You can find information on each state’s Secretary of State page and other resources such as LinkedIn. Read on to learn tips and tricks for looking up an LLC owner.
What Is an LLC?
A Limited Liability Corporation, or LLC, protects individual owners from creditors, which could include suppliers, customers and shareholders. Liability is limited to the holdings of the LLC, but personal assets are protected. This form of business allows for pass-through taxation of a sole proprietorship or partnership, accompanied by the limited liability that corporations enjoy.
There a number of benefits of this type of business, but it also comes with a considerable challenge.
- Protects owners
- Easy to create
- Flexible tax options
- Harder to raise capital
- Often not ideal for start-ups seeking investors
Who Needs to Look Up LLC Owners?
Someone might need to look up the owner of an LLC under the following conditions:
- If you want to hire a company to work on your home, finding the owner helps you determine whether the company is trustworthy.
- If you lease commercial space to an LLC, finding out who owns it helps you check their credit and credibility.
- For vendors selling to an LLC seeking trade credit, the owner’s creditworthiness is of utmost importance.
- If you purchased a defective product, finding the owner’s name may help you get a faster resolution.
What Are Articles of Organization?
The articles of organization (or formation or incorporation) establish an LLC. For best results, you can find out which state the LLC originally started in. The articles of organization include the name of the owner or owners.
These documents are part of the public record. Determine the actual name of the business and the state where it originally registered. LLCs have to register in every state where they operate, so it may take some searching if you don’t know where the business started.
Some companies use fictitious names or do business as an alias. So, the name you know may not be the official name of the business. You also cannot assume that a company started in the state in which you live. It can be a time-consuming process to search the records of different states. However, it may be worth your time if you’re planning to spend a lot of time and money going into business with an LLC.
Despite the challenges, state databases are the best place to look up an LLC owner. You can learn valuable information besides the name of the owner, including:
- Entity formation and registration
- Status, usually active (good) or inactive (not so good)
- LLC’s registered agent (usually the person or entity that owns the LLC)
- Articles of organization
You can also make a written request for information on the LLC you are interested in. There is typically a nominal fee for the search.
List of Secretary of State Sites
When looking up LLCs to find the business owner on the state Secretary of State site, be aware that not all state sites are set up the same way. You can also submit a request for a company’s articles of incorporation, which list the officers.
Below, find links to each state’s main SOS site where you can look up an LLC registered in the state. If you can’t find the owner because the business uses a fictitious name, you may have to get a little more creative in your search.
- Alabama Secretary of State
- State of Alaska
- Arizona Secretary of State
- Arkansas Secretary of State
- California Secretary of State
- Colorado Secretary of State
- Connecticut Secretary of State
- State of Delaware
- District of Columbia Office of the Secretary
- Florida Department of State
- Georgia Secretary of State
- State of Hawaii
- Idaho Secretary of State Business
- Illinois Secretary of State
- Indiana Secretary of State
- Iowa Secretary of State
- Kansas Secretary of State
- Kentucky Secretary of State
- Louisiana Secretary of State
- Maine Secretary of State
- Maryland Secretary of State
- Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth
- Michigan Secretary of State
- Minnesota Secretary of State
- Mississippi Secretary of State
- Missouri Secretary of State
- Montana Secretary of State
- Nebraska Secretary of State
- Nevada Secretary of State
- New Hampshire Secretary of State
- New Jersey Department of State
- New Mexico Secretary of State
- New York Department of State
- North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State
- North Dakota Secretary of State
- Ohio Secretary of State
- Oklahoma Secretary of State
- Oregon Secretary of State
- Pennsylvania Department of State
- Puerto Rico Departamento de Estado
- Rhode Island Secretary of State
- South Carolina Secretary of State
- South Dakota Secretary of State
- Tennessee Secretary of State
- Texas Secretary of State
- Utah Secretary of State
- Vermont Secretary of State
- Commonwealth of Virginia
- Washington Secretary of State
- West Virginia Secretary of State
- Wisconsin Secretary of State
- Wyoming Secretary of State
Where Else Can You Find an LLC Owner?
Sometimes, it’s not easy to look up an LLC owner. The laws in many states don’t require disclosure of that information. Here are some other places that you can try.
The Business’s Website
Go to the business website for the LLC and look for an “About Us” page. Many businesses also have personnel directories that will help you identify the owner of the LLC. Other resources include a contact form and phone number that you can use to get in touch with someone who can provide the information for you.
Dun & Bradstreet and other firms collect data about businesses and may be able to provide the information for a fee. You can also try LinkedIn and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Even though personal pages may be configured for privacy settings, business pages are typically public.
Some LLCs may be affiliated with trade organizations such as the American Dental Association, The American Bar Association and other industry-specific trade groups. Many trade associations have public directories that will help you find information about the owner of the LLC.
With a little ingenuity, you can look up an LLC owner and contact them. If you have a legal issue that needs to be addressed, you may wish to hire an attorney to represent you. Most reputable owners will be more than happy to redress your issue to maintain a happy client or professional relationship.