A DBA—also known as a “doing business as”—serves as a fictitious or alternate name for your business. Basically, when you register a DBA in Florida, you can run the business under a name which varies from its legal name. Want to learn more about DBAs in general? Check out our DBA resource page or reach out to one of our PRIME advisors for a free consultation

Register a DBA in Florida

Creating a DBA for your Florida business only takes a few steps.

Learn How to Register a DBA in Florida yourself in three steps. 

Register a DBA in Florida Step 1: Search for a Florida Fictitious Name (DBA)

In order to obtain a fictitious name, it must meet the standards of Florida’s business name requirements. 

The best way to start is to visit the Sunbiz Florida Fictitious Name Search and research if your desired name is available.

After finding out if your desired name is available, make sure your name meets the Florida naming requirements. The state’s fictitious naming laws say you should NOT include:

  • Business entity suffixs, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp, etc., unless the business fits these legal requirements
  • Financial institution terms such as “bank,” “banc,” “banco,” “banque,” “banker, “trust company”…etc. A full list of ineligible terms can be found on the Sunbiz Florida Fictitious Name Search

If your desired DBA name is available, secure the web domain, also known as a URL. . This can make sure other people do not take your desired site name. 

Register a DBA in Florida—An Example

For example, let’s say your name is Mike and you have a killer banana bread recipe. Your friends and family have been encouraging you to set up shop and sell your sweet treats online, and you’re ready to take the plunge. Since you’re a small, one-man shop, you don’t think it’s necessary to incorporate, but you do want some legal protection to separate your personal assets from your company’s, so you decide to set up an LLC

You want to name your business “Mike’s Banana Bread,” but you find out that there is already another Mike selling banana bread under that exact name. Under the Florida DBA regulations, you obviously can’t call your business Mike’s Banana Bread, but what about making a small change? Let’s take a look at each name proposal and discuss the applicable rules.

Which Names Would Pass the Florida DBA Regulations?

  • MIKE’S BANANA BREAD: Florida DBA regulations would not permit this name for your new business, as changes in capitalization or punctuation do not change the fact that this name is deceptively similar to the existing business name. 
  • Mike’s Banana Bread Company: This DBA name would not be acceptable to the Florida Secretary of State because it is too similar. The rules explicitly state that adding the word “Company” or “Co” to an existing name is deceptively similar. 
  • Mike’s Banana Bread and Treats: This name would most likely be approved when filing your FloridaDBA paperwork. By adding the words “and Treats” to your name, you’ve effectively distinguished your business from the existing business. 
  • Banana Bread by Mike: This name would also be likely to be approved in the state of Florida

If you need help with naming your business, you may want to check various domain platforms or social media sites to reserve specific handles. We can assist you through this process with a free consultation call

Register a DBA in Florida Step 2: Tell People About Your Fictitious Name

The next step in securing your DBA is to publish a “legal notice of intent to file a fictitious name” in a local newspaper prior to your fictitious name registration. The note must be shared in a newspaper whose audience spans the county of the desired location of the business. 

The “legal notice of intent to file a fictitious name” must state:

“NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the undersigned, desiring to engage in business under the fictitious name of [Your DBA Name Here] intends to register the said name with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, Tallahassee FL and/or Clerk of the Circuit Court of [County], FL. [Your Company Name, Address, City State, Zip Code].”

Some of the newspaper’s requirements include:

  • The publication’s words must be written 25% in English.
  • The publication circulates at least once a week.
  • The publication must be available at the post office in the county where it’s circulated and it should be widely available and of public interest
  • The publication must exist for 1+ year(s).

There may be some exceptions if the county does not have a newspaper or if the paper is published only online. These rules can be found in Chapter 50 of the Florida statutes.

Proof of Publication

After confirming publication, you must agree to the following statement in the Florida Application for Registration of Fictitious Name form:

“I further certify that the intention to register the fictitious name to be registered has been advertised at least once in a newspaper as defined in chapter 50, Florida Statutes…I understand that the signature below shall have the same legal effect as if made under oath and I am aware that false information submitted in a document to the Department of State constitutes a third-degree felony as provided for in s.817.155, F.S.”

For additional aid in this process, schedule a free consultation with one of our PRIME advisors. 

Register a DBA in Florida Step 3: File A Florida DBA Application

The DBA form can be filed online or through the mail with the Secretary of State. This action can be handled through the SunBiz Fictitious Name Portal or can be completed through the Application for Registration of Fictitious Name.

Make sure to review all of the sections thoroughly in order to properly fill out all of the steps. 

As a reminder, filing for a DBA does not provide legal protection for personal assets. You would need to set up a protective business entity structure like an LLC or Corporation if you would like to separate your personal assets from your business.

Manage Your Florida DBA

For any general questions, you can call the Florida Secretary of State at (850) 245-6059. 

Renew Your Fictitious Name

Every five years, your Florida DBA  should be renewed by December 31st. You can renew your fictitious name through the Sunbiz DBA Portal or by mailing the Application for Renewal of Fictitious Name. Mail the completed form to the address below:

Fictitious Name Renewal

Division of Corporations

P.O. Box 6327

Tallahassee, FL 32314

Change Your Fictitious Name

To make changes to your DBA, you can complete only Section 4 of the Registration of a Fictitious Name. Make sure to mail the form to this address:

Fictitious Name Registration

P.O. Box 6327

Tallahassee, FL 32314

Withdraw Your Fictitious Name

To withdraw your fictitious name, complete Section 4 of the Registration of a Fictitious Name form. You should Include a new address if the current business address is no longer valid. Mail this form to:

Fictitious Name Registration

P.O. Box 6327

Tallahassee, FL 32314

After Filing Your Florida DBA

After filing for a DBA, take these steps to help you get started:

Create a Business URL- Build your business’s site through easy-builders such as Wix. Having a website is crucial for reaching your target audience. 

Create a Business Bank Account- Opening a business bank account is necessary for protecting your personal assets. In addition, you can sign up for a business credit card.

Obtain Business Insurance – Having business insurance prepares your business for the worst possible scenario. Most businesses begin by using general liability insurance.

Register a DBA in Florida FAQ

Is there a limit on how many Florida DBAs I can have?

No, you can file for as many as you can pay for/obtain. 

 Does a DBA require an EIN or Tax ID?

They are not required for DBAs, since they aren’t a business entity. The appropriate business entity which the DBA falls under would receive the EIN.

How can a DBA become an LLC?

Technically speaking, a DBA cannot become an LLC because they are two different types of terms. A DBA is a label, while an LLC is a business structure for a business. Filing a DBA simply allows you to operate your business under a different name. If you want to structure your business as an LLC, that is a separate filing and setup process. PRIME advisors can help with either of those tasks—reach out for a free consult, or check out our guide to forming a Florida LLC for more info.

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