Part 1

Disclaimer: This blog post focuses on North Carolina law and follows the NC Secretary of State rules. We cannot speak nor advise you on what other states’ rules and policies are for limited liability companies.

*This information is taken from the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website and can be viewed here.


Starting a company can be a pretty daunting task. Researching the appropriate rules and state laws for registering as a company in your state is also very daunting. This series of blog posts will break down each step of company formation.

Certain rules to keep in mind when you are selecting a name:

  1. The name must be distinguishable and different from any other business entity’s name found on the NC Secretary of State’s website. For example, you cannot have two businesses registered in the NC SoS’s database with the name “John’s Barbershop.”
  2. The name must contain the words “limited liability company,” or the abbreviation “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “ltd. Liability Co.,” or “ltd. Liability Company.”

For example,

  • John’s Barbershop, LLC
  • John’s Barbershop, L.L.C.
  • John’s Barbershop, Limited Liability Company
  • John’s Barbershop, ltd. Liability Co.
  • John’s Barbershop, ltd. Liability Company

Always, always conduct a search to see if the name chosen is available for use. You can check the Register of Deeds office in your county for similar names listed as assumed names. Or, you can check online at the Secretary of State’s website.

What can’t I do? You cannot use these words and phrases:

-Bank, Banker and Banking

-Cooperative, Co-op



*Additionally, state or federal rules may prevent you from using certain words if you’re not licensed or sanctioned by the state agency regulating that business. For example, “MD” (as in medical doctor), “law,” “attorney,” or “lawyer,” “nurse” or “nursing,” or “cosmologist.”

The following words can be used in a LLC name if documentation provided proves that the company is legally qualified to provide the service indicated:

  • Architect, Architecture
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Engineer, Engineering
  • Insurance
  • Realtor
  • Surveyor, Survey, Surveying
  • Wholesale

*The endings of a corporate name, such as “LLC,” “Corp,” “inc,” etc., do NOT distinguish entities with the same name. For example, John’s Barbershop, LLC is not any different from John’s Barbershop, Inc.

Contact us!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me at or or call 919-335-5291.

Be sure to check out Beer Law Center and Matheson Law Office for all things NC legal.

Contact the NC Secretary of State

2 South Salisbury St.

Raleigh, NC 27601