Delaware has some of the most business-friendly tax advantages for corporations to register businesses across the United States. As a result, Delaware ranks in the top five states with the highest entity formation per year despite its small population size.
Because of the competition for Delaware business names, it is critical to perform a Delaware business name search. The Delaware Department of State website keeps an organized log of Delaware business entities that exist or have dissolved.
How to search business names in Delaware
Searching for Delaware businesses is done through the Delaware Division of Corporations site. The division of corporations database maintains a log of all business filings and is easy to navigate.
Delaware business entity search options are broken down into the following categories:
- Entity Name
- File Number
The “ Entity Name” search query is the most commonly used search option to find a Delaware company name.
- Enter in the business name and select “search,” and the database will generate any entity type related to the name entered.
- The search page options are filtered by All, Active, Cancelled, or Dead.
- There is no need to enter phrases like “LLC, Corp, or other naming designations as the database will generate additional information for every type of entity.
- Enter in the desired File Number and select “Search” to generate results.
Delaware business entity details
If a business is struggling to think of a good business name, one way to generate ideas is to look through the search results list to see if any expired names could fit the business.
The Delaware business entity detail page provides further information on the business selected such as:
- File Number
- Entity Name
- Entity Kind
- Residency (Domestic or Foreign)
- Registered Agent Details
Delaware is unique in that they do not provide detailed information on each corporation for free. A $10 fee will provide detailed information on business status, and a $20 fee includes franchise tax assessment, current filing history, and more for a fee of $20.
What's next after finding the perfect name?
1. Check if the domain name is available
After performing a Delaware corporation search, performing a domain name search to see if the name is available is a good idea.
- Many of the .com domain names with six or fewer letters are already taken, so getting creative may be a necessity. Websites like Namechk and GoDaddy can help filter available domain names and suggest alternatives that may be a good fit.
- While a .com is the most common domain extension used, extensions like .co, .net, and .io are becoming more commonly used as the internet ages and can be a good fit once a business name is selected.
2. Check if the social media name is available
In the digital age, it is essential to have a solid social media presence. Customers will often check sites like Yelp and Google Reviews to gauge what others think about a business. Some other tips on social media for a Delaware business entity:
- Having a strong social media presence for small businesses is an excellent way to boost organic presence on the web, impress customers, and build awareness.
- Unfortunately, like domain names, social media handles are often hoarded. Make sure to check sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to ensure the handle is not being used.
- If the handle is available, lock the username in place to make sure it is not taken.
- Software platforms like SocialPilot can help simplify managing various social media platforms.
3. Register Delaware business entity, or reserve name
After selecting a business name, businesses can register their incorporation by filing their name reservation and the certificate of formation together with the Delaware Secretary of State.
For further step-by-step instructions on how to file your LLC check out this Delaware LLC guide.
Delaware Business Entity Name Reservation
If a business is not ready to register its entity but has a name picked out, they can submit a reservation request through the Delaware.gov site for a filing fee of $75. The Delaware name reservation is good for 120 days.
4. Register TAX ID/EIN with the IRS
An EIN is a nine-digit number that identifies a business for tax purposes. Think of it as a social security number for businesses. Filing your EIN for a limited liability company (LLC) is straightforward and can be done online. Delaware corporations can register for a Tax ID for $79 with Swyft Filings.
5. Create a logo
Similar to selecting a good business name, businesses with a great logo impress customers, help distinguish themselves from the competition, and create a positive visual memory of your unique business services for customers.
With the emergence of freelance marketplaces, it is easy to get a logo done on Fiverr in 24 hours or less.
6. Write a business plan
Writing a business plan can help organize business owners’ ideas and create a pathway for businesses to follow. Having a professionally written business plan also impresses investors and helps create accountability.
Liveplan.com is a business plan software that can help make the process easy as they have over 500 sample plans to choose from.
7. Open a business bank account
Having a business bank account is required for businesses as it helps keep business and personal finances separate. It also helps build business credibility in the event business loans are needed to grow the business in the future.
