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Verify Your Business Name With an Ohio Business Name Search

If you want to start a small business in the state of Ohio, the first thing you should take care of is the name of your business. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or part of a partnership, you’ll need to register a unique company name. Conducting an Ohio business name search will help you do just that.

Your research can be pretty straightforward with the help of the free business entity search tool from Swyft Filings. It will only take three steps:

  1. Answer several questions about your business and submit the search query.

  2. Wait for the results to be delivered to the email address you’ve provided.

  3. If the name you’ve searched for is available, reserve it; if not, try searching for a different name.

The tool will take up to an hour to search the Ohio Secretary of State database and deliver the results. Once you find an appropriate name for your business, you’ll be free to move forward with registering your company.

Key takeaways

This article will tell you everything you need to know about conducting an Ohio business entity search. Here are the key points we’ll cover in more detail:

  • Your business name must be unique to ensure good standing with the state and obtain an Ohio business license.

  • You must follow specific naming conventions when giving your organization a title.

  • Registering a business name is a prerequisite for company registration, regardless of whether it’s a corporation or an LLC.

  • It’s best to register a company name as soon as possible. Swyft Filings can help you do just that in the shortest time.

Ohio’s business name conventions

According to the Ohio Secretary of State website (, new business owners must adhere to certain conventions when naming their companies [1].

The first consideration about name availability is that your business name must not match one registered with an existing entity. Unlike some other states, Ohio doesn’t distinguish between different business types in that regard.

In other words, if you want to register an Ohio corporation, name availability will be checked against all other businesses, including corporations, limited partnerships, LLCs, and trade names. For instance, you won’t be able to register “Apples and Oranges Corp.” if there’s already an Ohio LLC named “Apples and Oranges LLC.”

It’s worth noting that the above rule applies to the terms “limited liability company,” “corporation,” “limited partnership,” and “company,” as well as their abbreviations (LLC, Corp., LP, and Co.). However, if there was a business named “Apples and Oranges Inc.”, you could register the name “Apples and Oranges Corps Ltd.”

In terms of legal distinction, it’s not possible to distinguish a name purely through the use of abbreviations, contractions, or punctuation. Here are some examples of what the state of Ohio would consider an exact business name:

  • “Apple Company” and “Apple’s Company”

  • “Apple Orange LLC” and “Apple-Orange LLC”

  • “Apple Junior” and “Apple Jr.”

  • “We Are Oranges Ltd.” and “We’re Oranges Ltd.”

  • “Apple Inc.” and “A.P.P.L.E. Inc.”

In addition, substituting “and” with “&” won’t count as a unique name, nor will changing the number, conjunction, article, or tense. For instance:

  • “Apples & Oranges” isn’t distinct from “Apples and Oranges.”

  • “Apple and Orange” isn’t distinct from “Apples and Oranges.”

  • “Apples or Oranges” isn’t distinct from “Apples and Oranges.”

  • “An Apple and Orange Co.” isn’t distinct from “The Apple and Orange Co.”

  • “We Sell Oranges” isn’t distinct from “We Sold Oranges.”

Ohio business naming conventions prohibit businesses from using certain terms in their names. Firstly, a company name can’t contain offensive language or profanities. Secondly, a business that isn’t affiliated with a government agency mustn’t have a name that indicates such an affiliation.

Furthermore, some wording is reserved only for specific business types and will be useable only after being approved by the appropriate authority:

  • “Bank,” “Banking,” Banker,” “Trust,” etc. — Reserved for banking institutions and trusts

  • “Insurance” — Reserved for insurance agencies

  • “Company,” “Cooperative,” “Inc.,” “Corp.,” “Coop,” “Incorporated,” “Association,” “Co-Operative,” “Corporation,” “Assn.,” or “Co-Op” — Reserved for cooperatives, which must use one of the listed words in the name

  • “A Legal Professional Association” or “Co., Lpa” — Reserved for (and must be used by) legal organizations

  • “B-” or “Benefit” — Reserved for benefit corporations

Specific changes can make a business name legally distinct. These include number types (Arabic, Roman, or spelled), added letters, different word orders, spelling variations, and different words with the same base:

  • “Two Apples, Three Oranges” is distinct from “2 Apples, 3 Oranges.”

  • “Appples and Orranges” is distinct from “Apples and Oranges.”

  • “Oranges and Apples” is distinct from “Apples and Oranges.”

  • “Apfels” is distinct from “Apples.”

  • “Apple and Orangade” is distinct from “Apples and Oranges.”

Lastly, you should note that Ohio businesses may use any combination of letters, numbers (including Roman), and common symbols.

Coming up with a name idea while keeping these conventions in mind may be challenging. If you need help with that, you’ll find Swyft Filing’s free business name generator pretty handy.

