Do you have the perfect name idea for a new business entity in the state of California, but you’re not quite ready to form your company?
California allows you to reserve a business name until you’re prepared for the business formation process, but how does the reservation process work and how long will the state reserve the name for you? In this guide, we’ll run down all the important details of reserving a business name in California.
Rocket Tip: If you’d rather officially incorporate in California rather than file the extra paperwork to register a business name, there are many good incorporation services that can do it for you.
How to Reserve a Business Name in California
The first step is to determine if your desired business name is even available in California to begin with. You can easily search for existing business names in California with this search tool provided by the Secretary of State. Once you’ve determined the availability of your desired name, you can begin the process of reserving it with the state.
Unlike many California business filings, you cannot submit a name reservation request online ― this request must be made in writing. To reserve your name, you will need to file the Name Reservation Request Form with the Secretary of State’s office. This form requires the following information: Secretary of State Name Availability Unit
1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Once you’re finished filling out this form, you will need to write a check for $10 made payable to the “Secretary of State.” You can then mail the form and the check to the following address:
Secretary of State Name Availability Unit 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814
How Long Is My Business Name Reserved For?
Once you submit your Name Reservation Request Form, the state of California will reserve your business name for a period of 60 days. While name reservations can be renewed in California by refiling the Name Reservation Request Form, they cannot be renewed for consecutive 60 day periods. So, if you are still not ready to form your business after 60 days, you could lose the name to another business before you can renew the name reservation again.
Just because you aren’t ready to form your California business entity doesn’t mean you can’t lock down your desired business name.
If the name you want is available today, there’s no reason to wait until you form your business to reserve it for your exclusive use. The required form is easy to fill out, and the filing fee is quite affordable, so you should reserve your name today. However, you should keep in mind that California does not allow for consecutive renewals, so you will want to form your business within 60 days of reserving the name.