How to Do a Michigan Business Entity Search & Start Your Search Here

How to Do a Michigan Business Entity Search & Start Your Search Here

How To Do a Michigan Business Entity Search

How To Do a Michigan Business Entity Search

Embarking on the journey of entrepreneurship or simply checking the status of a competitor in Michigan? Conducting a business entity search is an essential step, whether you’re forming a new company or monitoring market movements. This search can provide you with crucial information about any business registered in the state, such as its legal standing, compliance status, and more. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to navigate the Michigan business entity search to gather insights or ensure your business decisions are well-informed.

Visit the Official State Website

Start by visiting the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) website. LARA holds the comprehensive database of every business and corporation registered in Michigan.

Access the Business Entity Search Tool

Once on the LARA website, locate the ‘Business Entity Search’ section. This tool is designed to help you find detailed information about any business entity registered in Michigan.

Enter the Business Name

In the search field, enter the name of the business you’re investigating. Be as specific as possible to narrow down the results. If you’re unsure about the exact name, you can use a keyword or partial name to broaden the search scope.

Review the Search Results

After submitting the name, the search tool will display a list of businesses that match your query. This list includes details such as the entity’s name, ID number, and status. Click on the name of a specific business to view more detailed information.

Analyze the Business Information

On the business’s detail page, you can view further information such as the registered agent, business address, filing history, and current standing with the state. This information is crucial for assessing the business’s compliance and operational status.

Download or Request Additional Documents

If you need more detailed information or official documents, such as articles of incorporation or annual reports, these can typically be requested or downloaded from the website. There may be a fee associated with obtaining certified documents.

Continuous Monitoring (Optional)

For ongoing engagements or competitive analysis, consider setting up alerts or regularly revisiting the LARA site to keep track of any changes or updates in the business status.

Our Business Name Checker

When you’re on the brink of registering your business, one of the initial and crucial steps is ensuring your desired business name isn’t already taken. This is where our Business Name Checker comes into play—a user-friendly tool designed to streamline the process of checking the availability of your chosen business name in Michigan.

What is the Business Name Checker?

What is the Business Name Checker?

Our Business Name Checker is a specialized online tool integrated with Michigan’s business registration database. It’s crafted to give potential business owners peace of mind by quickly confirming whether a business name is available for use. Here’s how it can help you in your business registration journey:

Easy Access from Anywhere

Accessible directly through our website, this tool is designed with simplicity in mind. Whether you’re at home or on the go, you can perform a quick search from any device connected to the internet.

Instant Results

Enter the name you have in mind in the search bar of our Business Name Checker. With just a click, the tool searches through Michigan’s state business records to check for any matches. Within seconds, you’ll know whether your preferred name is available or if it’s already in use.

Guidance on Name Selection

If your desired name is unavailable, don’t fret! Our tool provides suggestions for close alternatives. This feature is especially helpful in sparking new ideas or slight modifications to your original choice, ensuring you find a unique and compliant name for your business.

Seamless Transition to Registration

Once you find an available name, you can easily move forward with the registration process. Our Business Name Checker is directly linked to the Michigan business registration portal, allowing you to start the registration process immediately after confirming your business name’s availability.

Save and Track Your Favorites

Planning but not ready to register? Our tool allows you to save and manage a list of potential business names. You can revisit and refine your choices anytime, ensuring that when you’re ready to make a decision, your preferred names are at your fingertips.

Comprehensive Support

Should you encounter any issues or have questions during your search, our dedicated support team is ready to assist. We provide guidance on not just name availability but also on trademark implications and legal considerations, making sure that your chosen name stands on solid ground.

Our Business Name Checker isn’t just a tool; it’s your first partner in the journey of establishing your business identity in Michigan. With this tool, you’re well on your way to securing a name that not only defines your brand but also complies with state regulations.

How to Start a Business in Michigan

Starting a business in Michigan is an exciting venture, filled with opportunities and potential for growth. However, navigating the process requires careful planning and adherence to specific steps to ensure your business is compliant and set up for success. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you start your business in Michigan.

Choose Your Business Structure

The first step is to decide on the legal structure of your business. Common structures include sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC). Each type has its own legal and tax implications:

  • Sole Proprietorship: Simple to set up and operate, but the owner is personally liable for all business debts and obligations.
  • Partnership: Involves two or more people sharing ownership and responsibilities. Partnerships can be general or limited.
  • Corporation: A more complex structure that offers liability protection to its owners (shareholders) but comes with more regulations and requirements.
  • LLC: Combines the benefits of a corporation’s liability protection with the flexibility and tax advantages of a partnership.

Register Your Business Name

Once you’ve chosen a business structure, you need to register your business name. Use our Business Name Checker to ensure the name you want is available. After confirming the availability, register the name with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

Obtain an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is essential for tax purposes and is required if you plan to hire employees. You can apply for an EIN through the IRS website, and it’s a straightforward process that can be completed online.

Register for State Taxes

Depending on your business type and activities, you may need to register for various state taxes. This includes sales tax, use tax, and withholding tax for employees. Registration is done through the Michigan Department of Treasury.

Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

Certain businesses require specific licenses and permits to operate legally. The requirements vary based on your business type and location. Check with local city or county offices, as well as state agencies, to determine what permits and licenses you need.

Open a Business Bank Account

Separating your personal and business finances is crucial for managing your business effectively. Open a business bank account to handle all your business transactions. This will help in maintaining clear financial records and simplifying tax filing.

Set Up Accounting and Record-Keeping

Implement a robust accounting system to track your income and expenses. Proper record-keeping is essential for tax purposes and for monitoring the financial health of your business. Consider using accounting software or hiring a professional accountant.

Understand Employer Responsibilities

If you plan to hire employees, familiarize yourself with the legal requirements for employers in Michigan. This includes complying with labor laws, workers’ compensation insurance, and unemployment insurance.

Market Your Business

Develop a marketing strategy to promote your business. Utilize various marketing channels such as social media, email marketing, and local advertising. Building an online presence through a professional website is also essential.

Stay Compliant

Ensure that you stay compliant with all state and federal regulations. This includes filing annual reports, renewing licenses and permits, and keeping up with tax obligations. Regularly review compliance requirements to avoid penalties.

Starting a business in Michigan involves multiple steps, but each one is crucial to laying a strong foundation for your venture. By following this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the process and launch a successful business in the Great Lakes State.

Find Out Who Owns a Business In Michigan

Whether you’re a potential investor, a curious competitor, or a customer seeking transparency, discovering the ownership of a business can provide valuable insights. In Michigan, the process to find out who owns a business is straightforward and can be done through various resources. Here’s how you can uncover the ownership details of a business in Michigan.

Utilize the LARA Business Entity Search

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) maintains a comprehensive database of all businesses registered in the state. By using the Business Entity Search tool on the LARA website, you can access detailed information about a business, including its owners.

  1. Go to the LARA Website: Navigate to the LARA business search page.
  2. Enter the Business Name: Input the name of the business you’re interested in.
  3. Review the Search Results: The search will yield a list of businesses matching your query. Select the relevant business to view detailed information.

Check the Annual Reports

Businesses in Michigan are required to file annual reports with LARA. These reports often contain information about the business’s principals and owners.

  1. Access Filed Documents: On the business’s detail page within the LARA database, look for links to filed documents.
  2. View Annual Reports: Download and review the most recent annual reports to find the names of the business owners.

Explore Business Filings

In addition to annual reports, other business filings such as Articles of Incorporation or Organization documents can provide ownership information. These documents are also accessible through the LARA website.

  1. Navigate to Business Filings: On the business’s detail page, look for additional filings and documents.
  2. Identify Ownership Details: Review these filings to identify the business’s registered owners and key stakeholders.

Use Third-Party Business Information Services

Several third-party services compile business data and can provide comprehensive reports on business ownership. Websites like Dun & Bradstreet or Bloomberg offer detailed business profiles that include ownership information.

  1. Visit Third-Party Websites: Access services like Dun & Bradstreet.
  2. Search for the Business: Enter the business name and review the available reports.
  3. Purchase Detailed Reports: For in-depth information, you may need to purchase a detailed report from these services.

Contact the Business Directly

Sometimes the simplest approach is to contact the business directly. Reaching out via email or phone can provide direct answers, especially if you explain the reason for your inquiry.

  1. Find Contact Information: Look up the business’s contact details on their website or through a directory.
  2. Make an Inquiry: Call or send an email requesting information about the business ownership.

Check Local County Records

Local county clerk offices maintain public records that can include business registrations and ownership details. Visiting or contacting the local county clerk’s office where the business is registered can provide additional information.

  1. Identify the County: Determine the county in which the business is registered.
  2. Visit the County Clerk’s Office: Either visit in person or contact the office to request information about the business.

How Do I Verify a Business In Michigan

Verifying a business in Michigan is a critical step for consumers, investors, and other businesses to ensure legitimacy and trustworthiness. Whether you’re entering into a partnership, making a significant purchase, or considering an investment, it’s essential to confirm that the business is properly registered and in good standing. Here’s a guide on how to verify a business in Michigan.

Access the LARA Business Entity Search

The first step in verifying a business is to use the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Business Entity Search tool. This online resource is a reliable way to check the official registration status of any business in Michigan.

  1. Visit the LARA Website: Go to the LARA business search page.
  2. Enter the Business Name or ID: Input the name or business ID of the company you wish to verify.
  3. Review the Search Results: Select the business from the list of results to view detailed information about its registration and status.

Check the Business Status

Once you have located the business in the LARA database, verify its status. The status will indicate whether the business is active, inactive, dissolved, or in good standing with the state.

  1. Look for Status Indicators: On the business’s detail page, find the status section to see if the business is active and compliant.
  2. Verify Compliance: Ensure the business has filed all necessary reports and is up-to-date with any state requirements.

Review Business Filings and Documents

Business filings such as Articles of Incorporation, annual reports, and other documents provide insight into the legitimacy and operational history of the business. These documents can be accessed directly through the LARA website.

  1. Access Filed Documents: On the business detail page, navigate to the section with filed documents.
  2. Examine Key Filings: Review documents like Articles of Incorporation and annual reports for additional verification.

