Finding a business owner?
December 21, 2012 1:09 PM   Subscribe

How do we find who owns a specific business in a city?
posted by lloubee to Law & Government (7 answers total)
Have you tried simply calling the business and saying, "May I have the owner's name and contact info + INSERT REASON WHY"?
posted by HeyAllie at 1:15 PM on December 21, 2012

Assuming you can't just ask, you could start by looking up the company with the Secretary of State to find out the name of the registered agent. You might not find out who actually owns the company, but it's a step in the right direction.
posted by doomtop at 1:17 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well, in Toronto we have this handy Licensing Status Application search website.

"This website allows you to search licence information for licensed businesses in Toronto except for personal licences (licences without a place of business or business vehicle.) You'll see the business owner's name, but there is no other personal information, such as home address or telephone number provided in the search results. "

Depends on the business you'd like to know about, but maybe your city has one?
posted by peagood at 2:05 PM on December 21, 2012

Check your state's Corporation Division. here is Oregon's site Then it's just an easy search to find out the registered agent's name (who may be the owner or may be an attorney who handled the paperwork) and address.

(and in Oregon you can look at the corporations documents so that might be helpful too if your state has that as well.)
posted by vespabelle at 2:12 PM on December 21, 2012

2nding check the state's corporate division. Also, be aware that some companies have "Joe Smith Plumbing" on their sign but registered as "13494 Corp" or some other unrelated name so you may have to dig a bit.

Assuming you're asking for a private company:

If they have a website check their domain registration. For smaller companies, the biz owner is usually the domain owner too.

Try and see if you can find linkage on that business to the owner.

For US/Canada , spend $ and order a credit report from Dun & Bradstreet or Experian. DnB used to be very complete with their info but as I know there are errors in the report for the company I work for (minor stuff but it bugs) that have never been corrected despite numerous requests. . . well. I wouldn't believe everything in a DnB or Experian report but they should have some basic info including the ownership. I don't think I've seen a report on a private company that didn't have ownership info - even larger corporations usually have a line like "100% of the company owned by the officers" and at least 1 officer's name (usually the CEO or president)

You could also try Googling the name of the business and seeing if anything pops up in the local news like "Mary Smith, owner of Joe Smith Plumbing, reported xxx on June 2010"
posted by jaimystery at 6:16 PM on December 21, 2012

In most states, the state corporation division has this information online, for both corporations and LLCs.

If the business is a sole proprietorship, or a partnership, there may be an assumed name registration, either at the state level or the county level.
posted by yclipse at 7:30 PM on December 21, 2012

All are helpful suggestions. Thanks. Enjoy the holidays!
posted by lloubee at 12:04 PM on December 22, 2012

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