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How To Do A Wisconsin Business Name Search

How To Do A Wisconsin Business Name Search

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How To Do A Wisconsin Business Name Search

The first step in forming an LLC or corporation in Wisconsin is to verify that the business name is available to use. Each business entity registered with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions must use a unique name. See our step-by-step guide to learn how to do a Wisconsin business name search on the state’s business name database and quickly find out if the name you want is available.

Also See: Guide to starting a business in Wisconsin

Step 1: Register Online

Visit the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website.

Step 2: Search your Business Name

Enter the name you would like to use in the Name Search. In this example, we will do a Wisconsin LLC name search by looking up the name “Lawn & Order.” After entering the name, click “Search Records.”

How to do a Wisconsin Business Name Search

When we search the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Lawn & Order.” To register a corporation or LLC name in Wisconsin, 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.

Wisconsin Business Entity Search

Step 3: Review Results

To find more information about any of the registered small business names, click on the link in the “Entity Name / Type” column to see a detailed report.  In this example, we will look up “Lawn & Order LLC.” In this example, we will use the second link as the first one has been dissolved (See “Status” column)

Wisconsin LLC Name Search Details

While the company name “Lawn & Order” by itself may not be available, other variants such as “Wisconsin Lawn & Order.”  Searching for this business name brings a result that says, “Sorry, your search returned no records.”  Even if the name looks like it is available, the Department of Financial Institutions will do its 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.

Wisconsin Business Name Availability

These are the basics of searching for a business name in Wisconsin.  Even when the name of the business you want looks like it is available, the Department of Financial Institutions 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 Wisconsin business entity database?

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

  • Business Name
  • Registered Effective Date: The date the entity was first filed with the Department of Financial Institutions
  • Status: Organized means the entity is in good standing, and all reports and filing fees are up to date. Other results include “Administratively Dissolved,” “Dissolved,” Delinquent,” and “Involuntarily Dissolved.” The names of these inactive results may be available to register.
  • Entity Type: Corporation, Limited Liability Company, etc.
  • Registered Agent’s information:Wisconsin 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 listed.  

Wisconsin Business Name Search FAQs

How do I find a name for a Wisconsin sole proprietorship?

The Department of Financial Institutions Business Entity Database provides information on corporations and LLCs registered in Wisconsin, but the names of sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not available here. Instead, they are registered with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located. 

To register, a sole proprietorship or partnership operating their business under a name that is different from the owner’s legal name will register for a Fictitious Business Name, which is also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, Assumed Name, or Trade Name.

How do I form an LLC in Wisconsin?

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 Wisconsin LLC by checking out our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.

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

What are the requirements to name an LLC in Wisconsin?

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?

If you want a name but are not ready to register the LLC, you can file the Name Reservation Application. 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 Wisconsin Business Name Search

How To Do A Wisconsin Business Name Search

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