Looking For Someone?
Use their Name, Phone Number, Email, or Address to find information.
Locating the name of the owner of a local business generally isn’t very difficult, though it can take a little bit of legwork. If you find yourself wanting to, or needing to, find ownership information then several steps should be taken that will get you the answer the overwhelming majority of the time.
The first step to finding the official owner or owners of a business is to look at public records. Local LLCs and other small business types must register with the state which means basic ownership information will be on the Secretary of State’s website.
This includes the owner or owners of each business.
If you type in “business entity search” in Google, chances are very good that Google will give you your state’s Secretary of State website.
If this doesn’t get the answer, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a valuable source of information because it maintains records on millions of businesses and can provide you with detailed information about the ownership structure of any specific company upon request.
Throughout this blog post, I’ll talk about these options and also discuss a few quick and simple methods for tracking down the owner of a small business when these common tactics fail.
Table of Contents
Is Business Owner Information Considered Public?
Generally speaking, business owner information is considered to be a public record. Since this is public information it shouldn’t be too surprising that all the information you need will normally come up with a simple bit of investigation or a basic information request.
There are times when this might not be the case, such as if a company is created for dba (“Doing Business As”) purposes or multiple LLCs are basically created as shell companies to try to hide who the real owners are.
This is very uncommon, especially for a small business, but it is something that you might potentially run into and explain why it’s hard to find immediate information on who owns a business.
Companies doing business in the United States need to have some contact information for tax purposes and government regulation.
If this address leads to a law office or PO Box, you might have more work ahead of you to find information on the actual owners who control the business but even then there are often ways to find good information.
Is There a Database For All Business Owners?
Several different databases collect business contact information. Some of the most well-known include Hoovers and Manta, which specialize in collecting in-depth business information and keeping it fully updated.
DMDatabases and Dataman Group Direct are other examples of services that gather this information and allow not only name search but also advanced search options to find the information you’re looking for.
While these can be great resources, keep in mind that most of the time you won’t need these resources as your Secretary of State’s website will almost certainly have the information you’re looking for in most cases.
It’s also very possible that you would be paying a lot of money from these services for information that they get from these very same public resources.
7 Methods for How to Find Any Business Owner’s Name
If you’re looking for the names and identifying information surrounding a business owner you should:
- Look up the business on the state Secretary of State office
- Look at a business’s website (especially “About Us” page)
- Call the business and ask
- Look up WhoIs information on the company’s website
- Investigate the company’s social media
- Check for Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports
- Check any local licensing or regulatory agencies
- Search various databases of registered businesses
I’ll go over each strategy further in-depth below, but this will get you the owner name of almost any small business, especially if it’s the owner of an LLC, which most small businesses are.
Let’s dive into each of these methods in more detail.
How To Find The Owner Of a Business?
Call The Business
Most of the time a business isn’t trying to hide. This is especially true if it’s a small town restaurant, startup, or otherwise a local company of some kind. In these situations finding out who the owner is can be as easy as just contacting them and asking.
Keep in mind that depending on the type of business, or how you go about asking for the information, the response can vary from warm and helpful to cold and suspicious. Many new business owners get slammed with ads and spam within days of starting a new LLC.
However, this still remains a great way to make contact and the business may be very happy to talk to you, especially if you can get local media coverage or help them in some way.
If you are still unable to obtain a response from the company itself, several other options are available to you.
Check Out the Company’s Website
As long as the company is trying to hide who owns the business, why not check out the website? An About Us page will often tell a company’s entire story including who founded the company, the current owners, if it’s a family business, and sometimes even if the business has changed hands.
This might be labeled as “About Us,” “Our Company,” “Our History,” or worded slightly differently, but just look for any page that has this kind of a label. This is almost always one of the fastest ways to know who owns a particular business.
If you want to be thorough, you will still want to take the name of the business and check it against the Secretary of State’s public records to make sure they match.
That said, this is one of the fastest ways to get that information.
If the website doesn’t have an “About Us” or anything similar on the tab, then try conducting a Google search for the company’s name plus words like “ownership” or “management” added to see if the page exists, but isn’t linked to.
This can be a great way to quickly get ownership information.
Do a WhoIs Domain Lookup
Using the WhoIs Domain Lookup service can show who owns the domain name a website is built on, assuming privacy hasn’t been purchased.
While it’s not always the case that the business owner will be the domain owner, most of the time that will be the case for a small business. It at least gives a point of contact to find out more.
