The exact cost of registering a business name in Texas will depend on the type of business structure you choose to form in the state. Note that to register a business name in Texas, you have to first register your business. You can decide to form an LLC or corporation or file for a “doing business as” name with your state’s business division.
Also, note that the type of business structure you choose to form will determine how you register the business with the state. Texas is home to 2.6 million small businesses, making up 99.8 percent of all companies in the state, with 1.1 million being minority-owned.
Before you can register your business in Texas, you will first have to determine its legal entity structure. Coupled with choosing your startup’s structure, you will also have to decide on a name and a registered agent. When picking a name for an LLC, corporation, or limited partnership, you must distinguish it from any other business names already registered with the state.
In addition, you will need to comply with Texas’ rules on naming a business, such as using proper designations like “LLC” or “Limited Liability Company,” in your business name. You can check for available names by visiting Texas’ business entity name database.
You will also need to carry out an internet search for your intended name and see what you can find online. Start by checking the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. Once you have verified that your name is not a trademark, it is time to verify its availability to use in Texas.
To search for registered business names in Texas, use the Texas Taxable Entity Search. During this search, aside from checking to verify that your exact business name is available, you will also want to check that no other businesses are using similar business names.
Cost of Registering a Business Name in Texas
Just as was noted above, the exact cost of registering a business name in Texas will depend on the type of business structure you choose to form in the state. Nonetheless, here are the costs associated with registering your business name;
- Name Reservation (120 days): $40
- Texas LLC Initial Registration: $300
- Texas Corporation Initial Registration: $300
- Texas Non-Profit Initial Registration: $25 (includes the $5 Texas Registered Agent designation fee)
- Foreign LLC Initial Registration: $750 (this is so an LLC can obtain foreign qualifications)
- Foreign Corporation Initial Registration: $750 (this is so an Inc. can obtain foreign qualifications)
- Limited Partnership (LP) Initial Registration: $750
- Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Initial Registration: $200 (Per Partner)
Step By Step Process to Register a Business Name in Texas
There are necessary steps to register a business name in the State of Texas. They include;
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Choose a Name for Your Business
To register a business name in the Lone Star State, you will have to first decide what your business name will be. When looking to come up with your company’s name, you should take into consideration the brand message you intend to communicate to clients.
Keep in mind that your company name will contribute to the first impression target users will have of your company. Your business name will need to be:
- Easy to search for
- Easy to remember
- Unique and in line with your brand identity.
Decide on a Business Structure
Before you go ahead to register your business name, you should already have the legal structure of your business determined. The process to register your business name in Texas will most often vary depending upon the legal structure you choose.
The factors you have to take into consideration when choosing a business structure will depend on your needs and wants for personal liability protection, tax liabilities, and paperwork.
Check Business Name Availability
There is a good possibility that the name you picked for your business is already taken by an already existing business. Owing to that, before registering the company, carry out a name search to note if any other business in Texas is already operating under the same name. To carry out a detailed business name availability search, you want to complete three types of searches:
- Trademark Search: It is necessary you carry out this search to ascertain if the business name you chose is available. This is also referred to as a federal trademark search, and since trademarks are known to supersede state-level registrations, you will want to ensure that your preferred business name is not trademarked.
To carry out a federal trademark search, you will have to visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website and use the TESS Search.
- Texas Business Name Search: After you are done verifying that your name is not a trademark, the next step is to ascertain its availability to use in Texas. To carry out this business name search in Texas, use the Texas Taxable Entity Search.
- Website Domain Search: This is another vital search to ensure that the .com version of your business name is available. Although not every business will need or plan to build a website, it is still advisable you try to register the .com version of your business name.
By registering the .com version of your company name, you guarantee that nobody else is able to use that domain name.
Register With the Texas Secretary of State
Once you have decided on the business name you want, vetted it, and verified it is the right name for you, it is time to register it. Have in mind that the exact process you have to take to register your new business name will depend on your chosen business structure.
Texas Sole Proprietorship Name
Same as in other states in the country, sole proprietorships lack any legal distinction between the individual and the business in the state of Texas. Owing to that, a Texas sole proprietor will have to carry out all business activities under their personal name or a business name that includes their personal name such as “Michael Grey Boutique”.
If you intend to start your sole proprietorship under a more marketable business name, you will have to get a Texas DBA by filing an Assumed Name Certificate.
Texas Partnership Name
Same as with sole proprietors, general partnerships in Texas are expected to operate under a business name that involves the last names of the business partners, such as “Michael, Mercy, and Partners”. If you intend to start your business under a different business name, you will also be expected to file for an Assumed Name in Texas.
Texas LLC Name
Note that to register the name of your Texas LLC, you will have to file Articles of Organization with the Texas Secretary of State. When you register an LLC in the Lone Star State, you will have to meet certain stipulated requirements. For an LLC, have it in mind that your business name will have to include a designator that identifies the business as an LLC such as:
- “Limited Liability Company”
Texas Corporation Name
In the State of Texas, to form a Corporation you will definitely have to file Articles of Incorporation with the Texas Secretary of State. The process of establishing a corporation is known as “incorporation.” However, same as with registering an LLC, a Corporation in Texas will have to include a designator that states that the business is structured as a Corporation, such as:
Just as was noted above, the exact cost of registering a business name in Texas will depend on the type of business structure you choose to form in the state. Each structure tends to come with its own requirements, challenges, and advantages.
But once you have selected your business structure and name, you will have to file your formation documents with the state, which will register your business with Texas.