Benefits of an Ohio entity search

Conducting an Ohio business entity search will be helpful in several ways when starting your business:

  • Verifying that you have a unique business name by checking for name availability will help you avoid attempting to register a business under an overly similar name to an existing one.

  • You can avoid the additional unnecessary costs that come with registering with an existing business name. This can be a costly mistake, but an entity search will help you avoid it.

  • Registering a unique business name will help you avoid potential legal issues. Otherwise, your business could become the subject of a lawsuit from the original name holder.

  • When you reserve a company name, you can secure a domain faster. You can buy a similar domain name and make it so potential customers can find you online easily.

  • An Ohio business entity search will save you precious time. With the handy tool from Swyft Filings, you won’t need to try registering a company name through trial and error. Instead, you can perform a quick, free search and get the results within an hour.

Next steps

Once you’ve cleared availability for your Ohio business name using the Ohio entity search tool, you’ll be ready to take the following steps:

  • Completing the name reservation

  • Getting a domain name

  • Registering a DBA (optional)

Let’s look at each of those steps in more detail.

Complete your name reservation

Once you’ve found a suitable name for your business, you can reserve that name with the Secretary of State office. The reservation will be useful if you want to make sure someone else doesn’t take the same name while you’re getting other business filings in order.

To reserve a company name, you’ll need to fill out the Filing Form Cover Letter [2]. You can submit the form online or by mailing it to:

Regular Filing (non expedite)

P.O. Box 670

Columbus, OH 43216

The filing fee will be $39 for regular business services. If you want a closer filing date, you can send the same form to the expedited filing service at:

Expedite Filing

P.O. Box 1390

Columbus, OH 43216

Note that expedited filing orders will take two business days to process. The state fee in this case will be $139.

Once you’re ready to register a business name, you can use this form. Note that the recipient addresses for regular and expedited filing will be the same as with registering. The fees will also be $39 for regular and $139 for expedited filing.

Choose a domain name

After you’ve secured a company name, you should register a domain name, i.e., the name of your website. While it might seem too soon to think about a website, the truth is that your business should get online as quickly as possible.

You’ll want to get a domain name right after obtaining a business name because it’s best to have the two as similar as possible, if not exactly the same. With matching company and domain names, future customers will find your business more easily on the internet.

A properly named website will ensure you have a reliable sales funnel that will serve as the foundation for all future marketing efforts. The good news is that you can discover suitable domain names without too much trouble. All you need to do is use this handy domain search tool, courtesy of Squarespace.

Consider a DBA

If you can’t register your company under the name of your choice, you may still be able to do business using the name you want. This is possible if you get a “doing business as” (DBA).

Registering a DBA is straightforward. You can file the same form as when registering a business name, but you’ll need to check the “Fictitious name” box instead of the “Trade name” box on the second page of the document.

The mailing address and filing fees will be the same as with reserving or registering a business name.

File your LLC online

After you get your business name ready, you’ll be free to move forward with filing your LLC. Better yet, you can take care of the process online. And best of all, Swyft Filings can help you during every step of the way.

Use our LLC business services to make the entire process effortless. We can even assist you if you need to change your company’s name. Whatever filing needs you may have, Swyft Filings will be able to take care of them quickly and effectively.


How do I find out if an LLC name is available in Ohio?

The free business name search tool from Swyft Filings is a convenient, reliable way to find out if there’s a business in Ohio registered under a specific name. You can also search the database on the website of the Ohio Secretary of State.

What is the Ohio Secretary of State Business Entity Search?

The business entity search on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website is a tool that you can use to find out if there’s a registered business with a particular name in the state.

How do you check if a business is registered in Ohio?

Checking whether a business name is already registered in Ohio is easy thanks to the business entity search tool on the Secretary of State’s website. Swyft Filings also has a free tool that can conduct a thorough business name search for you.

How much does an Ohio business entity search cost?

The official business entity search tool is free, as is the online tool from Swyft Filings.

What are some of the benefits of a business entity search?

Doing a business entity name search will help you discover whether there’s already a business that’s registered under the name you want to use. Using this tool will help you find a unique name for your company, ensuring your compliance with federal and state laws and regulations.

How do you register an LLC in Ohio?

To start a limited liability company (LLC) in Ohio, you’ll need to complete the following steps [3]:

  1. Register a company name or a “doing business as” (DBA).

  2. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

  3. Create a business bank account.

  4. Obtain an IRS registration.

  5. Specify a registered agent name.

  6. Get the appropriate permits and licenses.


  1. Ohio Secretary of State. “Guide to Name Availability.” Accessed May 22, 2023.

  2. Ohio Secretary of State. “Filing Forms and Fee Schedule.” Accessed May 22, 2023.

  3. Ohio Secretary of State. “Starting a Business.” Accessed May 22, 2023.