South Carolina Business Entity Search

Using South Carolina Business Entity Search is a useful option for anyone who has a business in the state or intends to set one up. 

When setting up a business, the state requires that the chosen name not be the same as or confusingly similar to previously existing business entities on record. Therefore, you can use the entity search to find business names that fulfill this requirement.

Additionally, existing businesses can use the entity search to check their filings, request documents, or file some forms. For the general public, the search makes available public information related to the chosen entity.

As such, the business entity search is a very useful tool that can provide valuable information if you know how to use it!

Accessing And Using The South Carolina Secretary Of State Business Entity Search

As with most states, the business entity database in South Carolina is maintained by the secretary of state. It is made available online for use through the SOS website. As such, it’s also called the South Carolina Secretary Of State Business Entity Search.

The search function offers the following options:

  • Search for name availability
  • Search by business name

Search For Name Availability On SC Business Entity Search

This is a straightforward function that pretty much does what its name suggests. You enter your desired business entity name in the search box and it checks if the name is available for registration/reservation.

If the chosen name is available, the webpage shows that “This name is available”. This is a good indication that you can use the chosen name for your SC LLC or another business. However, it is not foolproof, so it’s a good idea to do a conventional search as well to weed out any confusingly similar names.

SC Corporate Search Using Business Name

The name of a business is how we recognize a business. So it’s the most intuitive way to do a business lookup as well. 

Of course, we are unlikely to know the full name of the business. It’s a good thing that the search tool takes that into account and makes available a few options to refine results. It’s also useful when you intend to find “similar” names for your desired business entity.

South Carolina Business Entity Search makes the following options available for name search:

  • Contains: This shows results where the business name contains the words entered in the search term. The order of the words isn’t important as long as the search term matches the business entity name.
  • Begins With: A lot of times, we may know the beginning of a business name, but not the full name. This search utilizes that and presents results that best match the search term. Of course, the business names in the result should “begin with” the search term. 
  • Exact Match: As the name suggests, this search looks for entities that are an exact match to the search term. Generally, only one result will be displayed, provided the name of the entity is an exact match to the search term entered.

Using The Search Page And Finding Related Information

If there are relevant results to the search term, the results page will list them. The information available here would be the name of the entity, type, status, date of incorporation, and state (jurisdiction). Clicking on the entity name will take you to a page with detailed information about the chosen entity.

The information available on this page includes several aspects of the chosen entity. These include the name and address of the South Carolina registered agent, entity name and type, jurisdiction, status, names of the officers/managers, and more. Previous filings and corporation history records are also available.

How To Reserve A Business Name In South Carolina

The name of a business is very important. After all, that’s how prospective clients and customers form a first impression of the business. The way things are, it can be really difficult to find a unique and attractive name for your business. That’s why, if you happen to think of a name that fits right, it is a good idea to think of name reservation.

It is usually simpler to reserve a name rather than complete the creation of a business entity. Besides, you may want some time to start the business, but have the name available when you choose to do so. Name reservation is a useful tool that makes it all possible.

Is It Mandatory To Reserve A Name In SC?

No, the state doesn’t require you to reserve a name for your business. As noted above, it’s a good idea to reserve a name if you have something special in mind. However, if you’re not worried about name availability and don’t care much about it, there is no need to spend time and resources on a reservation.

What Is The Cost And Time Duration Of A Name Reservation?

Name reservation requests are filed with the South Carolina Secretary of State. Once the SOS accepts the name reservation, it lasts for 120 days. There is no option for renewal of reservation, so be careful when you choose to file. It’s useful to be strategic and careful with your name reservation requests.

Filing for a name reservation requires a fee of $25.

Filing A Name Reservation In South Carolina

You can file for a name reservation online or via postal mail. SC seems to favor postal mail at the moment, though that is changing with the state’s pivot shifting towards online filings. Online reservations can be made through the Business Entities Online portal. You’ll be required to create a (free) account before proceeding with the filing.

To file via postal mail, you’ll need to download and complete the required form. The  Application to Reserve a Limited Liability Company Name can be found online. Once prepared, mail two copies of the form, along with the $10 filing fee to:

Secretary of State
Attn: Corporate Filings
1205 Pendleton Street Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201

If you choose to pay the filing fee via check, it should be made in favor of “secretary of state”. Online filings are usually processed within 24 hours. Postal filings can take 2-3 days after the receipt of the document. 

Before you file for name reservation, be sure to check the state’s statutes and requirements for business names. Additionally, use the South Carolina Business Entity Search to check for name availability and to look for similar names. This due diligence can greatly increase the odds of the name reservation request being accepted.