do A West Virginia Business Name Search

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How To Do A West Virginia Business Name Search

Starting a business in West Virginia 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 West Virginia because these entities 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 West Virginia business name search using the West Virginia Secretary of State’s business name database.

Also See: Guide to starting a business in West Virginia

Step 1: Visit the Business Name Database

Visit the West Virginia Secretary of State website.

Step 2: Search your Business Name

Enter the name you would like to use in the “Organization Name” field.  In this example, we will do an LLC name search for the company name “Cleaning Queens.”  

How to do a West Virginia Business Name Search

Step 3: Review Results

Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Cleaning Queens.”  To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in West Virginia, 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.

West Virginia Business Entity Search

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


West Virginia LLC Name Search Results

While the name “Cleaning Queens” by itself may not be available, other variants such as “Cleaning Queens of West Virginia.”  Searching for this company name brings a result that says “No Records Found.”  Even if the name looks like it is available, the West Virginia 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.

West Virginia Business Name Availability

These are the basics of searching for a business name in West Virginia.  Even when the name of the business you want looks like it is available, the West Virginia 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. If protecting your business name is important, consider getting a trademark.

Related: Should I trademark my business name?

What information can be looked up in the name database?

The West Virginia business entity search can find several pieces of information about businesses in the state. Some of the highlights include:

  • Business Name
  • Entity Type: Organization type such as Corporation, Limited Liability Company, etc.
  • Status: Active means the entity is in good standing, and all reports and filing fees are up to date. “Inactive” results may be available to register. A Certificate of Existence is also available.
  • Principal Office Address: This could be the business’s physical address or the address where business records are stored.
  • Effective Date: The date the entity first became active with the state.
  • Filing Date: Date the entity was first filed with the Secretary of State
  • Officer Name: Names of the officers (usually the business owner) and their title

West Virginia Business Name Search FAQs

How do I find a name for a West Virginia sole proprietorship?

Unlike corporations and LLCs in West Virginia, the names of sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not listed on the states’ database. Instead, they are registered with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located. 

Registering a name for a sole proprietorship or general partnership requires filing a West Virginia Trade Name (often referred to as a DBA or Doing Business As name) with the County Clerk.

How do I form an LLC in West Virginia?

Before forming an LLC, be sure to check for business name availability, as each business entity must not already be registered with the state. Once you know the LLC name is available, read our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization to learn how to form a West Virginia LLC.

While not required in West Virginia, 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, register for West Virginia business licenses and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to ensure the business’s legality.

What are the requirements to name an LLC in West Virginia?

The LLC’s name must include a descriptor at the end of the business name to describe its type of business entity. Available name endings include the following words or abbreviations:
– Limited Liability Company
– Ltd. Liability Company
– Ltd. Liability Co.
– Limited Company
– Ltd. Company
– Ltd. Co.
– L.L.C.
– L.C.
– LC

A comma may be used after the business name and before the end of the name.  “Cowboy Cleaners LLC” and “Cowboy Cleaners, LLC” are both acceptable.

Can an LLC name be reserved?

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.


  • 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 West Virginia Business Name Search

How To Do A West Virginia Business Name Search

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