Most business owners start an LLC, as it’s the most popular business entity with many unique perks. When you start an LLC, you’ll choose the perfect name… sometimes. Sometimes, you’ll need to change it. What seemed perfect at the time may not seem right now, or you might’ve outgrown it or changed branding strategies.
Whatever the reason, you need to change your LLC’s name. The most time-consuming and awkward part of the name change is altering your LLC’s name on all business accounts, marketing materials, and contracts, and the step-by-step process may vary between each business. Filing paperwork with your state agency can take care of this problem, but there are a few specific steps to consider before changing your LLC name. Here are the general areas to consider before changing your LLC’s name.
Limited Liability company name
When you set up your LLC, the name of your LLC is an important part of your formation documents. A business name change is a significant decision to undertake, and you’ll need to change everything from your legal trade name to your social media; you’ll need a total rebrand, and the name of an LLC can’t be changed if all members of a multi-member LLC don’t agree.
Business name availability search
Before attempting an LLC name change, you’ll need to make sure your desired name is available. Before you formed your LLC, you will have undertaken the same step.
In most cases, you can conduct your LLC name search online at a business filing agency or at the website of the Secretary of State. You’ll need to choose a name that’s different from any other business, LLC, or corporation name in your state.
Formal resolution approval
Your LLC’s owners or members will need to formally approve the name change. Your LLC Operating Agreement should outline the precise steps your LLC takes to decide important matters.
Some LLCs will reach an informal agreement, or it may require a formal meeting of board members and a vote. You should write up an officially approved resolution and keep it in your LLC official records. You’ll need to file articles of amendment for your new business name for your new LLC name.
Amend your Articles of Organization to change the LLC name
Upon forming your LLC, you filed Articles of Organization. To change an LLC name, those articles must be amended. Each state has its protocol and amendment form; you should contact your state’s business filing agency or search ‘change name of LLC.’ Once you’ve filled out the appropriate form, you should follow any outlined steps to submit it to the state and any state filing fee. Otherwise, consider obtaining legal advice or speaking to a business formation service, as they may be able to assist you in this matter.
Amend your Operating Agreement
Your Operating Agreement is a crucial document used by LLCs. Operating Agreements are the backbone of your LLC, with functional decisions being dictated by them. The document governs the business’s internal operations in a way that suits each LLC member. An Operating Agreement applies to financial and functional decisions, including regulations, provisions, and rules. You’ll need to amend your LLC Operating Agreement to reflect your LLC’s new name.
Notify taxing and licensing agencies
You’ll need to notify any related agencies or regulatory bodies of your new name change if you have business licenses. You may need an approval certificate from the state approving your new name. You may also be obligated to notify state, federal, and local taxing authorities, including the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).
Change the name on business accounts
You’ll need to inform your bank account provider and change your business bank account, order new credit cards, checks, etc. You should notify the people you regularly work or do business with, including insurance agents, lenders, landlords, suppliers, etc. In some cases, you will amend contracts to reflect your business’s new name. If you use estimate forms, invoices, purchase orders, or other contracts, you need to quickly change these forms to reflect your business’s new name. Don’t forget to update your online forms, contact details, and terms and conditions.
Changing everything else
Once your name change has been approved by the state – and you’ve dealt with the legal situation, you can begin changing everything else. There’s a surprising amount of name branding – that means changing signatures, signage, brochures, forms, website, stationery, and business cards. Anything that still uses your old name requires an update. You’ll also need to advertise it; otherwise, your old customers won’t know they’re dealing with the same people.
Changing your LLC’s name legally requires paperwork and updating legal documents, terms, and conditions, operating agreements, etc. You’ll also need permission from all LLC owners (assuming you’re not running a single-member LLC). But, you should be careful to consider the work involved – you’ll need to change bank accounts, business licenses, websites, and marketing materials, which could harm your reputation if loyal customers can’t identify you.