A DBA can allow business owners to use a different name instead of their business or legal name. This can serve as an easy way for your business to operate under another name.

Although starting a DBA takes four steps in Florida, there are a few things you should know. You have the option of completing the fictitious name registration form in two ways, and there are other requirements. Here are the four steps to start a DBA in Florida.

What is a DBA?

A DBA is an acronym meaning “doing business as.” DBAs differ from a business owner’s personal name for sole proprietorships. It’s also different from your business entity’s legal name for other business entities.

In Florida, DBAs are also known as fictitious names.

Which business entities register for a DBA in Florida?

If you’re planning to form a corporation, LLC, or limited partnership, fictitious name registration isn’t required in Florida. Other business entities, such as sole proprietorships, can register for a DBA in Florida. 

How to start a DBA in Florida

There are four steps to start a DBA in Florida. 

Step 1: Check Name Availability

The first step to start a DBA in Florida is to check your business name availability. Your business name must be available and unique, and there are certain abbreviations and words you can’t use. 

You can search for your business name online through the Sunbiz database. 

Finding a unique brand name and (normal-looking) domain to go with it can be a bit of a time-sink for new business owners. This free tool from Business Name Zone generates name and domain combos for you based on your input – and it only takes a few minutes.

Step 2: Legal Notice Advertisement

Second, there’s a legal notice requirement to consider as you start your DBA. Chapter 50 Florida statutes require business owners to publish their business names. 

You’ll use your business name in a newspaper advertisement at least once in the county where your business is located. 

Step 3: Complete Fictitious Name form

The third step to start a DBA in Florida is to complete the fictitious name form. You have the option to complete the Fictitious Name Registration form by mail or online.  

The form comprises multiple sections and requires the following information: 

  • Your fictitious name
  • Your business mailing address
  • Florida County of Principal Place of Business
  • Your EIN
  • Email
  • Owner information
  • Signature

First, you’ll enter only one fictitious name on the form. There are naming requirements for fictitious names, which are important to keep in mind. 

Second, you’ll enter your business mailing address. Florida allows flexibility in the mailing address you use for your fictitious name registration:

  • It doesn’t need to be in Florida.
  • It doesn’t need to be the same as the principal place of business. 
  • It may be updated for free if it will change in the future.

Third, you’ll provide your Florida County of Principal Place of Business. For this step, you’ll select the county where your principal place of business is located. If your business is located in more than one county, you’ll select “Multiple.”

Fourth, you’ll provide your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). For this step, it’s important not to enter a Social Security Number. 

Fifth, you’ll enter a valid e-mail address. This is the address the Divisions of Corporations will use for communication. If you’re filing online, you’ll receive e-mails about your fictitious name registration and certifications, if requested. 

Sixth, you’ll provide owner information. For this step, you’ll list up to 5 owners and verify their information. If there are more than five owners, you’ll need additional instructions from the Division of Corporations.

Owners can be a business entity or an individual. If an owner is a business entity, it must be active and registered. If the entity isn’t active and registered with the Division of Corporations, you’ll provide documentation. 

If the owner is a business entity, you’ll:

  • Enter the document number assigned by the Division of Corporations for each entity listed.
  • Enter the mailing address for each entity listed.
  • Enter the FEIN for each business entity, or select “Applied For” or “Not Applicable.” 

If the owner is an individual, you’ll list up to five owners’ names and enter their mailing addresses.

Finally, one owner will provide their signature. If a business entity is filing for a fictitious name, an authorized individual can sign on the business’s behalf. If you’re filing online, you’ll type the individual’s name and title.

You can request a Certificate of Status for your fictitious name form, which certifies your fictitious name registration. A Certificate of Status also verifies the entity paid its fees through a certain date. A Certificate of Status is optional in Florida.

You can also request a Certified Copy for your fictitious name form. A Certified Copy includes a filed stamped copy of your fictitious name registration. 

This will indicate your copy is a true copy and the correct copy the Division of Corporation has. A Certified Copy is optional in Florida.

Step 4: Submit the Form

The final step to start a DBA in Florida is to submit the form. You’ll submit the form with a valid form of payment. 

How much does a DBA cost in Florida?

There are three fees you’ll pay to have a DBA name in Florida:

  • The first fee is $50.00 to complete a Registration of Fictitious Name.  
  • The second fee is $30.00 for a Certified Copy of Fictitious Name Registration. This fee is optional.
  • The third fee is $10.00 for a Certificate of Status of Fictitious Name Registration. This fee is optional.

How long will it take to receive a DBA in Florida?

The exact time it will take to receive your DBA in Florida will depend on a few factors. 

You have the option of receiving your fictitious name registration by mail, which can take a longer time to receive. It may take a shorter time to receive a DBA if you complete some of the steps online. 

How long are DBA registrations valid in Florida?

DBA registrations are valid for five years after you apply. It expires on December 31st of the fifth year. You have the option to renew your fictitious name by mail or online through Sunbiz.

Let Us Help You Start Your DBA in Florida

Starting a DBA in Florida can help several business entities and their owners. The process is convenient, and several business entities can apply for a DBA in Florida.

When it’s time to start your DBA in Florida, be sure to work with experienced professionals. Work with the professionals at 1-800Accountant to start your DBA in Florida.

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Written by Susan Young

Susan Young is a Tax Accountant and 1-800Accountant Specialist. She's worked with the company for over 5 years and takes pride in helping he...