If you own a business in Michigan and choose to operate it under a different name, i.e. not your own name, you will need to file a DBA on either the county or state level. This is an easy process that requires a simple application form.

How to Register a Business Name in Michigan

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How to Register a Business Name in Michigan

A step-by-step guide to registering a business name in Michigan.

1. 
1.1 

Search the state database.

Search the state database.

Michigan requires all businesses to register a unique name if they are not operating under the business owner's name. You will need to search the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to ensure that your name isn't already taken.

1.2 

Search local databases.

Search local databases.

You will also need to conduct a name availability search on the county level. This can be done through your local county clerk's office, many of which, such as Ottawa County, Oakland County, and Macomb County, have online access to their name databases.

2. 

Get the right paperwork.

2.1 

Assumed name registration.

Assumed name registration.

Businesses with one or more owners can file an assumed name registration. With this type of registration, changes to the business cannot be made without written consent from all of the owners.

3. 

Register with your local county.

3.1 

Fill out the appropriate form.

Fill out the appropriate form.

You can get either the assumed name or co-partnership name registration form from your local county office, either in person, through the mail, or online.

Common information required on these forms include:

  • The name being registered.
  • The name and address of the owner.
  • The county or state that the business was organized in.
  • A description of what the business does.

Businesses with one or more owners can file an assumed name registration. With this type of registration, changes to the business cannot be made without written consent from all of the owners.

Businesses with two or more owners can file a co-partnership name registration. Only one owner will be required to sign this type of registration and any future changes can be made by any of the owners.

3.2 

Have the form notarized.

Have the form notarized.

Before filing the form, you will need to have it notarized. You can have this done at your local county clerk's office or with a notary public at no additional cost.

3.3 

File the form with the filing fee.

File the form with the filing fee.

You will need to file a registration form in each county that you want to operate your business in. Filing fees differ by county, but generally sole proprietorships and partnerships cost about $10 per county.

4. 

Register with the state.

4.1 

Fill out the form.

Fill out the form.

Michigan requires Corporations, Limited Partnerships, and LLCs to fill out a Certificate of Assumed Name form which is available from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Common information required on this form includes:

  • The name of the business entity.
  • The name and address of the filer.
  • Identification number.
  • The assumed name.
4.2 

File the form with the filing fee.

File the form with the filing fee.

You can submit the form through the mail or in person. Filing fees for Corporations and Limited Partnerships generally cost about $10 while the fees for Limited Liability Companies can cost about $25.

Mail forms to Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs; Corporations, Securities, & Commercial Licensing Bureau; Corporations Division; P.O. Box 30054; Lansing, MI 48909.

Submit forms in person at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs; 2501 Woodlake Circle, Okemos, MI 48864.

5. 

Protect your business name.

5.1 

Consider trademarking your business name.

Consider trademarking your business name.

Registering your business name in Michigan will ensure that no other business in Michigan can use your business name. However, this will not prevent businesses in other states from operating under your name. To legally prevent others from using your name, slogan, or logo, you should consider filing a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Trademark applications can cost anywhere from $225 to $400 per class, depending on how the trademark is filed.

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FAQs:

How much is it to register a business name in Michigan?

Filing fees for sole proprietorships and partnerships differ by county, but generally cost about $10 per county. Filing fees for Corporations and Limited Partnerships generally cost about $10 while the fees for Limited Liability Companies can cost about $25.

How do I register a business name in Michigan?

  1. Perform a name availability search.
  2. Get the right paperwork.
  3. Register with your local county.
  4. Register with the state.

Is my business name available in Michigan?

To determine if your business name is available in Michigan, perform a name availability search with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to view business names on the state level. On the county level, perform a name availability search through the local county clerk's office where your business operates. This can be done at the clerk's office or online.

What is LARA in Michigan?

LARA stands for Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and is the name of the department that handles business licenses and regulations. You can use the LARA website to search for registered businesses, verify a license, and check your licensing requirements, among other activities.

How long does a DBA registration last in Michigan?

DBAs are approved for 5 years following the year in which the registration was filed and expires on December 31 of the 5th year. A renewal notice will be mailed to business owners 90 days before the DBA expires.

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