Wisconsin business search

Last updated on October 28, 2022

You can search for business entities registered and operating in the state of Wisconsin by using the official business search tool. It is the Wisconsin Search Corporate Records Tool. Read how to access the free tool below.

Official Wisconsin Search Corporate Records Tool

Search for business entities on the Secretary of State’s website. It’s free.

Visit Wisconsin business search tool
Tool screenshot

Why search for names?

Benefits of entity search tool

Checking entities in a state helps you as a business owner and a concerned citizen

Brand protection

You can check if your brand name is used by another company in a state.

Business expansion

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.

Trademark research

Before you file for trademarks, it is important to conduct thorough research into existing entity names.

Actions in West Virginia

View step-by-step instructions on certain tasks you can do in the state.

How to form an LLC in Wisconsin?

Follow these 7 steps:

1. Name your LLC

Think of a list of names for your business that your customers would find appealing. Show it to your friends and some customers and get their feedback. If you already have a few names in mind, great.

To check if those names are available in the state of Wisconsin, go to the official entity search tool on the Secretary of State website. It’s free to search.

You can reserve a name with the state, by paying reservation fees. The reserved name will be expired after a specified duration. If you are filing Articles of Organization, you need not reserve a name separately.

Reservation fees


Reservation duration


Every LLC needs to be identified with a designator. Must contain the words "limited liability company" or "limited liability co." or end with the abbreviation "L.L.C." or "LLC".

Make sure you follow LLC naming guidelines specified by Wisconsin state as per Wisconsin Statutes §183.0103. This includes not using names similar to existing companies, etc.

2. Get a mailing address

If you have an office or factory in Wisconsin, you can use that as your official company address. Note that this address will be made public. You can even use your home address as your official company address. But that may not give you privacy.

Alternatively, pick a virtual office address. This way, you pay a company for a street address and they handle all your mailing. You can then give this address to the state.

3. Hire a registered agent

Every Wisconsin LLC requires a registered agent in the state. If you are a resident of Wisconsin, you can be 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, there are companies that provide registered agent services for a fee. Pay for their service and you get to keep your privacy and ability to freely move around without worrying about compliance.

4. File Articles of Organization

Once you have a registered agent and an official office address, you can go ahead with filing your Articles of Organization. You can file it online on Department of Financial Institutions website.

Filing fees


Processing time



State of WI - Dept. of Financial Institutions

P.O. Box 93348

Milwaukee, WI 53293

5. Create an Operating Agreement

Operating agreements are not mandatory in Wisconsin, but it is highly recommended. There are websites where you can customize operating agreements to your needs. Create and get it signed by your LLC members.

6. Get Employer Identification Number (EIN)

EIN is used by IRS to identify business entities. You create an EIN for free at IRS website.

7. Open a business bank account

It is important to separate your business and personal transactions. There are several ways to create business bank accounts. You can definitely open business checking accounts at traditional banks like Chase, Wells Fargo, etc. There are several other modern banking solutions that offer plenty of benefits to entrepreneurs.

Entity name

Every LLC should have a unique name in Wisconsin. Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin search corporate records tool to see if the name you want is available.

Searching fee



You can reserve a name for your LLC for a specific duration by paying reservation fees to the Wisconsin corporation section of the division of corporate & consumer 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.

Reservation fee


Reservation period

120 days

LLC naming guidelines

The name you choose for your LLC must the official naming guidelines.

  • Wisconsin Statutes §183.0103


Here are some of the guidelines in simple language:

  • 1

    Must contain the words "limited liability company" or "limited liability co." or end with the abbreviation "L.L.C." or "LLC".

  • 2

    Don’t include terms that indicate that you are doing an activity that you are not authorised to do.

  • 3

    Your name should be ‘distinguishable’ in the Secretary of State records. Adding a punctuation or ‘the’ does not make it distinguishable.

  • 4

    Don’t use words that makes it seems like you are a governmental entity or has an affiliation.

Operating agreement

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

Member relationship

Contains membership interest, decision making process, powers, duties.

Membership transfer

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 Wisconsin

Knowing the entity names that are available in Wisconsin helps you run your business better. Read our guides to learn how to get started with these entities in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin LLC

Wisconsin C-Corp

Wisconsin S-Corp

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