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How Much Does It Cost to Register a Business Name

Updated: March 28, 2023
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The cost to register a business name varies per state, but in California, reserving a business name costs $10 and $70 for articles of incorporation with an LLC. Also, it costs $100 for general stock corporation articles. This means that business owners must understand how much it costs to register a business name. As a business owner, you might assign your company's physical assets—such as your machinery, supplies, and any buildings you own—the highest priority. In addition, your company name, motto, and logo set your company's products or services apart from competitors in a commercial context.

What Is Trademark Registration of a Business Name?

A trademark is any word, phrase, or sign that sets one company's products or services apart from another in the marketplace. Patents and copyrights, which safeguard other forms of intellectual property, are not the same as trademarks. State and federal trademark registration are available in the United States. At the state level, trademarking your company name is reasonable and affordable, but it only provides a little legal protection.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) registration process is more time-consuming and expensive but provides significantly more legal exemption. Furthermore, you may stop anyone from utilizing your nationwide trademark by federally registering it.

How to Register a Business

Below is the procedure you must follow to register your business in the United States.

  • Select the Structure

    The type of company you're beginning with and your expansion goals will determine the best option for your business structure. Sole proprietorship comes first, and there is no distinction between you and your business when it is unregistered. All the profits are yours to keep, but you'll need to pay income tax. Additionally, you can utilize your assets to settle corporate obligations or pay for expenses incurred in its operations. On the other hand, a company owned and run by two or more people is called a general partnership. Similar to a sole proprietorship, the partners are jointly and numerously accountable for the debts and taxes of the business as well as any responsibilities resulting from judicial decisions.

  • Register the Business Name

    You can give your company a name in three ways — by establishing a legal entity name, a trademark, or a legal name under which you will operate under a different name. You must review the procedures for the state you want to register in because naming laws and regulations vary from one state to the next. The method you select for naming your firm will depend on the requirements and conditions of your entity, similar to how you incorporate your business. The legal entity name, which the government uses to identify the firm, is something that most states require enterprises to register.

    In addition, entity names must be distinctive to safeguard you from the possibility of another company using the same name as yours. A trademark gives your company name nationwide protection. Nobody else can register a business in the USA under your name once it has been trademarked. Likewise, it is a good idea to check the USA federal trademark registry if you have an idea for a name to ensure it hasn't already been registered as a trademark.

    It is crucial because trademark infringement is illegal and may result in legal consequences. Additionally, you can register your company under one name while conducting business under a different one. Federal trademark protections apply to these names, although the state-level uniqueness of a DBA (Doing Business As) is not necessary.

  • Taxes and Other Expenses

    Regarding taxes and business registration, each state has its unique regulations. In other words, registering in a state may result in tax and other financial benefits. Make sure your company is licensed to operate in each state if you intend to conduct business in more than one.

  • Obtain and Register Licenses and Permits

    The state authorities where you intend to register your firm determines the incorporation procedure you must follow. There are a few requirements, although state laws differ. You must first acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This tax identification number makes sure that your company can pay taxes, take advantage of any deductions, hire staff, and conduct other daily operations.

    Depending on the type of business you intend to register, different forms must be submitted to your local administration. The licenses and permissions you require will depend on the kind of business you're beginning, the industry, and the local laws where you're registering, just like registration. The steps to acquire documents will change according to the state you decide to register. It's crucial to research the legal requirements for your particular industry. It will be simpler to ensure you finish obtaining all of the licenses and permits your company needs to function legally.

  • Setup a Bank Account

    Next, you must open a bank account as soon as you get your EIN. It is a requirement of the laws governing LLPs, LLCs, and corporations to open a business bank account. However, those who operate as sole proprietors or unincorporated partnerships are not required to keep separate company and personal bank accounts.

  • Keep Your Intellectual Property Safe

    You may have intellectual property (I.P.) that you'll want to safeguard depending on the type of business you're establishing. For instance, many firms seek to prevent others from using their name and brand without permission. You might want to protect the artwork or product designs if your company sells goods or provides services.

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Business Name Registration Cost

As a prospective business owner in the USA, you will primarily register either a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or an Incorporated Company (Inc). A business entity called an LLC, similar to a corporation, has many advantages over partnerships and single proprietorships. It is a well-liked corporate form that benefits small business owners. An LLC has a limited liability system; its owners can be foreign nationals, corporations, or trusts. The Trademark Electronic Application System, a three-tiered pricing structure, is used by the Federal Office of Patents and Trademarks (TEAS).

Most of the time, it is convenient to trademark a company name in the middle tier, or TEAS RF, for $275. The additional registration rule applies to the TEAS Plus tier, which is the least expensive. You're probably better off with TEAS RF because each incorrect filing or failure to supply all the information required to complete registration at the level asked for charges an extra $175. The filing charge through a third party can be as low as the USPTO fee plus an additional $49, but you can be sure the application was completed correctly.

Key Terms

  • Bylaws: Bylaws are self-imposed regulations that comprise an arrangement or contract between a company and its members to conduct the corporate firm in a particular way.
  • Articles of Organization: Formal records registered with the authorities in the state where the limited liability company (LLC) expects to work.
  • Corporate Seal: A company seal is an authorized imprint (usually possessing a raised pattern with the business name and creation date) used to attest documents "signed" by the company or limited liability company (LLC).


Registering a business name in the U.S. may seem overwhelming. Hence it is better to reduce your worry and get your registration done the first time correctly by hiring our competent authorities at ContractsCounsel.

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