What Owners Should Know Before They Register A Business Name

Whether you are a sole trader. contractor, or in a partnership registering your business name is an important decision you may need to make if you operate within Australia. As a sole trader or business owner, you have two options in Australia.

Option 1: To trade and operate your business under your own personal name

Option 2: To register A name which you will be operation under.

You must register A business name if you plan on operating a business in Australia under a name besides your own. Registration is completed with ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) and is outlined in more detail below.

Starting a business? Check out our step by step: How to set up a business.

Table Of Contents

Should I Register A Business Name?

If you operate a business in Australia as a sole trader and you want to trade under a name other than your own, you will need to register your proposed business name with the Australian Government.

If you are happy to trade under your own name then you will not need to register a new name but you can is you wish. We always advise you to seek professional advice should you have unique or complex situations, or are simply not sure.

How To Protect Your Business Name?

The act of registering your business name is not in itself enough to protect it. To protect the name you will need to register it with IP Australia as a trademark once you receive it.

This trademarks the name and ensures that it goes on record as being your intellectual property so that you have recourse should someone infringe on it in the future.

It is also equally important, that you do not infringe on someone else’s trademark when choosing your business name, you can do this by searching trademarks using the tool in the reference section.

How Do I Register My Business Name?

Name Registration services
The Business Name Registration service, provided by the Australian government.

1.Ensure You Have An ABN

Before you can register your business name you will need to ensure you have an ABN or have applied for an ABN. If you don’t have an ABN check out our helpful guide: how to apply for an ABN.

2.Check The Availability of your Business Name

You will need to ensure the business name you have choosen is not already taken. You can check this on the ASIC business names registar.

3.Ensure Your Business Name Does Not Infringe On Someone Else’s Trademark

Just because your business name may not be taken, It still may infringe on an existing trademark of A company or individual. To ensure this is not the case, you will need to search the IP database using the Trademark search tool liked here and below.

Important Note: Ensure that before you register any names you check if the domain name is available. If someone already has a domain name with the business name you are planning to register then this can cause a lot of issues in the future for you. You can register a domain name along with your hosting package here.

4.Register Using One Of Two Methods

You have two options when registering your business name. You can use the government business registration services, or you can you the ASIC connect services. If you wish to use the ASIC connect services you will need to set up an ASIC connect account and link your business to it.

The business registration services is the easier of the two options. This service also allows you to register your ABN, business name, GST, and other needed tax services in a single application process. Please see the above image for reference of the BRS website.

4.TradeMark The Business Name You Registered

Your business name now needs to be protected from others who may possibly infringe on it. To do this you will need to trademark the name with IP Australia using the link provided here and below.

Registration Costs And Fees

The costs associated with registering a business name in Australia are fairly small. You can choose to either pay annually or for a three year period. If you would like to pay annually it will cost $37 for the year and will need to be renewed every 12 months.

If you would like to pay upfront for 3 years than the cost is $87, which will save you $24 over the three year period.

Once your registration period expires, you will need to renew your business name which is the same cost as the initial registration Once again this will be $37 or $87 for one, or three years respectively.

The payment methods offered for registration or renewal are Visa, Mastercard, BPay, and Invoice which can be paid at the post office.

Other Important Questions

  • If I register my business name does that protect against someone else using it? Answer: No, while nobody will be able to register a name that has already been taken, this is not legal protection and you should also register the name with IP Australia.
  • What is the difference between registering a company and a business name? Answer: A company is its own legal entity, A business name is simply another name you will trade under as yourself.
  • How do you check if a business name is registered in Australia? Answer: You can use the ABN lookup tool, which we included in the references section.
  • How much does it cost to trademark my business name? Answer: There is an application cost of $250 for standard applications.
  • How long is the application process? Answer: Generally it should not be more than 15 minutes to complete.
  • How long will the whole process take? Answer: You should hear back within three business days of completing the application and paying your fee.
  • Do I need an ABN to register a business name? Answer: Yes, you will need to have applied for an ABN to register a business name.
  • Can I have more than one business name as a sole trader? Answer: Yes, as a sole trader you can have multiple businesses with multiple names attached to your single ABN.

Important References

This tool will help you decide on your business structure if your just getting started. It also provides some basic information you should be aware of when setting up your business structure.

A tool provided by the ABR which allows you to search ABN, ACN, or business names throughout Australia.

This is the IP Australia website in which you can search and apply for trademarks to help protect your business.

You can search for business names in this database to ensure yours will be available.