How to use NUANS to check if a company exists. For Free!

by Keith Tripp, January 2020.

Home inspection topics are soooo boring. What’s more fun is poking into other people’s business.

Years ago I wrote about the NUANS business name search data base and how to use it for free to check if a business really exists. At that time a password was required, and the password expired every few months. This week I want back to the NUANS site. A guy had knocked at my door looking for work trimming trees, and he left me his business card. He seemed like a credible hard-working dude, so I decided to check if his company really existed under the name on the card. I will not use the real company name of the tree trimmer, but the real name was a bit hoaky, along the lines of   A Right Proper Job Tree Service.  

His business card passed my first test, which is that he had both his first and last name on it. What’s with these driveway paving company sales reps who all only have one name like Madonna? If the card says call Joe, it’s headed straight to the garbage can. He passed my second test also, which is that his business was based locally. My tests are based on beginning with the end in mind. If things go sour when you hire someone, will you be able to identify them, track them down and follow up to sue them or otherwise recover your losses?

The third test is whether the business really exist as a legal entity. Many business names floating around are not the real business name, and if you can’t connect a business with the legal entity then you are out of luck for follow up.  This is where the NUANS site comes in. No password is required, and Keith’s tips will show you how to use it for free. That’s a $13.80 per report savings. I learned how to do this years ago when I set up my own company name, and impressed my lawyer by avoiding the fee they charge for doing the same search.

The NUANS site is entitled Nuans-Corporate name and trademark search, but don’t let that fool you. All types of business names are on the register, including sole proprietorships. The purpose of the site is to avoid conflicting or duplicating names when a business is established.

Here are the steps, using my own company name.

NUANS.COM: select language of your choice: under order a report yourself, click on Order a Federal report: under Order your report there is a box to Enter proposed name of corporation.

Type in the name that you are searching.   PROVANTAGE PROPERTY INSPECTION

A screen will pop up with Exact match warning…. This is what you will see for companies that exist.

And you will see both my provincial and federal corporate listings, with status: ACTIVE:

Rank Name Jurisdiction and number Creation date (YYYY-MM-DD) Status Business activity
1 ProVantage Property Inspection Inc. CD-6728481 2007-02-28 Active

Now try with a shorter version. Click on Enter another name: and enter just the key word PROVANTAGE

Again, an EXACT match warning will pop up, and a table listing all the company containing PROVANTAGE will appear. I will show part of it here:

Rank Name Jurisdiction and number Creation date (YYYY-MM-DD) Status Business activity
1 PROVANTAGE TM-1761252 2015-12-24 Active 16
2 PROVANTAGE TM-0702790 1992-04-10 Inactive 35 , 37
3 PROVANTAGE TM-1263740 2005-07-06 Inactive 1 , 4
4 PROVANTAGE TM-1588830 2012-08-03 Active 42 , 44
5 PROVANTAGE TM-1563001 2012-02-07 Active 1 , 16
7 ProVantage Property Inspection Inc. CD-6728481 2007-02-28 Active
8 PROVANTAGE HOME SERVICES ON-210387569 2011-04-07 Active
9 PROVANTAGE HOME INSPECTION ON-191145242 2009-11-12 Active
10 PROVANTAGE TRADING INC. ON-1095714 1994-09-07 Active


If no exact match warning comes up, use the shorter word versions to check for similar names. If the name is not on this NUANS list, then they don’t exist, the company may not be registered, or is not officially operating under the name provided. If you want to do business with company, go back to them and ask for the real company name, and confirm it on NUANS.

Have fun with it, and Buyer Beware!