How to Look Up an LLC? | Everything You Need To Know

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: February 8, 2024
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Having formed my LLC a few years ago, I can't stress enough how crucial it is to know how to do a thorough search when thinking of forming or researching an LLC.

Equipping yourself with these valuable insights allows you to make informed decisions and ensure transparency in your business dealings.

Drawing from my experience as an LLC business expert, I have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to look up an LLC effectively.

This guide will walk you through the process and reasons for looking up an LLC.

Quick Summary

  • To look up an LLC effectively, visit the Secretary of State's website for the state where the LLC is registered and use their business database or search function.
  • Conducting a thorough LLC search is essential for informed business decisions.
  • Over 30 million LLCs are registered in the United States.
  • Searching for an LLC, in my opinion, is a crucial step in ensuring transparency and making informed business dealings.


How to Look Up an LLC

Documents from secretary of state where you can conduct an LLC business search

Researching an LLC gave me valuable insights into its legitimacy, ownership, and overall standing, which proved essential for my business decisions.

Here are the steps you can follow:

1. Start with the Secretary of State's Website

The Secretary of State's office maintains business records. This includes records for LLCs at the state level [1].

You’ll first visit the official website of the Secretary of State for the state where the LLC is registered. Look for a dedicated section or search function to access the business entity database.

"Each state is allowed to have rules and regulations surrounding LLC names. Be sure to access this information from the state you’re registering in and make sure you meet all the guidelines."

- Noah Zelvis, Writer

You’ll then navigate to the search function on the website to perform a business search.

Enter the LLC name you're looking up, and then choose the appropriate search parameters.

The database will provide you with information such as:

  • LLC's legal name
  • Registration date
  • Status
  • Registered agent details

3. Verify the LLC's Status

The next step is to be critical of the LLC's status. Common types of status you will get are "Active," "Inactive," "Dissolved," or "Suspended."

You’ll get an active status if the LLC is currently in operation. On the other hand, an inactive or dissolved status might suggest that the LLC is no longer active.

A suspended status implies the LLC failed to comply with certain requirements or obligations.

4. Check for Additional Information

Explore the provided details to gather more information about the LLC.

Look for additional data, such as the LLC's principal address, mailing address, and member names.

Some state databases may include filing history, LLC annual reports, and any past or pending legal actions involving the LLC.

How to Look Up an LLC - Custom State Guides

Where to Look Up an LLC

You can consult several reliable sources to get more information about an LLC.

These sources provide accurate and up-to-date data, enabling you to gather relevant details about the LLC you're interested in.

1. State Government Websites

Each state in the United States maintains a dedicated website where you can access information on registered businesses, including LLCs [2]. According to the Texas Secretary of State's website, annually, thousands of entrepreneurs utilize their website to search among the state's registered 1.5 million business entities, including LLCs, ensuring their chosen name is unique and compliant with state regulations.

These websites often have searchable databases that allow you to find LLCs by name, registration number, or other relevant search criteria.

Simply visit the official website of the state government where the LLC is registered and look for the business or corporation division.

2. Secretary of State Databases

In every state, corporations, limited liability companies, and other businesses must register with Secretary of State databases [3].

The Secretary of State's office usually offers online business name search services for their business entity registrant database.

Therefore, you can look up an LLC entity name and easily perform an availability search by entering its entity name in the search bar.

If you're looking for business name accuracy, consider contacting the state's Department of Corporations or the Secretary of State's office directly.

Many states provide information on their website about requesting this type of information online.

If so, it is best to use these requests since accessing business name public records is free. On the other hand, requests sent through a third party cost money without guaranteeing that accuracy will increase.

You can also check if trade groups in your area represent registered businesses in similar fields.

3. Credit Bureaus

You can also access business data from LLC credit bureaus such as Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion [4].

They maintain records of state-registered businesses, including corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), or limited partnerships.

These records contain specific business details, such as addresses and contact information.

Keep in mind that some credit bureaus may charge for detailed reports. To locate these records, first, determine the entity name you want to investigate.

Once you decide, you’ll use the business name, SSN/EIN/FEI number, and location to conduct standardized searches.

4. Search Engines

Using a laptop to search

You can use popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo when looking up an LLC.

By entering the LLC's name or any other relevant keywords on the search bar, you may find websites, news articles, or public records mentioning the LLC.

Search engines often give you results on corporations, limited liability companies, or limited partnerships and their websites.

If you’re searching on Google, it is more likely that the search engine displays search results on an official government page.

Once you find the business name online, you can browse its web page and find the information you seek.

5. Social Media

Social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, can be valuable sources of information about LLCs.

You may find the exact business name and other information about corporations, limited liability companies, or other business types, using these channels.

It's more effective than looking up different business name websites, as many of them may provide outdated information.

6. Business Associations

Various business associations and industry-specific organizations maintain directories or databases that list LLCs operating within a particular sector.

These associations can be an excellent resource for gathering information about LLCs within a specific industry.

Examples include chambers of commerce, trade associations, and professional organizations.

You can visit their websites or reach out to them directly if you want to inquire about the LLC you're interested in.

Reasons to Look Up an LLC

Looking up an LLC is not just a procedural task; there are various reasons why individuals or entities might need to do so:

  1. Due Diligence: Before entering into a business deal or investment, it's essential to verify the legitimacy and financial health of the LLC. This ensures that one is making an informed decision and mitigating potential risks.
  2. Legal Matters: In cases of disputes, lawsuits, or other legal matters, looking up an LLC can provide crucial information about its registration, status, and other relevant details that can be used in legal proceedings.
  3. Partnership Opportunities: If a company is considering a partnership or collaboration with an LLC, they might want to look it up to understand its business operations, history, and reputation in the market.
  4. Competitive Analysis: Businesses might look up competitors in the form of LLCs to understand their market positioning, strategies, and other insights that can inform their own business decisions.
  5. Regulatory Compliance: Regulatory bodies might look up LLCs to ensure they are complying with the necessary laws and regulations, especially in sectors with stringent regulatory requirements.

FAQs

How Do I Know if my LLC is Active?

You can know if your LLC is active by consulting the official business registry in your jurisdiction. It typically provides up-to-date information on active entities, including their legal status and registration details. Contact the relevant government agency or search their online database for accurate and reliable confirmation of your LLC's activity.

How Do I Check to See if an LLC Name is Available?

You can check if an LLC name is available by performing a search on the website of the state's Secretary of State office.

This search will provide information on whether the name is already registered by another company or if it is available for use.

Are LLC Owners Public Records?

In most cases, LLC owners are not considered public records. The privacy and limited liability protections offered by LLCs generally keep the ownership details confidential, unless specific state laws require disclosure for certain reasons or under certain circumstances.


References:

  1. https://businessfilings.sc.gov/
  2. https://www.sos.state.tx.us/corp/managementinfofaqs.shtml
  3. https://sos.nh.gov/corporation-ucc-securities/corporation/business-name-lookup/
  4. https://www.score.org/resource/article/understanding-three-major-business-credit-bureaus

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