Are you looking for a unique business name? If so, consider filing a Florida DBA (doing business as) that allows you to operate under a name that’s different from your legal name. In this article, we’ll walk you through the simple 3 step process of doing so. Let’s get started.
Important! Please keep in mind that DBA is not a business structure, so it won’t protect you from liabilities, lawsuits, or any other unforeseen situations. DBA stands for Doing Business As. – often precedes the name under which a business operates, which is not the legal name of the business.
To register or renew the trademark, trade name, or service mark for your company in Florida you need to file the application to the Secretary of State. Here is what you need to do:
Florida Business Entity Search
Your company’s trade name should be unique and have not been acquired by any other entity in Florida. Moreover, this name must also meet the business name requirements of Florida.
First, visit the Sunbiz Florida Fictitious Name Search to know whether the name that you wish to have for your business has already been taken by someone or not. Here, make sure, this name isn’t already in use.
Note: You can also find a complete guide on business name search here.
Once you are done searching, the next step is to review the naming requirements of the state of Florida. Your DBA should not include:
- Bank, banco, banker, banking, banc, banque, credit union, savings association, deposit, savings and loan association, savings bank, credit union, trust, thrift, trust company, etc.
- Business entity suffix, such as Incorporated, LLC, Corp, etc., unless the business is actually a corporation, or LLC,etc.
Use Your Florida Fictitious Name
Before your fictitious name is registered, the state of Florida requires you must publish a “legal notice of intent to file a DBA” in a newspaper. You need to publish this notice once in a newspaper that circulates in the county of the principal location of the business.
The basic requirements for the newspaper are stated below:
- 25% of the publication’s words must be written in English.
- The notice must be published at least once.
- The publication must be should be available and interesting to the public
- The notice must be admissible as a periodical in the post office in the county where it is published.
- Please refer to see Chapter 50 of the Florida statutes if publishing the notice in a county without a newspaper or publishing online .
- The publication must have been in existence for at least 1 year.
The “legal notice of intent to file a DBA” must include:
- Your intended Business Name,
- Your Company Name,
- Your Company Address,
- City and State name with Zip Code
- Registering body eg: Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, Tallahassee FL and/or Clerk of the Circuit Court of [County name], FL.
Note: Do not register your fictitious name in Florida without publishing first.
Proof of Publication
When you sign the Florida DBA form, you are attesting that you have provided the correct information and made the publication notice for your intended business name at least once as defined in Chapter 50 of the Florida statutes.
Register Your Florida DBA ($50)
Florida trade names are filed with the Secretary of State. You can file Florida Fictitious Name online using SunBiz Fictitious Name Portal or you can complete the Application for Registration of DBA and mail to the following address.
Fictitious Name Registration
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314.
Division of Corporations
2661 Executive Center Circle
Tallahassee, FL 32301.
The following information must include in the Florida trade name form:
- Your business name and adress
- Owners/partners of the business and addresses
- Entity type (eg; LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation)
- Trade name’s description
- Publication confirmation
- Date formed
Renew, Change, or Withdraw Your Florida DBA
Renew Your Fictitious Name With the State
After the fifth year of our Florida DBA registration, it needs to be renewed by December 31st, and the renewal process is to be repeated every five years. Florida Sunbiz DBA Portal allows you to renew your DBA online. You can also mail the Application for Renewal of Fictitious Name to the address below:
Fictitious Name Renewal,
Division of Corporations,
P.O. Box 6327,
Tallahassee, FL 32314.
Rerigister or Change Your Fictitious Name
If you wish to make changes in the already existing DBA, complete only Section 4 of the Fictitious Name Registration form. To re-register the fictitious name or list the new owner, complete sections 1 through 3. Mail the completed form to the address below:
Fictitious Name Registration,
P.O. Box 6327,
Tallahassee, FL 32314.
Withdraw Your Fictitious Name
To cancel or withdraw your fictitious name, complete only Section 4 of the Registration of a Fictitious Name form. You must update the address if the business address on file is no longer valid. Mail the completed form to the address stated in the above section.
Filing a Florida fictitious business name, aka a Florida DBA (doing business as), is an easy and straightforward process. If you want to save time and effort, LLC filing companies like LegalZoom and ZenBusiness can help you get that at a fraction of the cost.
However, if you are interested in DIY, you just need to follow the above-mentioned step-by-step guide or see how to Get a DBA in any of the 50 states.
Aisha Noreen is a Marketing strategist and content planner with more than 9 years of experience in the industry. With the wisdom of an old soul, she always seeks innovation and mind-blowing ROI techniques. Her unique approach helped many small businesses thrive and she can surprise you in many ways as well. Believe it or not, her energy, passion, and creativity are contagious enough to transform your business and take it to another level.