If you are looking to do research and make sure a business name is available for your corporation or Limited Liability Company in Missouri, you are in the right place.
The Business Services division of the Missouri Secretary of State provides an online database of registered business names in the state, and best of all, there is no cost to use it.
In addition to searching for available names, you can also look up information about who owns a particular business. This can be a useful search when trying to track down a business in the state of Missouri.
What types of business structure can be searched?
Businesses that register with the Missouri Secretary of State will show up in the database. These business entities include:
- Limited Liability Companies (LLC)
- Limited Partnerships
- Limited Liability Partnership
- Limited Company
Sole proprietorships and partnerships will only show up if they register a Fictitious Name (also known as a DBA, Doing Business As, or Trade Name). A Fictitious Business Name is only required if the sole proprietorship or partnership operates under the owner’s full first and last name, their business won’t show up in a search.
How to do a Missouri Business Entity Search
The Missouri Secretary of State makes it pretty easy to do a business name search. They allow you to search by business name, registered agent, or charter number.
If you are using the database to search for names that are available for a new business, the database can search for these as well!
Let’s break down each for more details:
Search by Business Name
Step 1. Start at the Missouri Secretary of State’s website to begin your search:
Step 2. Select the search criteria by clicking on the radio button. You can select from Business Name , Registered Agent, Name Availability and Charter Number. The screenshot illustrates the same.
Assuming this search will be for a business name, let look up Landscaping & More. If you only know the beginning name of the business, keep the dropdown as “Starting With”. You can also search by “All Words” or “Any Words” if you only know a portion of the name, or “Exact Match” if you know the exact name of the business being searched.
Step 3. Choose the appropriate narrowing method and click on search.
The result page will soon appear with a list of results carrying the name that was searched. Refer to the screenshot below.
Step 4. Click on an entity type to get further details like:
- Business Name
- Type (Corporation, Limited Liability Company, etc)
- Domesticity (Domestic or Foreign Entity)
- Principal Office Address
- Charter Number
- Entity Formation Documents
- Articles of Organization for an LLC
- Articles of Incorporation for a corporation.
In addition, if your business needs an official Certificate of Good Standing, you can order copies for a small fee.
Search by Registered Agent
A lesser-used search to find a business in Missouri would be through a search of a registered agent’s name. Every type of entity that has to register with the Secretary of State (not sole proprietors and partnerships), must have a registered agent.
A registered agent can be an individual living in Missouri or a company with a physical address in the state. The agent’s function is to be a single point of contact who is available during normal business hours to accept important legal notices.
Name Availability Search
If searching for a name for your new business, you can use this search to see if the Missouri business name you want is available. If the results show “No records to display”, then it is likely your name is available. In this search, we looked for MissouriBusiness.net, which came back without any results!
If you find a name that is available, but aren’t ready to start the business, you can do a name reservation with the Secretary of State. A name reservation will hold a business name for up to 60 days, and will cost of $25.
Search by Charter Number
If you should have the charter number from the Secretary of State’s business, you can search by it as well.
Is a business license the same as the business name registration?
No – Registering a name registration is different from business licensing in Missouri. The Missouri Department of Revenue has more information regarding Missouri business licenses.
If you have further questions about searching for a business name, contact:
Missouri Secretary of State
600 West Main Street
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101
Phone: (573) 751-4936