If you want to do business with a company, you want to confirm the owner’s identity and trustworthiness, especially if a lot of money is at stake. You’d also need to know their name if you’re a rival business, a debt collector, or a lawyer.
If you work with a property management firm, you’d want to know the name of the owner. These firms frequently own numerous properties, and each one has its own respective business. You want to research the business to make sure the owner has a good reputation.
Many businesses have to dig for company contacts to generate marketing leads. Business owners contact each other to cooperate on joint projects or initiatives.
Start with public records
The public state records needed to find and maintain a company are a good place to start. You can then move to contact the business directly and use other tools to explore alternative public records. These tools can be quite helpful when you’re searching for people online.
Companies submit articles of association and other public filings with a state agency, usually the office of the Secretary of State. Business databases are easy to search for names as the documents on file require the names of members to be listed. The business owner will be listed as a member.
To perform a search, visit your state’s Secretary of State’s website and look for the category “Business” in the menus. The name is formulated differently. It might be “Business Entity,” “Search Business,” or “Corporation.” In Florida and a few other states, “Corporation” is an umbrella term for all business entities, including non-incorporated ones.
Search for the name of the business
When you find and click on the respective tab, you’ll be taken to a search bar or a few of them with advanced search options. Enter the name of the company and access the state documents. You’ll probably find them under “Filing History.” They will include the articles, reports, and any amendments. Look for the most recent information. It might include changes to membership.
The person or people with the title “member” is the owner of the business. On the other hand, you might find a “manager” or a “registered agent.” This person could be the owner but doesn’t have to be.
Make a call
There’s a chance the business owner’s name is far easier to find than you imagine. Look up the company phone number in an online phone directory and make a call. Cold calls don’t always work, but if you’re polite and respectful, you might appease the gatekeeper.
Submit an information request
Secretary of State websites usually allow users to submit an information request. It might be called “Information about Public Records” or something similar. It’s possible to make a request online in most states. You may need to wait a few weeks for a reply, but it’s likely the reply will indicate the business owner’s name.
You might get more limited information depending on what state you’re in. Nevada, Washington, and some other states charge copying fees. You might ask to see the records in person to avoid paying them.
Check the company’s website
If you don’t get far through the Secretary of State’s office, you might find the owner’s name on the company’s “About Us” page. Some businesses use officer titles, making it hard to tell who owns the business and who manages it and supervises its operations. If you get a name, you might get more details from the individual’s LinkedIn profile or any social media platforms the business uses.
Most companies with social media accounts use them to interact with current and potential clients. Explore Facebook, Instagram, etc. Search engines can provide access to listings complete with contact details, email addresses, etc.
Search for reviews on Facebook that mention the name of the owner or if they replied to a comment. Try the Timeline and Graph Search options if a standard search yields nothing.
Look for a deed
If the business has sold property or borrowed money, you might find a deed or a deed of trust. Those documents are usually public-record, and they can be found through the county recorder. Maybe your county doesn’t publish this data online, but that’s not a problem. You can go down to the office in person and ask to see a copy of the property records.
Look for a representative’s signature when you get access to the records. Below it, there’s normally a name and a title. If they are illegible, check the notary’s note.