Home » Glossary » Fictitious Business Name

Fictitious Business Name

Coming up with a snappy business name is one of the first things many people do when they’re creating their business. This snappy business name helps people remember your business, and it’s often better than using your legal name, which won’t have the same kind of memory effect.

If you’ve ever seen an individual who’s using a different name than their legal name to advertise their services, you might wonder how that’s legal. Did the individual have to set up a whole company for their services? Typically, it isn’t necessary to set up a wide-reaching business to use a different name – you just have to set up a fictitious business name.

What Is a Fictitious Business Name?

A fictitious business name is just a name that a business uses when they want to operate under a different name than their legal registration. You may have heard people refer to it as a “doing business as” name. It’s not actually fictitious; the name refers to the fact that legally, the business doesn’t have that name, but they’re allowed to use it because it’s registered as a fictitious business name.

Who Uses a Fictitious Business Name?

A fictitious business name is a common way for a business to use its services across a wide range of names, even names that the business didn’t establish itself as. These types of businesses, for example, may use a fictitious business name:

  • Sole proprietors
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations

Sole proprietors are the most likely to use a fictitious business name, followed closely by partnerships and then by corporations. Most corporations won’t use a fictitious business name but may go through a different process if they want to do business through multiple names. However, just about any organization can use them; it’s up to the organization in question if it’s the best way to manage their business name.

How Do You Register a Fictitious Business Name?

Registering a fictitious business name is actually pretty easy. In most states, costs are lower than $100 to register a fictitious business name, and the cost may even be significantly lower than that. The steps for registering a fictitious business name may include:

  • Go to your county offices.
  • Pay a registration fee to the county clerk.
  • Receive your fictitious business name certificate.
  • Place a fictitious business name announcement in a local newspaper.

The last step is a bit of an archaic one, but it’s still mandatory in many states. It gives everyone in your local area the chance to learn that you’re now doing business under a specific name. Nowadays, most people don’t pay much attention to the newspaper notices and are more likely to look up that information online.

What Can Enformion Do to Help You Understand More About Fictitious Business Names?

When you look up a fictitious business name on Enformion, you may still be able to get information about the people behind that business. After all, while the name might not be the business’s true legal name, someone still had to file information stating that the business would be using the fictitious business name. By following these records, you can find out more about who owns the business and how to get in contact with them.