Do you have the perfect name idea for a new business entity in the state of Washington, but you’re not quite ready to form your company?
Washington 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 Washington.
Rocket Tip: If you’d rather officially incorporate in Washington 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 Washington
The first step is to determine if your desired business name is even available in Washington to begin with. The state has a convenient business name search tool available on the Secretary of State’s website, which you can access here at any time. Once you’ve determined the availability of your desired name, you can begin the process of reserving it with the state.
Unlike many business filings, Washington does not offer an online filing option to reserve a business name. Instead, this request must be made in writing. The simple one-page form you’ll need to fill out to reserve your name is called a Name Reservation, which can be acquired from the Secretary of State. You’ll need to fill out this document with the following information: Secretary of State Corporation Division
801 Capitol Way S
PO Box 40234
Olympia WA 98504-0234
Once you’re finished filling out this form, you should write a check or money order for $30 ($20 for nonprofits) made payable to “Secretary of State” and mail it with your completed reservation form to the following address:
Secretary of State Corporation Division 801 Capitol Way S PO Box 40234 Olympia WA 98504-0234
How Long Is My Business Name Reserved For?
Once you submit your Name Reservation form, the state of Washington will reserve your business name for a period of 180 days. During that period, no one else will be able to use the name you’ve chosen. To officially claim your name, you’ll need to actually incorporate your business. Only then will the name truly and completely belong to you.
Just because you aren’t ready to form your Washington 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 easily filled out with your basic information, and the filing fee is quite affordable, so you should reserve your name today.