Need to Register your business?
If your business will operate as a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, you should file an “Assumed Name Certificate”, also known as a DBA (stands for “doing business as”), for each name the business uses in commerce. The form is filed with the county clerk in each county where a business premise is maintained. If no business premise is maintained, it should be filed in each county where business will be conducted.
If your business will operate as a corporation, limited partnership, or limited liability company (LLC) you will need to register with the Secretary of State through their SOS Direct. If this entity also operates under a name other than the name on file with the Secretary of State, an Assumed Name Certificate must be filed with the Secretary of State. Forms can be found HERE.
Please Note – Neither the filing of an Assumed Name Certificate nor the reservation or registration of a company name imparts any real protection to the party filing the certificate. It is merely a formal process that informs the general public of the registered agent for a business and where official contact with the business can be made. In case of a name dispute, it can be used as legal evidence in litigation.
Basic steps for Starting a Business in Texas
Changes to filing processes due to COVID19:
Referring to Step 4 below - Most government notaries may not be available at this time. If you cannot come into our office, please call your local County Clerk, UPS or FedEx Store to determine if they have one available.
Click anything on this list to be taken to that portion of the page.
Your local ASBDC can help you file an Assumed Name Certificate, also known as a “DBA” (Doing Business As) anywhere in Texas. If you’re not in Texas your local office can assist you with filing your business in your state.
If you need assistance filling out any of these forms or have other questions, please contact your local ASBDC.
1. What form of business?
The Governor's Small Business Handbook is a great resource on information regarding opening a business in Texas. Page 8 in the PDF has detailed information about the different forms of business in Texas. As always, if you have more questions feel free to give us a call!
While not required, it is in your best interest to conduct a search to see if anyone else is already using the name you want to use.
County Clerk Records Search
For Business names filed at the county level. This site contains records for 24 Counties. For counties not listed on this site contact your County Clerk's office to find out how to do a search of their records.
Comptroller's Taxable Entity Search
For state-filed businesses such as Corporations, LLCs, etc. This site contains the Comptroller’s Taxable Entity Records. You can find MOST state registered businesses here. If you have any concern that the business name you want is take please email the SOS above.
Secretary of State Records Search
For state-filed businesses such as Corporations, LLCs, etc. Contact the Secretary of State(SOS) to determine if a name you want to register is available. Note: Online search requires payment of a fee by credit card.