Find a business' name and address

To sue a business in small claims court, you need to know their official business name and their address.

The address will be entered on the small claims forms you file to open a case and someone will deliver the filed forms to the business (called serve) at this address.

Write down the name and address when you find it. You'll need this information for the forms you file when you start a court case.

How to find the information you need

  • Check county records for business and owner name

    You will want to check the county clerk/recorder's office where the business is to find out the business owner’s name. You will be looking up Fictitious Business Name (FBN) records. The records will show that the business could be owned by a person or another type of business.

  • Check County Assessors, Auditors, Clerks of the Board, and Tax Collectors

    They can search the property tax rolls for you. The tax rolls list the names and addresses of property owners in the county by both owner name and address of the property. You can search the records online.

  • Check city clerk's office, tax assessor, and permit division 

    It keeps a list of the names and addresses of most people licensed to do business in a city.

Check California Secretary of State

Do a business search for a corporation, LP, or LLC. 

You'll need the name and address of their Agent for Service of Process

Once you find the listing for the business, look for the Agent for Service of Process. This is who officially accepts legal papers for the business. Write down this name and address as you'll need it later to put on forms to start a small claims case.

To do business in California, Corporations, LLCs, and LPs must register an Agent for Service of Process with the Secretary of State. If they don't, or the information is out of date, you can ask the court to serve your forms through the Secretary of State. Contact your court's Small Claims Advisor to find out how to do this. Corporations can also be served by serving an officer of the company. 


If you only know the phone number:

  • Look up telephone and reverse directories. The address will not show up in the reverse directory if the phone number is unlisted.
  • Try using a search engine like Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo to search the phone number. You may get the address you are looking for.

A business can use a trade name or other business name

You may end up having to check multiple places to get all the names of the businesses. 


    An apartment complex could be called Willow Park Apartments.

    • When you check with the county clerk/recorder's office you find Willow Park Apartments is owned by ABC Corporation. The records also show that ABC filed a fictitious business name statement to do business under the name Willow Park Apartments. This may also be called a dba, which stands for doing business as.
    • Then you look up ABC Corporation on the Secretary of State's website to find out who the agent for service of process is. You'll need that information when it's time to serve your lawsuit.


    On your forms, you would write: ABC Corporation, DBA Willow Park Apartment

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Ask your Small Claims Advisor if you need help with this. 

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