Alabama business search
You can search for business entities registered and operating in the state of Alabama by using the official business search tool. It is the Alabama Business Entity Tool. Read how to access the free tool below.
Why search for names?
Benefits of entity search tool
Checking entities in a state helps you as a business owner and a concerned citizen
You can check if your brand name is used by another company in a state.
To expand your business to another state, you can see check if your name is taken.
Find the people behind
As a concerned citizen, you can see the individuals and entities behind local businesses.
Before you file for trademarks, it is important to conduct thorough research into existing entity names.
Click on any of the actions below to expand them:
How to form an LLC in Alabama?
Follow these 7 steps:
1. Name your LLC
Consider some names for your business that your customers would find appealing. Show those names to your friends and some of your customers, and get their feedback. If you already have a few names in mind that you like, great!
To check if those names are available in the state of Alabama, go to the official entity search tool on the Secretary of State website. It’s free to search.
You can reserve a corporate name with your state by paying a small fee. You need not reserve a name separately if you are filing the certificate of formation.
Every LLC needs to be identified with a designator. At the end of your LLC’s name, you should include the words ‘Limited Liability Company’ or its abbreviations such as ‘LLC’.
Make sure you follow LLC naming guidelines specified by Alabama state as per AC §10A-1-5.06. This includes not using names similar to existing companies, etc.
2. Get a mailing address
If your business has an office or factory in Alabama, you can use it as your official company address. Note that the address will be made public and is even available on the Internet.
Another option is to choose a virtual office address. This way, you pay a company for a street address, and they handle all your mailing. You can then share this address with the state.
3. Hire a registered agent
If you are a resident of Alabama, you can act as the registered agent for your LLC. However, your details will be made public and you must be available during all business hours to receive service of process.
Alternatively, you can opt for a registered agent service. With a registered agent, your privacy is protected and you can move freely without worrying about compliance.
4. File Certificate of Formation
Once you have a registered agent and an official office address, you can register your business with the state. You can file the Certificate of Formation online.
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 5616
Montgomery, AL 36103-5616
5. Create an Operating Agreement
Operating agreements are not mandatory in Alabama, but it is highly recommended to have one. There are online websites where you can create an operating agreement. Create one and get it signed by your LLC members.
6. Get Employer Identification Number (EIN)
The IRS uses the EIN to identify business entities. You can create an EIN for free at the IRS website.
7. Open a business bank account
Every LLC should have a unique name in Alabama. Alabama maintains a list of names of entities in the state. Go through it to check if your chosen name is available.
Search for names
Go to the official website of the Alabama business entity tool to see if the name you want is available.
You can reserve a name for your LLC for a specific duration by paying reservation fees to the Alabama business services. You will have to file your LLC formation documents within this period to keep the name. Alternatively, you can directly go ahead with the LLC formation without any reservation. That's fine too.
LLC naming guidelines
The name you choose for your LLC must follow the official naming guidelines.
Here are some of the guidelines in simple language:
Must have the phrase "Limited Liability Company" or the abbreviation "L.L.C." or "LLC" as the last words of the name.
Don’t include terms that indicate that you are doing an activity that you are not authorised to do.
Your name should be ‘distinguishable’ in the Secretary of State records. Adding a punctuation or ‘the’ does not make it distinguishable.
Don’t use words that makes it seems like you are a governmental entity or has an affiliation.
Operating agreement is an internal business document that outlines the general rules and policies of the LLC.
It is not a legally mandatory document. However, it is recommended to have one since many courts, banks and financial institutions use it for verification. It is also nice to clearly outline the duties and relations between multiple members of an LLC—so you avoid any confusion in the future.
There is no ‘required’ format for an operating agreement. You can include anything reasonable in it. In general, it has the following sections:
Basic Business information
Contains name, address, names and details of members, purpose
Contains membership interest, decision making process, powers, duties.
Contains details on how to add or remove members and managers.
Accounting and tax
Contains details on how company records and distributions are maintained.
How to dissolve, wind up and terminate, due process to follow and exceptions.
Frequently asked questions
Business in Alabama
Knowing the entity names that are available in Alabama helps you run your business better. Read our guides to learn how to get started with these entities in Alabama.