Wisconsin LLC Name Reservation

Last updated on: March 11, 2021

A good business idea, thorough preparation and a memorable name for your limited liability company are important factors in a successful launch.

It takes some entrepreneurs only a couple of hours to come up with a good name, while others need several days of brainstorming. Someone keeps their business idea in mind for years before starting a business. 

No matter how much time you spent thinking of it, when filing your Wisconsin LLC registration, it may turn out that the company name you want is not available. This is rather unfortunate, because the fee is non-refundable, and the long-awaited launch is delayed.

You can take care of the name approval by the Articles of Organization in advance using a name reservation. 

What is Wisconsin Company Name Reservation?

Reserving a name of a limited liability company is a process that allows you to reserve a business name for your future company, even before its official launch. 

An important note: the LLC name reservation is not the same as registration. It is not a mandatory part of starting an LLC in Wisconsin and will not allow you to do business, however, it may be useful in certain cases. For example, if you are not planning to file Articles of Organization, but want to reserve your desired name preventing another entity from using that name.

Of course, not every entrepreneur needs to reserve business name. Situations may differ. If you are 100% sure that your name will not be used in the future because of its unusual spelling and unique symbols, just skip this step. 

The same applies to cases where you are ready to file Articles of Organization, that register a business name automatically.

Are there any laws regarding the Name for a Wisconsin Company?

Wisconsin does not require an LLC to reserve a name, but like most other states, there are certain requirements that must be followed when choosing a name:

  • uniqueness: the name must be distinguishable on the records, in other words, have a significant difference from all other companies;
  • availability: the name you choose must not be reserved or already be in use by another operating company in the state;
  • a special designation: “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, etc., identifying the type of your business;
  • no forbidden words, such as “bank” or “insurance” unless the entity is licensed to operate as such; 
  • the absence of terms that might confuse people with the nature and purpose of the company’s activities, as well as with a state agency.

How to search available business name in Wisconsin?

You should choose your name carefully. Non-compliance with the law of this state can lead to your registration application being rejected and losing your money.

If the name you choose meets the state’s criteria, but it is not the best one, you may be forced to change in the future. To increase the recognition of your LLC, for example, or to make it different from your competitors. In this case, changing will also require additional payment.

Fortunately, timely WI business search can eliminate this problem.

It doesn’t take you much time to check the availability of a business name, but it can be beneficial and save you money. 

Visit the Department of Financial Institutions website where you can use Wisconsin LLC name search service to get information about all companies with similar names registered in the state. 

The other useful online service features are:

  • monitoring the status of your LLC;
  • updating the information about the registered office or registered agent contacts;
  • access to another company’s agent information to contact them.

If you’re not ready to launch your business, but the name you choose meets all legal requirements and Wisconsin LLC search shows it is available, there’s no reason to delay. Reserve your company name right now to avoid the risk of registration problems in the future.

How long is a Wisconsin LLC Name Reservation valid?

After you conduct a search using the Wisconsin secretary of state business, you can reserve company name to obtain exclusive rights to use it. The name reservation period is 120 days. During this time, the state will hold your reserved name for you, rejecting other applicants.

Filing Articles of Organization during this period is the best idea. However, if you do not manage to prepare a company launch within this period, you can file a reservation application again for another 120 days. 

The state law also provides for long-term name reservations. This is possible in such cases as:

  • name change;
  • a merger;
  • voluntary dissolution.

If your LLC fits one of these requirements, you can reserve your prior name for up to 10 years.

How much does it cost to Reserve a Company Name in Wisconsin?

To reserve business names in Wisconsin is a paid service, but its cost is low and affordable even for small businesses.

The Department of Financial Institutions charges a state fee of $15 per 120 days to handle the application, according to the state law.

Doing Wisconsin business entity search and making sure the name is available will allow you to avoid paying multiple fees. However, keep in mind that if the name mentioned in the Articles of Organization turns out to be in use during registration, it will cost you much more money.

How can I Reserve a Name for a Wisconsin Company?

When you are sure that your LLC business name is in compliance with the law and have checked its availability, it’s time to file a reservation application. Because it is not currently possible to do this online, you will need to use paper materials and mail services.

The name reservation request form is available on the Department of Financial Institutions website. It is simple two-page form that includes the following information:

  • the business name you wish to reserve;
  • your business type (corporation, LLC, partnership, etc);
  • full name, address and signature of the applicant.

Download, fill out, and print the form out. Be sure to include a check for the $15 state fee, then mail all these documents to the following address:

Department of Financial Institutions
P. O. Box 7846
Madison, WI 53707-7846

Generally, the processing time for business name reservation is around 4-6 business days. 

If you do not want to wait, you can use the expedited service at the top of the application. This option will include an additional $25 payment, but your application will be processed within 24 hours.

Save Time by Using a Professional LLC Service

When it is your first time starting your own LLC, it can be very stressful and requires you to be completely focused on the process. Writing a business plan, market research, handling state correspondence and tax information , dozens of things demand your attention every day. 

Allow yourself to breathe freer by letting professionals take care of some of your responsibilities.

There is a wide range of different online companies today that provide comprehensive assistance in starting and doing business. Their costs are reasonable, and the quality of their services corresponds to professional attorneys.

You would better sign a contract with one of the leading organizations in the industry, such as ZenBusiness or CorpNet, for example. 

The name reservation service they offer, along with other beneficial features, will save you time and energy in developing your future LLC. 

The cost for a reserved name for LLC using ZenBusiness will be $50. This cost also includes a check of its availability.

CorpNet’s price is $69, a bit higher, but they offer their customers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you are disappointed with the service, for any reason, the company will refund your money.

To hire a professional organization or not is up to you. LLC services are not free, but the advantages of working with them, can make registering and doing business much easier.

Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray
(323) 789-5289
Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray

In this IncFile vs ZenBusiness review, we're going to compare two of the most popular LLC formation services based on pricing, features, and drawing out differences and similarities to let you see which is most suitable for you and your business.

You can learn more about @Mike here.

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