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Old 03-14-2007, 11:41 PM
xanthous xanthous is offline
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Where does the "LLC" go in my business name?

My business name is like this:

Catchy Business Name
Superior [Plumbing] Services

When identifying my business name on the Articles of Organization application, should it be

Catchy Business Name, LLC

or

Catchy Business Name Superior Plumbing Services, LLC

Does it matter? Casually I'd be referring to my business as "Catchy Business Name" so does the LLC need to be placed after that, or is there some kind of rule about the "whole name"? Also, where, legally, does the "LLC" have to appear, if at all, on my business materials (marketing materials, letterhead, etc)

I realize you are not my lawyer, but do you happen to know anything about or have an oppinion on this?
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2007, 12:10 AM
jasonh300 jasonh300 is offline
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In my experience, owning a couple of LLCs, I don't put it on my signs, letterhead, invoices or anything else unless it's a legal form that requires a full legal business name.

If you go to a place like Home Depot or WalMart, you'll notice that you don't see an LLC, Inc. or Corp. on the signs or receipts...or anywhere else that I can think of.
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Old 03-15-2007, 05:54 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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To restate the obvious, an LLC is a "legal person," that is, a legal fiction that what you've created as an LLC is a separate person from yourself in the eyes of the law. It can be but need not be the "business name," i.e., what you do business as.

For example, say your name is really John Q. Xanthous, and you wish to run a business named "Suburban Plumbing Service." Presuming you are legally authorized (licensed or whatever) to provide plumbing services to the public for payment, you may be able to simply start up your business without any further ado. However, in many jurisdictions, you are required to file a D/B/A certificate or similar document with the appropriate authority, generally the city or county clerk, the office of the state secretary of state, or a state registrar of businesses. This is simply a standard form that indicates what the business name is, what business it's engaged in (plumbing), who is the legal proprietor of the business (you), and where said proprietor can be contacted in case of disputes. (There are also requirements regarding the business having a tax number that are important to running a business but irrelevant to what you're asking.)

Now, what you're proposing to do is to create a legal person named "Catchy Business Name LLC" and have it engaged in the plumbing service business under the name of "Superior Plumbing Services." Three points for you to consider:

1. Is Catchy Business Name LLC legally authorized to go into the plumbing business (presuming it employs a licensed plumber [you])? Generally, documents creating corporations, LLCs, and the like give a broad range of potential activities in which this legal person may engage, but there are in fact limits on that, which vary from state to state. Be sure that your own LLC is so created that it's able to do what you want it to.

2. Does the paperwork creating the LLC enable you to specify within it that "Catchy Business Name LLC" may do business as "Superior Plumbing Services" or can it be so written or amended that it does specify that? If so, you've achieved the legal notification of a business name requirement in many jurisdictions.

3. Is there any particular reason why you want the LLC to be named "Catchy Business Name LLC" as opposed to "Superior Plumbing Services LLC"? (E.g., you intend that it also own and manage your parents' home when you inherit it on their death, so you want it to be named more broadly than a plumbing business.) If not, why not simply name the legal person with the business name it will be engaged in?

It would definitely not hurt to get a quick consultation with a lawyer on what the legal requirements are for an LLC engaged in business under an assumed name in your state and locality. This stuff varies immensely from state to state, and getting the right advice for Arizona or Wisconsin won't do you a bit of good in New Hampshire or Tennessee.

I am not a lawyer, the above is not legal advice, it's purely information to the best of my knowledge on what is common practice in some places, on which you should place no legal reliance, and you have no idea whether or not I know anything about what I'm talking about. A lawyer familiar with your state's, county's, and city's expectations about running a business as an LLC is something you really ought to be looking at.
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