How to Register a Business Name in California
Registering your business name ensures that no other entity can use it legally. California requires partnerships, LLCs, and corporations to formally register their business name. If you are registering your business under a name other than your own, you will also have to file a DBA statement.
Check name availability.
Check with the Secretary of State.
You can fill in a form with business name ideas and submit this to the Secretary of State to check if your proposed business name is available.
Consult the business entity guidelines to make sure that your name adheres to California's standards.
See our detailed guide on California business searches.
Reserve your name.
Apply to the Secretary of State to reserve your business name until you are ready to formally register. This service costs $10.00.
Apply for an EIN
If your business will be hiring employees, you will need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for an EIN online.
The IRS only allows applications during office hours, which are Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Register your business.
File a DBA statement.
If your business is not named after yourself, you will have to file a DBA or "doing business as" statement to declare the name of your business.
The price for this application varies according to county.
Register with the Secretary of State.
File an Articles of Organization (Form LLC–1) form with the Secretary of State. States the business's chosen name on the form.
This application costs $75.00 for an LLC.
Apply for the necessary permits.
Find out which permits you need.
You can use an online portal facilitated by the Governor's Office to see if you need to apply for permits, and which ones you need.
Register for small business payroll.
Register with the Employment Development Department (EDD).
Your business needs to pay state payroll taxes in addition to federal taxes. To register, you will need an EIN, a business type, a legal name, a DBA, and a Secretary of State account number.
You can register online.
How do I register a business name in California?
To register a business name in California, you must check for availability with the Secretary of State, and file an Articles of Organization (Form LLC–1) form with the intended business name.
How much does it cost to register a business in California?
It costs $10.00 to reserve a business name, $75.00 to register an LLC, and the price for filing a DBA statement varies according to your county.
How much does it cost to set up a DBA?
The cost to set up a DBA varies according to the county. In Los Angeles County, for example, the fee is $26.00.
How long does it take to get a DBA in California?
The process to get a DBA in California can take between one and four weeks.
Is a DBA a business license?
No. A business license is required for all businesses. A DBA is applied for when a business uses a name other than the owner's name.