There are a few different types of business entities in the United States. These include corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited partnerships, and s-corps. Some of these include personal liability protection which is set up by separating the business from the individual owner or owners.
Despite this, when it comes to forming a business, almost everything is public knowledge. This means if someone wants to, they can perform a business search and find information about your business. The same can be said about you looking into another business. You might want to do a business search if you are filing a lawsuit, want to see if your prospective business name is taken, or simply want to learn more about another company.
How to Search for a Business
There are various free searches that can allow you to search millions of registered businesses. Some of these will charge you a small fee, but the best option is to go to the secretary of state website in your state. Here you can look and search through to find business names and information. You will need a bit of information to look up the business.
Information needed to conduct a business search
There are two main types of business searches, that through a company name or an EID (Entity Number Search).
- Entity Number Search: The entity number is the identification number that is issued to the business by the Secretary of State. This is obtained when the entity is formed. If you are searching for a corporation, the letter “C” must be entered first and then followed by the seven-digit entity number. When searching for an LLC or limited partnership by entity number, you only need to type the 12-digit entity number.
- Entity Name Search: Another option is to search by name. You can do so by a keyword that is part of the entity name. This should be distinctive or unique. Additionally, if you have the exact name of a business you can search for it. This should include any spaces and punctuation that are part of the name. If you only have the beginning of the business name you can search that way as well.
Reasons to Search for a Business
There are various reasons you might want to search for a business. For instance, you might want to file a lawsuit against a business and need information about the business. This is common because in order to sue the business you will need its address. Another option might be to simply learn more about it. You may also want to find out who owns the business, or if they have already taken the name you wish to use for your business. Additionally, another option might be to find out if your business is officially formed in your state.
Where to Search for a Business
Some platforms provide you the option to search for a business for a low cost, but here is a list of available options to do so from:
What Information Comes Up When Searching for a Business?
When searching online for a business, you can find the name of the company, as well as the status of whether or not it is in good standing. You can also find the names of the owners and managers. In some cases, you can see when it was registered, and information regarding the registered agent. If the business was formed anonymously, you may not be able to find out who the owners and managers are.
How to Keep Your Business Information Private
Forming your business as an anonymous LLC is the best option to keep your personal information private. This can be done in the states of Delaware, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Unfortunately, other states do not allow this.
Forming an anonymous LLC is similar to other LLCs. They allow you to keep your personal information private, and protect the managers as well. This is essential if you are someone who is a public figure or runs a controversial business. When forming an anonymous LLC the only information available is the registered agent and registered address. This will keep your information out of public business searches.