If you'd like to use a business name that differs from the one on your business license, Bexar County in Texas allows you to file for an assumed business name. The process involves a few steps where you'll make sure you've chosen a unique business name in the county and then fill out an application by hand or online. Depending on which application method you use, you'll submit by mail or go to the Bexar County Clerk office. Other application requirements include notarization and a filing fee.
Find a Good Business Name
Your business name will be what customers remember and should relate to both your brand and industry. If you have a name that is hard to spell, seems unrelated to your company's products or services or is too similar to other businesses, it can hurt you rather than help you gain more customers. So, when choosing the name under which you'll be doing business, aim for something relevant, unique and simple.
Specifically, avoid choosing a name that sounds close to that of another local business or competitor to avoid trademark issues and the possibility of having your application denied. You should exclude business-entity-related terms like "corp" and "LLC" since they create confusion and potential legal issues.
Verify Your Name's Availability
Before you can begin the application, you'll need to do a Bexar County assumed name search to check that some other company hasn't taken your name idea. You can access this function through the Bexar County Official Records Search website. Select the "assumed names" search option, enter your preferred business name and click the search button.
The tool will display any matching existing business names or notify you that the name is free to use. Even if the name does come up as unused, you might consider searching for variations of your chosen name to double check that it won't sound too similar to that of another local company.
Complete the Assumed Name Certificate Application
While you can pick up your assumed name certificate application at the Bexar County Clerk office, the county website has three versions of the application available for your convenience. These include a general online assumed name certificate application suitable for any type of organization along with separate printable versions for incorporated and unincorporated businesses. You'll choose the Bexar County DBA application that fits your business type and filing preferences.
All three assumed name certificate applications ask for similar information that you should have handy. These include your desired business name, physical address, contact information for each owner and current business structure. The county allows you to use the assumed name for up to 10 years before you need to file again, so the application will also ask how long you prefer to use it.
Each business owner will need to sign the application in the presence of a notary who can attest to witnessing the act. However, this step often happens at the county clerk's office at the time of submission.
Submit to the Bexar County Clerk
If you completed the downloadable application and found your own notary to witness the signatures, then you can simply submit your assumed name certificate application through the mail. Otherwise, if you did the online version or need a notary for the paper application, you'll need to head to the Bexar County Clerk to finish the process. In both cases, the county requires you to pay a $14.00 filing fee for the first owner and 50 cents each for other owners. You can use a credit card, money order or check.
To submit the Bear County DBA application in person, visit the office located in the Paul Elizondo Tower at 101 West Nueva, Suite 120, San Antonio, TX 78205. You can come in on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. except for on county holidays. For your convenience, the office has a notary available for a $1.00 fee.
If you're mailing the notarized application, you'll need to send it with your payment to: Bexar County Clerk, 100 Dolorosa, Suite 104, San Antonio, TX 78205.
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