When you operate a business in one state and use a fictitious name, or “DBA” as it's commonly referred to, (which is short for “doing business as”), you can easily transfer that name if you decide to expand your business or move your operations to Florida. Florida business law does require that you follow certain procedures, which can be a little different, depending on whether you operate as a sole proprietor or as a legal business entity.
Florida Foreign Entities
Like most states, Florida requires foreign business entities, such as corporations and limited liability companies that are formed in other states, to register with the Florida Department of State by obtaining a certificate of authority before it can transact any business within the state. Therefore, if you use a legal business entity that was created outside of Florida, you’ll need a certificate of authority before you can begin the process of registering your DBA. For example, if your corporation was formed in New York and already operates under a DBA, you need to file the certificate of authority application first, and then you can start the DBA registration process.
Registering the DBA
Operating in Florida under the same DBA that you use in a different state requires the filing of an “Application for Registration of Fictitious Name” (See References) with the Florida Department of State. Unlike foreign entities, sole proprietors aren’t required to obtain a certificate of authority before filing the DBA application in Florida. This is because businesses that are run as sole proprietorships aren’t treated as being separate from their owners.
Advertising the DBA
Regardless of its legal structure, before any business can file the application to register a DBA, Florida requires that you advertise your intention to operate under a fictitious name. When preparing the application, you’ll need to certify that the advertisement has run at least one time in a newspaper that circulates in the Florida county where your principal business activities will take place.
No Unique Requirement
You can use any fictitious trade name you like, even if it’s currently being used by another business in Florida. When using a DBA in Florida, however, you don’t receive any exclusive rights to the name you choose, such as when you do when you choose a name for your legal business entity. In Florida, the main purpose of registering the DBA is merely for public notice purposes and doesn’t preclude a different business from registering a corporation or LLC under the same name as your DBA.