How To Register A Business Name In The USA. A Complete Guide

Depending on the business type, you also may legally be required to register your business. A unique business entity name is required for legal and tax purposes. Here are the simple process of registering your business name.

Looking at how to register a business name in the USA? If you have just started a business or already operating a business under your own legal name you must register it. You can protect your business name by forming specific corporate companies, establishing an assumed name, or registering a trademark. After you’ve decided on a business name for your new firm, you’ll want to register it so that no one else can use it. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.

Whether you want to register a business name, conduct a business entity name search, a domain name search, and a federal trademark search you must ensure that your name is unique. After that, you can reserve a name, organize an LLC or Corporation with it, register a DBA, or submit an amendment to your company’s legal name, depending on your needs.

Several considerations, like the business structure, the geographic area in which the firm will operate, and the level of protection required, will be considered in determining the best option to register a business name online.

Here is the complete guide on how to register a company in the USA online. So, let’s get started!

Before we start, here are the top LLC filing companies you can choose:

Steps On How To Register A Business Name In The USA

There are the following steps that help you to register a business name in the USA and make it easier to start a business. Check the following steps below:

STEP 1: Ensure The Name Is Unique

The first and foremost step in registering a new business name is to ensure that it is unique in nature, which means that no one else in your state has created or reserved a corporation with that name. It is very easy to get it done by searching the following ways:

  • Business Name Search: Here, you need to conduct an LLC name search and it is one of the most crucial step as when you try to file a name which is already taken there is a chance that your filing can be rejected. Moreover, search results can vary according to your business needs.Specially, a unique business name is required for filing formal business structures like LLCs and corporations, filing a name reservation for an LLC, filing a DBA for an existing business. Whereas, some informal business structures like general partnerships doesn’t require any state-level name search.
  • Domain Name Search: Another recommended search is Domain Name Search where you have to check whether your business name is available as a web domain URL or not. It is necessary to prevent others from acquiring a particular web address.
  • Federal Trademark Search: In the next step, use the US Trademark Electronic Search System to see if your name has already been trademarked by someone else. Once you’ve verified that the name you want is available, you can register for a trademark for your company, however the cost can be expensive for a startup or small corporation.
  • Web Search: Lastly, when carrying out a research, it’s a good idea to see what else comes up when searching for your possible business name on sites such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others. It will reveal who else will be on these platforms, whether they have a significant web profile, and how hard it will be to compete with them while you grow your brand.
Note: Don’t forget to have a look at whether your unique name is used by any other organization You may do this by looking up terms relating to your business and brand in a search engine. To make yourself stand out, you might choose a unique business name.

STEP 2: Determine Your Company’s Naming Requirements

After choosing a unique business name, the next step is to determine what should you do with that. This actually differs based on your chosen business structure. It is really important to choose the best business model for your new venture as with different business structures you will get different benefits. The manner your business is set up, operated, and taxed is determined by its structure, which can be formal or informal.

Here are the following naming needs for different business structures:

  • Limited Liability Companies (LLCs): An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is the most straightforward approach to protect your personal assets in the event that your company is accused. LLCs must have unique names that conform to certain naming guidelines such as the phrase “limited liability corporation” or one of its abbreviations must be in your name (LLC or L.L.C.), your LLC’s name cannot contain any words that could be mistaken for a government agency, for bank, university you may require some additional paperwork.
  • Common LLC Name Scenarios: Whether you’re already in company or starting a new LLC will determine what you need to do with your LLC’s name. Before you register an LLC, you can check our guide on how to form an LLC.
  • Corporarations: A corporation is an independent organisation from its owners, having shareholders, executives, directors, and employees as its fundamental operating structure. Your personal assets will be secured by a C corp corporate structure. Corporations must have a distinct name and must comply to particular naming rules, such as you must have one of these terms company, corporation, incorporated, your name must be different from any existing business in your state, a corporation must not include words with a government agency for example FBI, State Department,etc.

Also, read our guide on Delaware C-Corp Vs LLC: Which Is Good And Why?

  • Sole Proprietorship: Sole Proprietorship is the most basic sort of business. This non-registered business entity that does not provide individual financial protection and does not require state registration. Another important matter is the owner’s surname must be used for this business structure. The business owner must apply for a DBA in order to utilise a different name.
  • General Partnership: General partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships in that they are limited liability companies.On the other hand, a Partnership is made up of two or more people. Whereas, a general partnership is a non-formal business structure that does not protect your financial property. The surnames of the partners must be included in general partnerships. Business owners should register for a DBA (Doing Business As), often known as an assumed identity, in order to use a different identity.