Verify Licenses and Permits

Certain businesses require specific licenses and permits to operate legally in Michigan. Verify that the business holds the necessary licenses by checking with the relevant state or local agencies.

  1. Identify Required Licenses: Determine which licenses and permits the business should have based on its industry.
  2. Check Licensing Agencies: Contact the appropriate licensing bodies to verify the business’s licenses.

Use Third-Party Verification Services

There are several third-party services that offer business verification and background checks. These services compile information from various sources to provide a comprehensive report on the business.

  1. Access Verification Services: Use services like Dun & Bradstreet or Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  2. Request Verification Reports: Obtain detailed reports that confirm the business’s legitimacy and standing.

Directly Contact the Business

Sometimes, the most straightforward way to verify a business is to contact them directly. Ask for proof of registration and any other relevant documentation that confirms their legitimacy.

  1. Find Contact Information: Locate the business’s contact details on their website or through a directory.
  2. Request Verification: Call or send an email asking for proof of their registration and compliance status.

Consult Legal or Business Advisors

For added assurance, consider consulting with a legal advisor or business consultant who can assist with the verification process. They can provide professional insight and ensure all necessary checks are thoroughly conducted.

  1. Engage Professional Services: Hire a lawyer or business consultant with experience in business verification.
  2. Conduct Comprehensive Checks: Have them perform a detailed verification to ensure the business meets all legal and regulatory standards.

More About Individual Business Entities

More About Individual Business Entities

Understanding the nuances of individual business entities is crucial for anyone looking to start, manage, or invest in a business in Michigan. Each type of business entity has its own set of characteristics, advantages, and regulatory requirements. Here’s a closer look at the common types of business entities in Michigan and what sets them apart.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most common form of business entity. It is owned and operated by one individual, and there is no distinction between the business and the owner.

  • Advantages: Easy to set up, minimal regulatory requirements, full control over business decisions.
  • Disadvantages: Unlimited personal liability for business debts and obligations, difficulty in raising capital, limited lifespan tied to the owner.
  • Registration: Typically requires registering a “Doing Business As” (DBA) name with the county clerk.


A partnership involves two or more people who agree to share the profits and losses of a business. Partnerships can be general or limited.

  • General Partnership: All partners share equal responsibility for the business’s debts and operations.
    • Advantages: Easy to establish, shared decision-making and resources, potential for greater capital.
    • Disadvantages: Unlimited liability for all partners, potential for disputes, shared profits.
  • Limited Partnership (LP): Includes both general and limited partners, where limited partners have restricted liability based on their investment.
    • Advantages: Liability protection for limited partners, shared resources and expertise.
    • Disadvantages: More complex to establish, general partners have unlimited liability.


A corporation is a legal entity separate from its owners, offering liability protection to its shareholders.

  • Advantages: Limited liability for shareholders, easier to raise capital through stock sales, perpetual existence.
  • Disadvantages: More complex and costly to set up and maintain, subject to double taxation (corporate and personal taxes on dividends), extensive record-keeping and regulatory requirements.
  • Types of Corporations: Includes C corporations, S corporations, and nonprofit corporations, each with specific regulations and tax implications.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC combines the benefits of a corporation’s liability protection with the tax advantages and operational flexibility of a partnership.

  • Advantages: Limited liability for owners (members), flexible management structure, pass-through taxation (profits taxed at the individual level).
  • Disadvantages: Can be more complex to set up than a sole proprietorship or partnership, potential for higher formation costs and state fees.
  • Formation: Requires filing Articles of Organization with the state and creating an Operating Agreement.

Nonprofit Organization

A nonprofit organization is established for charitable, educational, religious, or other activities that serve the public interest. Profits are not distributed to owners but are reinvested in the organization’s mission.

  • Advantages: Tax-exempt status, eligibility for grants and public funding, limited liability for directors and officers.
  • Disadvantages: Strict regulatory requirements and oversight, restrictions on political activities, complex setup and ongoing compliance.


A cooperative is a business owned and operated for the benefit of its members, who use its services.

  • Advantages: Member-owned and controlled, profits distributed among members, democratic decision-making process.
  • Disadvantages: Can be challenging to raise capital, potential for slower decision-making processes, requires active member participation.
  • Examples: Includes agricultural cooperatives, credit unions, and utility cooperatives.


Conducting a Michigan business entity search is a fundamental step for entrepreneurs and investors alike. From understanding the search process on LARA’s website, utilizing our Business Name Checker, and learning the steps to start and verify a business in Michigan, this guide provides comprehensive insights. We also explored the details of different business entities to help you make informed decisions. By following these steps, you can confidently navigate the business landscape in Michigan.


Visit the LARA website, use the Business Entity Search tool, and enter the business name or ID.

You can find the business status, registered agent, address, and filing history.

No, the tool is free to use on the LARA website.

Use our Business Name Checker to search for name availability before registration.

You can form sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, LLCs, nonprofits, and cooperatives.

You can apply for an EIN through the IRS website online.

It depends on your business type and location; check with local and state agencies for requirements.