How to Register Your Trade Name

How to Register Your Trade Name

Your business name should reflect the business you’re in. Sometimes, you want to operate under a different name than your legal name. That’s where a trade name, also known as a “doing business as” or fictitious name, comes into play.

When Do I Need to Register a Trade Name?

If you operate your business as a sole proprietorship or partnership, then your business name is assumed to be your legal name and your partners’ names. If you want to operate your business under a name that better describes your business, you’ll have to register a DBA.

Likewise, if your company is an LLC or corporation, but you want to operate under a different name to better reflect your growing business, you’ll also have to register a trade name.

Registering a DBA allows you to operate your business under a different company name, while avoiding the hassle of legally changing your business’s name.

How to Register

To register your trade name, you’ll file through your county and/or your state’s Secretary of State’s office. While some states don’t require you to register a trade name at all, others require that you also publish information in your local newspaper notifying the public that you’ve filed a trade name.

Select your state below to find out more about specific trade name filing requirements:

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

D.C.

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming