What Owners Should Know Before They Register A Business Name
Whether you are a sole trader, contractor, or in a partnership deciding if you register a business name is something you must take into account if you operate within Australia.
One of the benefits of a sole trader is that you choose how your business will be named; in Australia, you have two options.
Option 1: To trade and operate your business under your name
Option 2: Register a business name that you will be using that is different from your actual name.
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 below.
Are you starting a business? Check out our step by step: How to set up a business.
Should I Register A Business Name Or Not?
If you operate a business in Australia as a sole trader and 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 name, then you will not need to register a new name, but you can if you wish.
We always advise you to seek professional advice should you have unique or complex situations or are unsure.
How To Protect Your Business Name?
Unfortunately, when you register a business name you will still need to take steps 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?
1. Ensure You Have An ABN
Before registering 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 chosen is not already taken. You can check this on the ASIC business names register.
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 like 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 must set up an ASIC connect account and link your business to it.
The business registration services are 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 to the BRS website.
4. TradeMark The Business Name You Registered
Your business name now needs to be protected from others who may 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 relatively small. You can choose to either pay annually or for three years.
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 three years, then the cost is $87, saving you $24 over the three years.
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.
This tool will help you decide on your business structure if you are 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 allows you to search ABN, ACN, or business names throughout Australia.