Personal LLC Names: Should You Name Your LLC After Yourself?
You can name your limited liability company after yourself as long as you conform to all legal requirements and follow the necessary steps.
As a Mergers and Acquisitions specialist who assisted several businesses in forming their LLCs, entrepreneurs seek my guidance on whether they should use their personal name for their companies.
Together with our team of business consultants, we’ll share our insights on the benefits and disadvantages of using your personal name.
- You should name your LLC after yourself if you want to work on your personal branding or make it easier for clients and customers to remember you.
- A personal LLC name isn't a recommended option if you don't want others to access your personal information easily or if you are planning to sell your business one day.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 50% of small businesses survive for 5 years, and only 35% will last beyond 10 years.
- To determine if a personal LLC name is right for you, I advise that you consider your long-term business plan, branding strategy, and growth potential. For legal advice, reach out to a lawyer.
Using A Personal Name For An LLC
If you opt to use a personal name for an LLC, consider the following:
- You'll need to use your full legal name as the business title.
- You'll also need to register your company with the state and get a business license.
- Open a separate bank account for your LLC to keep track of your business finances and avoid comingling your funds.
- You can't use your checking account for business transactions.
If you use your own name as your business brand, keep in mind that if you lose that brand, you have lost your name. – Patrick Cox, Canadian-British Fashion Designer
Pros and Cons of Using a Personal Name for an LLC
There are a few pros and cons to using a personal name for a limited liability company.
- Brand recognition
- It's easier to get approval for a business bank account
- There can be fewer expenses to set up the LLC
- No need to file a "Doing Business As" (DBA) form for your LLC
- It does not reflect the nature of your business.
- It may be difficult to register.
- Limits your business growth.
- Less credible and professional
If you're unsure if this is best for your company, keep in mind that you have the option to change the name in the future. I have colleagues who shifted their business names to a title suitable to their LLCs.
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How to Check if an LLC Name Is Taken?
To check if an LLC name is taken, visit the Secretary of State and business trademark official websites.
Go through the state business entity search and type in your personal name into the search tool and see any results .
If there are no results, that means your personal name is available. If there are similar names, you could use a descriptor to differentiate it from other companies.
To illustrate, I inform clients that if “John Smith LLC” is taken, they could add a descriptor “Photography by John Smith LLC”.
Using a DBA for an LLC
Using a DBA for an LLC is not uncommon. In some cases, you may need to file a "Doing Business As" (DBA) form for your LLC.
This is typically only necessary if you prefer to use a name other than your personal name.
To register, we had to file a DBA online through the Secretary of State website. The process and fees will vary depending on your state .
LLC name vs. Trademark
A trademark is a registered symbol, word, or phrase used to identify and distinguish a product or service.
It is not necessary to trademark the name of your LLC unless you plan to use the business title for branding purposes and want to protect it from being used by other companies across all states.
See More: LLC Business Name vs Trademark
Considering Alternatives to Personal LLC Names
If you consider alternatives to personal LLC names, there are several options to explore.
- You should opt for descriptive or industry-specific names that can convey the nature of your business and attract the target audience.
- I often advise business owners to use a creative or unique name to foster brand recognition.
- Combine personal and descriptive elements, striking a balance between personal branding and industry relevance.
- Most of my clients utilize a separate brand name alongside the personal name, since it allows for flexibility in marketing and expansion.
Can I Change My Business Name?
You can change your business name by filing a name change notification with the Secretary of State's office and updating licenses and registrations. Local newspaper notice may also be required.
Can Two LLC have the Same Name?
Two LLCs cannot have the same name. The first company to register or reserve the title has exclusive rights to its use.