To do a WhoIs database lookup:
- Go to Whois Domain Lookup
- Enter the company domain name into the input box
- The registration information comes up, including name and address if the individual did not purchase additional privacy
While this can be a clever way to find the domain name’s registrant and the owner of the company’s website address, it’s not going to work if privacy is attached.
Dig Through Social Media Accounts
Searching through a company’s social media accounts is another excellent way to look for the name of the business owner. Since these accounts are often directly owned by the company’s founders, their information can be found in the public profile section of the social media account.
Social media often includes the name and contact information of the company’s owner. If there isn’t an obvious way to find this info in the profile or through posts on the account itself, then it’s also worth performing a Google search for the company name followed by the word “contact.”
Depending on the company, this should bring up either their website or an email address that you can use to get in touch with them. Compare this to social media to make sure it’s the right company and not a different one with the same name.
Some businesses also list the names of their owners on their websites, so you might want to look for them as well if you can.
Check Better Business Bureau (BBB) Reports
By checking the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports, you can get detailed information that often includes ownership information and how to contact them in a detailed report.
On this organization’s website, you can look up a company’s public profile online and view a lot of information the BBB has on it, which again often includes contact information for its owner(s).
Not all businesses are listed here, but this is still a resource that you should at least check out when searching for company ownership information.
Check Out the Chamber of Commerce
Your local Chamber of Commerce is going to have public records of any local companies since it’s a requirement for companies to register in areas where they are doing business.
You can check a company’s business registration with the state and often find out who owns a company locally.
These records are often available online, but in some cases, you might have to visit a local courthouse in person to learn more.
Contact Local Business Licensing or Regulatory Agency
It’s often possible to get in touch with your local business licensing or regulatory agency. You will have to know where a business is located, but that should be easy information to have when you’re looking up ownership.
In addition, if the owner is not listed, the regulator may be able to provide you with guidance on how to proceed. Some organizations may even maintain an online database of information about business ownership.
These business directories are most common in larger cities and might be available on a government website depending on the state where the business is located and operates.
Search State Databases of Registered Businesses
State databases are another resource to use if you need to know who owns a business. The most common in each state are the previously mentioned ones with the Chamber of Commerce or Secretary of State, but there might be other registries kept by the state that have this information.
Search around for the public resources each state provides. When you find a good registry the process is pretty simple from that point. You simply enter the business name and wait to see what comes up.
If the company is registered in that particular state, the database will provide you with the name and contact information of the owner of the company.
These can be especially useful when a company is doing business in one state but incorporated as an LLC in Delaware or Nevada for tax purposes. In those cases when an LLC does business in one state but is registered in another, sometimes it takes a bit more work to track down the actual ownership.
You can also look for additional information through online directories such as Hoovers or Dun & Bradstreet. These websites provide lists of businesses organized by industry, allowing you to find ones in your area easily.
How To Find All Companies Owned By a Person
Looking For Someone?
Use their Name, Phone Number, Email, or Address to find information.
This can be a challenge depending on how many businesses a person owns, what type of business they run, and how active each business is – but there are a few ways to do this.
LinkedIn is a great resource. Since you’re working from a name first, this is a great option. Another is looking for that person’s personal website and seeing which businesses they mention both currently and in the past.
This not only helps you find what companies they currently own but can also help you determine if a business that shut down in the past or changed names was owned by them. Looking for these sites via multiple search engine queries is a great way to gather this information and then connect the dots.
If you’re trying to figure out if a person is the owner of a specific LLC use Google and type “company name + person name owner” to see if any results come back connecting all of those on one page.
How To Find Out Who Owns a Restaurant
This is usually fair easy. If the restaurant is local, the owner is likely working or any of the managers there can tell you who the actual owner is.
This is why the most obvious method is to approach the manager or other team members. While it’s still possible that they will not know the answer, they will almost always be able to point you in the right direction.
Another option is to conduct an online search for the company. Most restaurants are going to have a website that has an “About” page that includes the owner’s name and contact information.
Wrapping Up How to Find an LLC Owner
The seven methods covered in this article give you the tools, strategies, and options you need to locate the owner of a business. This is pretty basic information about the business that should be easy to find, but sometimes you need to go a little bit further to find the best information.
If you use these strategies and have even basic information about the business you should have little trouble finding the ownership information unless you have literally come across a shell company or series of them.
Even then, these strategies will help you start unraveling the ownership setup to understand if something strange or unusual is going on.
A little bit of research goes a long way with the strategies offered here. Wishing you the best of luck!