Also Read, How to Get An EIN As A Foreign Entity

STEP 3: Register The Business Name

After getting a unique business name, and then you have to follow the instructions such as filing a name reservation, forming an LLC, forming a corporation, filing a DBA for an existing business, submit an amendment to the legal name of an entity.

  • Name Reservation: In most states, a name reservation is not required to start a new business or file for a DBA. But, there are advantages to registering a name reservation, such as if you come up with a unique name for your company in case you don’t want to create your LLC right away. 
Note: Keep in mind, the procedures to reserve a business name may vary from state to state.
  • Form An LLC: The process of registering a business name is part of the LLC registration process where your name is registered once your LLC is filed with the state. While it is possible to reserve a name ahead of time, it is usually not necessary when forming an LLC. Also read, How To Form An LLC In Texas
  • Form A Corporation: The process of registering a business name is similar to that of forming a corporation. After your firm is formed, your name is registered. While it is possible to reserve a name beforehand so, it is not usually essential to file. The process of forming a corporation is simple, and requires a few steps such as you have to name your corporation, choose a registered agent, choose your corporation’s initial directors and share structure, file the formation documents, finally get an EIN.
  • File A DBA: Filing a DBA (Doing Business As) form permits your new or existing business to operate under a different name than its legal identity. It can be important for setting a brand name or changing a company’s name without filing an amendment to the original filing. All of the business formations discussed in this article can register a DBA; but, in some states, filing for LLCs and corporations differs from registering for sole proprietors and partnership firms. Read more about what is employer’s identification number?

Check how much does it cost to register your business name.

Final Takeaway

As per the above discussion, it is clear that registration must be done in each state where the business operates.

The method you chose to organize your company, the type of services you offer, and the regional range of your business operations will all go into determining the best approach, or ways, to protect your business name and register it. In case you are looking for how to register a business name for free then you must note that fees vary by state.

For many smaller companies that only run in one state, forming a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) may be adequate protection. Are you ready to register your business name in the USA? Or still, have questions? Feel free to leave your comments below. I will be happy to answer you all!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How much does it cost to register a business name in the UK?

It generally costs £12 and can be paid with a debit or credit card. In most cases, your firm will be registered within 24 hours. You must register by mail if you do not want to use the word “limited” in your company name.

2. How do I register my company name?

Always ensure that your business name is unique and available.
1. Determine the naming requirements for your company
2. Register your company’s name
3. Make a reservation for a name
4. Create a limited liability company (LLC).
5. Create a business entity.
6. Existing businesses should file a DBA.
7. Make a change to the legal name of a company.

3. Can I register a business name for free?

No, filing fees are required for registering a business name, incorporating a business with one, obtaining a DBA, and amending a business name.

4. Does LLC have to be in a business name?

A limited liability company must have some kind of “limited liability company” in its legal name if it is founded as an LLC. “LLC,” “LLC,” or “l.l.c.” are examples of abbreviations.

5. How do I register my business name online?

First, go to your e-citizen account and log in. Choose a business registration provider based on the name of the company. Request a reservation of the company name. Don’t forget to send 3 names and you will receive a confirmation of the approval within 24 hours. Fill in the required information, including the proprietor’s information and the business’s physical address.

6. What documents are needed to register a business?

The following documents are required as verified copies of the applicant’s identification documents or passports, certified copies of the Directors’ and Incorporators’ identity documents or passports, and the name confirmation certificate.

7. How long does it take to get the business name registered?

The procedure of registering a business name takes about 3 days on average. You must apply for a PIN certificate after registering your business name.

8. What’s the next step after registering a company?

After you’ve registered your business, there are five stages you can take:
1. Fill out a VAT registration form
2. Open a bank account for your business
3. Keep your financial records up to date
4. You should be aware of the tax regulations that must be followed
5. Get your company online

9. How do you legally name a business?

To legally change a company’s name, you’ll need to register a new company with the chosen name, file a DBA, or change the company’s legal name.

10. Is it important to register a business?

Despite the fact that every firm today needs a brand name, business registration is required for the creation of a brand name. Because one of a company’s most valuable assets is its brand identification, you must first register your business.

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