Registering a business name online has never been easier. There are companies to help you every step of the way. Find out if your business name is available, why you should register it, how much it costs to register a business name, and how you can get this done for free – you only pay compulsory State fees. 

Have you brainstormed and come up with a business name yet? If not, read THIS article, which takes you through the process of coming up with unique business names.

Today we’re covering:

  1. Making sure your business name is available
  2. Why you should register your business name (and when you don’t have to)
  3. How much it costs to register a business name
  4. A short description of the business structures you can choose from
  5. How to quickly and easily register your business name online

If you don’t want to do all this yourself, get help from the professionals who will do all of the above for you for free – you will need to have a business name for them to get started.

There’s lots to cover today, so let’s get cracking…

Get the resources mentioned in this post

-> Check that your business name is available, register it & get advice on the best business structure from Incfile

-> Register a domain name and get an SSL certificate with Namecheap

Making sure your business name is available

If you’ve searched the web and found a business name you like without a website, you may want to take it as your official business name. Use the following box to search for available domains before you choose your business name:

Find a domain starting at $0.88

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It’s best to get an expert to make sure your business name is available to legally register. Why? Because this can be tricky…

As a rule of thumb, you can use another company’s business name if that company isn’t registered in your State. But you may need to stop using the name if someone has been using the name for longer than you and takes legal action to stop you. This is why it’s better to register your own business name and protect it.

If a company has a national or international trademark, you must stay away from that business name and any similar names that might confuse customers into thinking you are that company. You might consider getting a trademark for your business if you don’t want other people to use the name or variations of it.

Why should you register your business name?

Registering a business name is a process where you legally take ownership of that business name. In the process, you decide which type of business structure you want (we’ll cover the business structures a little later).

Don’t worry – there are companies like Incfile that can give you advice and that will do the business name registration for you for free, you just need to pay the State costs for the registration. Each State has its own fees.

Here are some of the best reasons why you should register your business name:

– It is often a legal obligation to register your business (including the United States). This is to protect consumers who will interact with your business.

– On the topic of customers, most people are more confident and willing to deal with businesses that are legally registered.

– Registering helps stop others from using your business name.  After spending time and money on building your brand, you don’t want someone else swooping in and using your business name to make money or ruin your reputation. It’s easier to protect a registered name than it is to prove the history of a business name without legal documents.

– There are tax benefits for registered businesses, especially for a limited liability corporation (LLC) or an incorporated business (INC).

When you don’t have to register a business name

You don’t have to register a business name if you want to use your personal name as your business name.

How much does it cost to register a business name?

Each business structure is formed by registering with the local State. And each State has its own fees for registration depending on the type of business you are registering (see the next section of this post where we talk about the types of businesses you can choose from).

It’s impossible to give every fee here, but you can click HERE to see all the fees for each type of business. Just fill in the type of business (Entity Type) and the State you will operate in (State of Formation) to get the latest State fees for registering a business name and entity.

Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

To give you an idea, here are some State fees for registering an LLC business name in 2020:

– The State of Texas will charge you $300 to register an LLC in 2020.

– The State of Florida will charge you $125 to register an LLC in 2020.

– The State of California will charge you $75 to register an LLC in 2020.

– The State of Ohio will charge you $99 to register an LLC in 2020.

The business structures you can choose from

There are 4 main types of business structures. Here is a short description of each type.

Remember that it’s best to get advice from a professional on which business entity to register for tax benefits and legal protection

1. Limited Liability Company (LLC)

This is a popular business entity and is best for small companies and startups. Because they’re simple to run, and fast and easy to set up, an LLC might be a good option for you.

There are fewer rules and other business entities, and an LLC is formed and regulated at State level.

2. Subchapter or Small Business Corporation (S Corp)

These types of business entities are formed and regulated at State level, too, just like LLCs, but this type of business is more complex than an LLC. S Corps must comply with more rules and legalities than an LLC.

The liability of owners and investors are kept separate from the company. There is some protection in that owners/investors do not automatically take full personal responsibility for all debts, claims etc. against the company.

3. C Corporation or incorporated business (INC)

A C Corp is regulated on State level and is formed by filing Articles of Incorporation. Different States have different rules for C Corps.

C Corps must issue stocks, appoint a board of directors and hold annual general meetings (AGMs).

A C Corp is the most formal business entity with limited liability for its owners and investors. Owners are those who own stocks in the corporation.

4. Nonprofit Organization / Corporation

A nonprofit donates profits to a cause for public benefit. They are allowed to make a profit, but the money must be used to run and expand the organization.

As with a C Corp, nonprofits are formed by filing Articles of Incorporation with the State where it will run. This forms a legal business that gives it the same rights as for-profit corporations.

Most nonprofits are formed for tax benefits. If filed correctly (another reason I say get a professional to do this for you), nonprofts do not pay property, federal or sales tax. They do pay payroll tax and tax on anything they do that isn’t related to their main cause.

How to register a business name

The quickest and easiest way to register your business is through a company that specializes in this, such as Incfile. In fact, Incfile will give you the following for free in any package you choose – you only pay the State fee for registering your business!

Help with registering a business name

Honestly, why would you choose to struggle through this yourself?

FAQs about registering a business name

How do you get a business name?

Do a business name search to see if and where a business name is registered. You can also search the uspto.gov website for trademark registrations. If your desired business name is available, then contact an agent to register it for you in your State or register it with your local State agency.

Why do you need to register a business name?

Registering a business name protects your name from others using it. It also makes customers feel more comfortable doing business with you. Registering a business includes registering a business entity, so you can decide how to run your business for tax benefits and legal liabilities.

How much does it cost to register a business name?

Each State has its own fees for registering a business. Fees also depend on what type of entity you are registering. For example, it costs around $300 in Texas but only $75 in California to register an LLC business name in 2020. LLCs are the most popular business entity.

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Conclusion

It’s a good idea to register a business name. This not only protects you legally, giving you tax and liability benefits, but it makes customers feel more comfortable working with you as you are a legal entity recognized by the State.

When registering a business name, make sure the name is available in your State and that there are no international registrations or trademarks for that name.

You can choose between an LLC, S Corp, C Corp or nonprofit business entity. Each entity has to follow certain rules and regulations, and each entity has its own structure. An LLC is the easiest to form and run, and it’s the most popular business type.

Click HERE to get advice on all of the above and get your paperwork processed in 1 business day for free (just pay compulsory State registration fees) from the reputable business registration agency Incfile.

Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

There’s absolutely no reason to struggle through registering a business name by yourself 😊

How to register a business name for free

From Texas to Ohio, find out how to register a business name and company

What is costs to register a business name based on the state you live in and the type of company

How to check to see if your business name is available for registration

In this series, you'll find the full checklist to start a business - including how to register your business name