Florida DBA Registration

To register a Florida DBA, also known as a fictitious name, you must: choose an available name, publish a legal notice of your intent to use a fictitious name in the local newspaper, and file an Application to Register a Fictitious Name with the secretary of state. A fictitious name allows you to do business under a name other than your legal, registered business name. You can think of a DBA as a pseudonym or nickname. One of the main advantages of using a DBA is that it can help you rebrand or expand your business without having to form a whole new entity. 

Get DBA Filing Service!

Registered agent and company formation clients have access to our DBA filing service—we even take care of the publication requirement so you don’t have to!

What is a Florida DBA (Fictitious Name)?

One common misconception is that a DBA is a type of business, like an LLC or a corporation. In fact, a DBA is not a business entity—it’s simply an alternate name for a business. The confusion may arise from the fact that you must register a fictitious name to legally operate under that name in Florida, and the process of registering a fictitious name is similar to registering a business.

Registering a DBA doesn’t create a separate business entity. This is important to know because if you’re registering a DBA as a sole proprietor or general partnership, your DBA isn’t going to provide you with any legal protections. As a sole proprietor or a member of a general partnership looking for liability protection or for increased privacy, you’re better off forming an LLC than going straight for a DBA.

If you already own a business entity or if you are happy as a sole proprietorship or general partnership, using a fictitious name or twenty (there’s no limit to the number of DBAs you can register) can give your business more flexibility and branding options.

Reasons to Use a DBA for Your Florida Business

The key benefit of using a fictitious name is that it gives you options. Here are some of the most common reasons for registering a DBA in Florida:

» Rebrand your business

It happens to the best of us—we start out with one goal in mind and end up pursuing a completely different tack. You may have started out selling handcrafted furniture, but now you’re making woodblocks, but you don’t want to start a new LLC. You might get a DBA to start doing business under “Maestro Precussion” instead of “Maestro Home Furnishings LLC.” Or, you may move from making all types of furniture to specializing in chairs and rebrand as “Maestro Custom Alligator Chairs.”

» Expand your business

One way to use a DBA is to start a new branch or business line without forming a new business. For example, you may continue to do business at your main store under “Maestro Home Furnishings LLC” but open a secondary store where you operate under your DBA “Maestro Custom Alligator Chairs” and sell only chairs. You could even get another DBA to run an online store under “Mini Maestro,” where you sell toy furniture.

» Do business under your website’s domain name

Sometimes, a business starts operating and advertising under its domain name. This often happens because that name is easier to remember than the business name or because the business’s name was not available as a domain and the business must choose a different domain. For example, “MaestroCustomAlligatorChairs.com” is a long domain, so you might get “GatorChairs.com” instead and start doing business under the DBA “Gator Chairs.”

» Look more professional as a sole proprietor

If you’re a sole proprietor, your legal business name is your name. But not everyone wants to do business under their own name. That’s where having a DBA comes in. You can use a fictitious name to operate under a name that is more professional and better describes the kind of work you do. For instance, instead of offering drum lessons under Carl Lopez, you can use a DBA like “Drum Maestro.”

Get access to DBA filing service and our Florida Business Presence Package when you sign up for Registered Agent or Company Formation with us. With Florida Business Presence, you can start marketing your business online in minutes with a custom domain, pre-built website with SSL security, and up to 10 email addresses at your domain. Plus, you’ll get a dedicated business phone line with a Florida area code to keep your personal and professional communications separate.

How to Register a Fictitious Name (DBA) in Florida

The Florida Fictitious Name Act states that to legally use a DBA in Florida, you must register that name with the state. Failing to comply with the registration requirement could result in a fine of $500 or more. If found to be in violation of the act, your business is also prohibited from maintaining a lawsuit against any person or business in Florida until your DBA filing has been submitted and approved (FL Stat Section 865.09(9)).

There are three basic steps to registering a DBA in Florida:

  1. Choose an available name
  2. Publish a notice of your intent to use a fictitious name
  3. File an Application to Register a Fictitious Name

1. Choose an available name

Your fictitious name must be unique among fictitious names in Florida—if the name you want is already in use, you’ll have to choose a different DBA. To check the availability of your desired name, you can use the SunBiz Florida Fictitious Name Search.

Other rules to follow:

  • Your fictitious name cannot include a business entity identifier like “Inc,” “LLC,” or “LP.”
  • You cannot use the words “bank,” “banker,” “trust company,” “savings and loan association,” “savings bank,” “credit union,” or words with the same meaning (for example, “banco”) unless your business is a financial institution that has been authorized to use one of these terms.

