How to Get An Assumed Business Name

When a business wants to start branding their services, they must choose a business name. The process of reserving a business name is referred to differently depending upon the state and the country. It is known as an assumed business name, a trade style, an operating as (o/a) name, a fictitious business name and a doing business as (DBA) name. This name is not the legal name of the company, nor the name reported on tax documents; however, registration of the name is required in order to conduct business or open bank accounts. Each state has a slightly different process by which you can obtain an assumed business name through a governmental agency. This article will tell you how to get an assumed business name.


  1. Image titled Get An Assumed Business Name Step 1
    Go to the United States Small Business Administration website at This website will show you where you need to register your assumed business name according to the type of business you will conduct.
  2. Image titled Get An Assumed Business Name Step 2
    Find the section that says "Register Your Fictitious or "Doing Business As" (DBA) Name." Find the correct agency according to the state chart below. Not all states require you to register a name, while others refer you to the Secretary of State, County Clerk or another government agency.
    • Your state may refer to an assumed business name in other terms, such as a fictitious business name or a DBA. Look for these terms on the site.
  3. Image titled Get An Assumed Business Name Step 3
    Review the state's requirements for a business name. In some instances, you cannot use a geographical area unless you are located there. You will not be able to duplicate your name with another business in the county or state.
    • Many states require you to file within the first month of doing business under the fictitious name. This requirement may be longer or shorter depending upon the state.
    • The state may require you to list your fictitious name in a newspaper for a period of time. This is to inform the public and prevent fraud. It also creates another public record of the change.
  4. Image titled Get An Assumed Business Name Step 4
    Find the search engine for the state's registered DBA names. This is sometimes called a "Business Entity Search." It will allow you to search for duplicate names in the state.
  5. Image titled Get An Assumed Business Name Step 5
    Fill out the appropriate registration form online or print out a paper copy. You will need to include the legal name of the business, its address, contact information, social security number or employer identification number and description of its services. The legal name depends upon the type of business.
    • The legal name of a sole proprietorship is the full legal name of the owner.
    • The legal name of a partnership is the name listed in your partnership agreement or the legal last names of the partners.
    • The legal name of a limited liability corporation (LLC) or corporation is the name that was registered in the state when the corporation was formed.
  6. Image titled Get An Assumed Business Name Step 6
    Pay a fee to register your fictitious name. This is usually approximately $20 to $30. There may be an additional $5 fee for filing or re-filing a name.
  7. Image titled Get An Assumed Business Name Step 7
    Submit the form and payment online, or print the form and send it to the address indicated on the form. Make a copy of the form and payment for your records. You may be able to expedite the processing time for an additional fee.
  8. Image titled Get An Assumed Business Name Step 8
    Wait 1 to 4 weeks to receive confirmation that your assumed business name has been registered. Save the certificate when it arrives. You will need it in order to open bank accounts.
  9. Image titled Get An Assumed Business Name Step 9
    Submit a newspaper ad to your local newspaper announcing your assumed business name, if it is required. The State of California requires that the business announce its name within 30 days of registering. It must run the ad for 4 consecutive weeks in an adjudicated newspaper.
  10. Image titled Get An Assumed Business Name Step 10
    Re-file your business name according to your state's requirements. They can range from every year to every 10 years.


  • Some services, like Legal Zoom, offer to complete an assumed business name form and file it for you. Unless your business has a number of names, it is likely to cost $50 or more to go through a service, while the filing fee is usually no more than $30 if you file it yourself.
  • Registering an assumed name does not reserve it. In order to ensure that your name is not duplicated, you must get a trademark.
  • If you are part of an LLC and you want to exclude the letters "LLC" from the end of your business name, you are required to file an assumed business name registration.

Things You'll Need

  • Social security number or employee identification number
  • Business address
  • Personal address
  • Newspaper ad
  • Printer or copier
  • Check
  • Fictitious business name

Article Info

Categories: Buying & Forming a Business