We recommend Novo Bank
Plan on running your business well
Delaware business structure naming considerations
One of the first decisions to make before selecting a Delaware business name is understanding business naming rules for different business structures.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships
In Delaware, sole proprietorships do not have to file with the Delaware Secretary of State to begin business operations. Sole Proprietorships typically operate under a person’s name, so there is no need to perform a business name search in most situations.
Like Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships are relatively easy to file and generally include all partners’ last names (ex: Smith, Jones, and Lasalle).
LLCs are separate legal entities that separate owners’ business interests, debts, and liabilities from personal responsibilities. Names for LLCs are required to be filed with the Delaware Secretary of State and must be unique.
A few reminders when naming LLCs:
- Delaware business names must include the words “LLC, L.L.C., or the phrase limited liability company. “LLC” is most commonly used after a business name, so we recommend using that abbreviation.
- An LLC name should not include the terms Inc., Corporation, Corp, or Incorporated in the LLC name.
- The state may not approve an Delaware business name if it is not clearly distinguishable from the other business.
Corporations, like LLCs, are separate legal entities that require filing with the Delaware Secretary of State‘s office. Corporations are fairly complex and typically used by large companies looking to issue stock and attract investors.
Corporation naming considerations:
- Corporations must include “corp”, “corporation”, “Inc”, “limited”, or “company” in the business name to indicate that it is a corporation.
- S Corporations are subject to the same naming requirements as traditional corporations.
- Professional Corporations must indicate that they are one by using “professional corporation” by using the letters “PC” instead of typical corporate designation.
There is a fair amount of confusion over whether it is possible to have a Delaware Business name similar to an existing business name in another state. As long as a business name isn’t filed by someone else in Delaware, registering a business name is a possibility.
- There is one caveat that could cause issues. Businesses often overlook checking to see if a company has a trademark for the intended entity name.
- Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a service mark on goods or services that can create confusion for consumers.
To avoid headaches down the line, perform a trademark search before completing the Delaware business formation.
Businesses can search for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office through the Trademark Electronic Search System.
Why is it so popular to incorporate in Delaware?
Does Delaware have income tax?
Delaware collects income tax based on seven tax brackets, with taxes from 0% to 6.6%..
What is a Delaware Corporation Loophole?
The Delaware corporation loophole is an accounting strategy that allows large corporations to declare revenue in a state where incorporated rather than where the business operates.
Is a Registered agent required to file an LLC in the state of Delaware?
A registered agent is someone that is designated to receive official papers for your LLC, LLP, or corporation. individuals are able to act as their own registered agent as long as a physical address (p.o. box is not allowed) is used in the state where your business entity is formed.
One of the main benefits of using a third-party registered agent service company is that it adds a layer of privacy between the business and the general population. The registered agent company receives all documents on a business’s behalf and can mail them to you privately.
Northwest Registered Agent offers free mail forwarding and has a great reputation in the industry.
Starting a business? Our number one pick for registered agent services is Northwest Registered Agent.
Where can I find information on Delaware business licenses?
Business license information can be found on the Delaware.gov site.
Why should I file a trademark? How do I file?
A trademark gives entrepreneurs legal protections over their brand. As your Delaware business grows, competitors tend to pop up to try and compete against you in the marketplace.
A trademark sends a message to competitors that may be looking into your niche that you mean business.
Trademarks can also appreciate as your business grows and increases brand recognition. If you are ever hoping to sell your business down the line, having a solid trademark can add to your valuation.
If your business has a physical product that you are looking to sell on sites like Amazon, there are special features businesses can access with a registered trademark, which helps prevent infringement on your products.
- Because the database is very complex to navigate, some people prefer to pay companies like LegalZoom to do the work for them.
- Check out the LegalZoom Trademark options to see if it makes sense for your limited liability company once you have zeroed in on an entity name.
Should I file a DBA?
A DBA (doing business as), or trade name, is a fictitious business name that companies operate under for business outside of the formal LLC name.
Here are a couple of benefits of DBAs:
- Expansion possibilities: having a DBA enables businesses to expand past their original business and without starting a new business entity. Simply creating a new DBA and operating under the existing LLC is all that would be needed.
- Privacy: One of the best benefits of having a DBA is that it gives businesses the ability to operate under a fictitious business name and not have owners’ personal names revealed publicly.