» Registering your DBA in Florida prevents other businesses from using that name within the state. If you want to protect your name across state lines, you’ll need to trademark it. The trademarking process can be complicated, but we can take care of it for you with help from our in-house legal team. Just add “Trademark Service” at checkout or in your client account.

2. Publish a notice of your intent to use a fictitious name

Once you’ve decided on your DBA but before you file your application, you need to publish a legal notice stating your intent to use a fictitious name in a newspaper located in the same county as your principal place of business.

You can publish in an online or printed newspaper that meets the following requirements:

  • At least 25% of the paper is written in English
  • Issues are published at least once a week
  • The paper is available as a periodical in the county where it’s published
  • The paper was established at least a year ago

Most publications have a template for fictitious name publications, but if not, make sure that your notice includes the following:

  • Your desired fictitious name
  • The legal name and address of your business
  • Your intention to register your fictitious name with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations and the county where you business is located

You don’t need to get proof of publication for your fictitious name application; you simply need to certify that your notice has been published on the application.

Publication costs vary by paper and county. For example, it costs $35 to advertise in Tallahassee’s The Daily Sun and $95 to advertise in Miami Today.

3. File an Application to Register a Fictitious Name

The last step of getting your Florida DBA registered is submitting an Application to Register a Fictitious Name to the secretary of state.

On your application, you must list the following information:

  • Your Fictitious name
  • Your business’s mailing address
  • The county where business is located
  • The names and addresses of owner(s) of fictitious name
  • The Florida Document Number received when the business was registered with the state (if applicable)
  • Your Federal Employer Identification (FEI) number (if applicable)
  • The signature(s) of the owners
  • An email address and phone number

The application fee is $50, and you can file by mail or online.

By mail:
Fictitious Name Registration
PO Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314-1300

SunBiz Florida Fictitious Name Registration

Doing Business with Your Fictitious Name

Here are a few things to remember as you do business with your Florida DBA:

Renew Your DBA

Florida fictitious name filings must be renewed every five years by December 31st of the fifth year after your initial filing. You can renew by mail with an Application for Renewal of Fictitious Name or online through SunBiz. Renewal costs $50.

Get a Business Bank Account

Although you don’t need to get a separate business bank account for your DBA, it can help keep your finances organized so that, come tax time, you don’t confuse income that you make under your legal business name and your DBA, income made under different DBAs, or personal and business income as a sole proprietor.

Establish Your Business Presence

To market effectively and maintain a professional image, you’ll want to get a domain and website for your DBA and maybe a separate phone number, too. That way, you’ll be able to reach and communicate with customers without confusing them (or yourself) because you share a web presence or number with another business name or by using your personal contact information for your business.

Florida DBA FAQs

Can I register multiple DBAs?

Yes. You can register as many DBAs as you want in Florida. However, you do have to pay for each one separately.

Can I use my Florida DBA in a different state?

If you want to use your DBA in a different state, you’ll have to register your business and your DBA in that state and pay the associated fees.

Is there a publication requirement for DBAs in Florida?

Yes. To use a DBA in Florida, you must publish notice of intent to use that name in a newspaper located in the county where you do business.

How much does getting a Florida fictitious name cost?

The Florida fictitious name filing costs $50, but you’ll also need to pay a publication fee to publish your notice of intent to use DBA. You publication fee can range from $35 to over $100, depending on the newspaper and county.

How long does it take to get a DBA in Florida?

It depends on whether your file online or by mail and how you have to wait for your notice of intent to be published. Your fictitious name application will be processed in 2-3 business days, while mailed-in applications take 3-5 business days from date your application is received.

Is a DBA a business entity?

No. A DBA is not a business entity like an LLC or a corporation. It’s just an alternate name for a business, like a pseudonym or nickname. It does not provide you with any legal protections or privacy.

Do I need an EIN for my DBA?

No. You don’t need a separate EIN for you DBA because it’s not a separate business entity.

How long is my Florida DBA registration valid?

DBA registration lasts five years in Florida. You must renew your registration by December 31st of the fifth year following your initial registration and every five years after that. The renewal fee is $50.

Can you file my DBA registration?

Yes. If you hire us as your registered agent, we can file your Application for Registration of Fictitious Name for you. We charge $125 + state fees (plus $178 for the publication requirement).

Can you take care of my publication requirement?

Yes. As your registered agent, we can take care of your publication requirement if you use our business address or are located in Pinellas County. The publication fee is $178 on top of our filing fee of $125 + state fees.


Plus State fees


Per Year