Getting a fictitious name, also known as DBA (“doing as business”), can open doors to branding and marketing opportunities. How to get a fictitious business name in Florida is not as complicated as you may think if you follow the essential steps we are going to provide you in this article.

How Do I Know If I Need To Get A Fictitious Business Name In Florida?

If you intend to use a fictitious name for your business in Florida, it is mandatory to register this name with the Division of Corporations under the Florida Department of State. 

To determine whether you require a fictitious name, your attention should be directed towards two key aspects:

Business Categories 

A fictitious business name refers to any name used to conduct business operations. There are various reasons why one might opt for a name distinct from their legal business name. Listed below are some cases considering the type of business structure you have:

  • Sole proprietorships: the legal business name is typically the owner’s name. However, conducting business solely under one’s personal name may not be ideal. Using a business name can project a more professional image, and you may also wish to safeguard your privacy.
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLC): Owners of LLCs and corporations frequently opt for a fictitious name when they intent to introduce new products or services under a different name. 

Personal Asset Protection

While registering a DBA has its benefits, it is important to note that a DBA does not offer protection for personal assets. If you are the owner of an LLC or corporation, you probably enjoy personal asset protection, meaning that assets such as your home and car are shielded in the event of legal action against the business related to debts or obligations. Nevertheless, as a sole proprietor, you are exposed to the risk of losing your personal assets in a lawsuit directed at you business because obtaining a fictitious name does not grant sole proprietors liability protection. Therefore, it is advisable to explore the option of establishing a distinct business entity.

How To Get A Fictitious Business Name In Florida?

The process of obtaining a fictitious name in Florida involves four steps. 

Step 1: Perform a Name Investigation

Prior to proceeding with the registration of a trade name with the Florida Department of State, it is essential to conduct a thorough name investigation to ensure that the name you intent to utilize for your business is not already taken. Here is how you can go about it:

  • State Business Records Search: Use the Fictious Name Search Tool available on the Sunbiz website. This tool allows you to search for business names based on owner names or fictitious names.
  • Trademark Database Check: Access the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to identify names that have already been trademarked.
  • Compliance with Name Restrictions: In Florida, you cannot incorporate a business entity designation such as “LLC”,“Inc.”,”Corp” into you DBA name unless your business is indeed of that type. Additionally, terms like “bank”, “banker”, “trust company”, “credit union”, or “savings bank” are off-limits unless your operation qualifies as a financial institution.

Step 2: Issue a Legal Notification in a Newspaper

In Florida, it is mandatory to issue a legal notice in a newspaper in the county where your primary business location is situated, announcing your intent to register a trade name before the process can proceed. This notification must be published at least once. Be prepared to allocate a minimum of $30 for the publishment. After the notice has been published, you should be able to obtain a certification from the newspaper, serving as evidence that you have complied with the requirement.

Step 3: Officially Register Your Florida Fictious Business Name

After completing the two steps already described, you can register your fictious business name with the Florida Department of State. The registration can be completed either online or by mail.

To register online, access the Florida Fictitious Name Registration portal. You will have to submit the following details:

  • The chosen fictitious name.
  • Your name as the owner.
  • The business’ mailing address.
  • The primary location of your business.
  • The Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For those opting for registration by mail, complete the Application for Registration of Fictitious Name Form and mail it to the following address: Fictitious Name Registration, PO Box 6327, Tallahassee, FL 32314-1300. Make sure to carefully verify the spelling and details of the name. 

The fee for registering a Florida fictitious name is $50. Optionally, you can request a certificate of status for an additional fee of $10. This certificate serves as proof of your fictitious name’s registration and payment of all related fees up to a specific date. The payment can be made by check, money order, or credit card. 

Step 3: Manage Your Fictitious Business Name In Florida

Here are the key methods for managing your fictious business name registration after you successfully completed the process:

Renewal: DBA names have a validity period of five years, and you must renew it by December 31st every five years thereafter. 

Withdrawal: To cancel your DBA, use the Application for Registration of Fictitious Name form and complete Section 4 only.

Change of Name or Ownership: use the Application for Registration of Fictitious Name form and complete Sections 1-4.

Get a Fictitious Business Name in Florida With Jurado & Associates, P. A.

Obtaining a fictitious business name is not complex, but it does require a portion of your time to complete. To help you with the process, consider working with one of our skilled attorneys. You can call us at (305) 921-0976, email us at [email protected], or reach us via WhatsApp at +1 (305) 921-0976.