Like everything else in the world, business names sometimes need to change.
What seemed perfect when you formed your LLC may not feel right anymore. Perhaps it contains the name of a business partner who has left. Maybe it doesn’t reflect your current business or branding strategy. Or maybe you’d just prefer something else.
Whatever the reason, you can easily change your LLC’s name by filing paperwork with your state agency that handles business filings.
The most difficult and time-consuming part of an LLC name change is altering your LLC’s name on all your business accounts, contracts and marketing materials.
Here are the steps to take to change an LLC name:
Find out if your new name is available
Before attempting an LLC name change, it’s wise to make sure the name is available in your state. In most states, you can conduct an LLC name search online at the website of the secretary of state or other business filing agency.
You’ll need to choose a name that is different than any other corporation or LLC names in your state.
Approve a resolution to change business name
Your LLC’s owners, or members, should formally approve the name change. Check your LLC operating agreement to see how your LLC decides important matters. You may be required to have a formal meeting of the members, or you may be able to reach a more informal agreement. Write up a resolution approving the name change and keep it with your LLC’s official records.
Amend your articles of organization to change LLC name
When you formed your LLC, you filed articles of organization with the state. To change an LLC name, you must amend those articles. Each state has its own amendment form. You can contact your state’s business filing agency or search “change name of LLC” on their website to find out which form you need to use in your state.
Once you have filled out the appropriate form, you must submit it to the state, together with any required filing fee.
Amend your operating agreement
You should also amend your internal LLC operating agreement to reflect your LLC’s new name.
Notify taxing and licensing agencies
If you have business licenses, you’ll need to notify the agencies that issued those licenses, so they can update their records. You may need to show them a certificate from the state approving the name change.
You must also notify federal, state and local taxing authorities.
Change the name on business accounts
You’ll need to change your LLC name on your business bank account and order new checks and credit cards.
In addition, you should notify the people you regularly do business with, including vendors, suppliers, landlords, lenders and insurance agents.
In some cases, you may need to amend contracts to reflect your new business name.
If you use invoices, estimate forms, purchase orders or any type of form contract, make sure you change these forms to reflect your new business name.
Change the name on everything else
Once your name change has been approved by the state, you can begin telling the world about your new name. That might mean changing signage, brochures, forms, your website, business cards and stationery—anything that still uses your old name. You may also need to advertise your name change so that customers know they’re still dealing with the same company.
Legally changing your LLC’s name is as simple as filling out and filing a form. But before you embark on a name change, be sure it makes good business sense. Remember, you’ll also be spending time and money changing bank accounts, business licenses and forms, websites and marketing materials.