Are you planning to start a business in Colorado and wondering how to register a business name? You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll break down the process of registering a business name in Colorado into simple steps so that you can easily follow along.
On This Page
Step 1: Choose a Business Structure
The first step in registering your business name is to choose a business structure that best fits your needs. Colorado recognizes several business structures, including sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations.
Each business structure comes with unique benefits and limitations. To choose the right business structure, you should consider your personal liability protection, tax liabilities, and paperwork requirements.
It’s important to do your research and choose the one that is best for your business.
We recommend forming an LLC for most entrepreneurs because it offers personal asset protection, has no double taxation, and is relatively easy to maintain. If you’re unsure which business structure is right for you, check this guide on how to choose a business structure for your needs.
Step 2: Choose a Name
The Next step is to choose a name that is available and suitable for your business. It’s important to choose a name that accurately reflects your business and is easy for customers to remember.
You’ll also want to make sure that the name you choose is not already in use by another business in Colorado.
You can find various guides for choosing the perfect name for your business in our Business Name section.
Step 3: Check Availability
Once you have chosen a business structure and a name for your Colorado business, you’ll need to check its availability. It’s essential to ensure that your business name is unique and hasn’t already been registered in the state.
The Colorado Secretary of State provides a business name search tool that you can use to check whether the name you want is available or not.
If the name you want is already taken, you’ll need to choose a different name. If your desired name is available, you can move on to the next step.
We also recommend checking if the domain name for your business name is available. Even if you don’t plan to create a website today, securing your domain name can prevent others from acquiring it. You can check domain name availability through various domain registrars.
Our domain registrar of choice is Namecheap. They have a reliable service and offer all types of domains and extensions at very reasonable prices.
Step 4: Register Your Business Name With the State of Colorado
Once you have chosen a name and business structure, you can register your business name with the Colorado Secretary of State.
The registration process will vary depending on the business structure you’ve chosen.
To register an LLC, you’ll need to file the Articles of Organization with the Colorado Secretary of State. You can apply online or use a professional registered agent, like Northwest or LegalZoom to form your LLC for you.
To register a corporation, you’ll need to file the Articles of Incorporation with the Colorado Secretary of State. Check out our guide on how to start a corporation in Colorado for more information.
You can also do the application by mail, and the registration fee is $50. You’ll need to provide your business name, business structure, and the name and address of your registered agent.
After your business is registered with the state, you’ll need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This number is used to identify your business for tax purposes.
Step 5: Register a Trade Name (Optional)
A trade name is the name that customers and clients will use when referring to your company. It can be different from the legal entity name of your company, which is usually used for tax purposes or other official documents.
For example, if you own an LLC called “Colorado Landscaping LLC” but want to do business under the name “Colorado GreenScapes,” then you would need to register the latter as a trade name.
So, if you’re a sole proprietorship, a general partnership, an LLC or corporation and wish to operate your business under a different name, you’ll need to register a trade name with the state of Colorado.
A trade name registration is also known as a “doing business as” (DBA Registration).
To register a trade name, you’ll need to file a DBA application with the Colorado Secretary of State. You can do this online or by mail.
The process for registering a trade name in Colorado is relatively simple:
- Visit the Colorado Secretary of State website.
- Select “Register A Trade Name” from the list of options on the left-hand side of the page.
- Fill out all required information on the form and submit it online along with payment for any applicable fees (usually around $25).
- Once approved by the Secretary of State office, print out two copies of your registration certificate and keep them on file at your place of business or home office (you may be asked to provide proof of registration at some point).
- You may also need to register with other local agencies depending on where your business operates; check with those offices for more information about their specific requirements for businesses operating within their jurisdiction(s).
- Finally, make sure that all marketing materials and websites associated with your new trade name include language indicating that it has been registered with the state (e.g., “Registered Trade Name in Colorado”)
You can find more FAQ about filing a Trade name in Colorado here.
Step 6: Protect Your Business Name (Optional)
After you have registered your business name, you’ll want to protect it from being used by other businesses. One way to do this is by filing for a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
A trademark gives your business brand name and/or logo nationwide protection backed by federal law. While this can be expensive, it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re planning to expand your business nationally.
Step 7: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Depending on the type of business you’re operating, you may need to obtain licenses and permits from various state agencies.
The state of Colorado doesn’t require a state-specific business license, however, different state agencies issue licenses and permits based on the type of business you’re operating.
Check out the Colorado Business Resource Book for more information on licenses and permits.
Additional Considerations for Changing Your Business Name in Colorado
If you need to change your business name, you can do so by filing for a trade name or submitting an amendment to the legal name of your business.
You need to update all of your business documents, including your business license, tax registrations, permits, and other legal documents, with your new business name.
Disclaimer and Conclusion
This article is meant to give a brief overview of what steps you need to follow in order to register a business name in Colorado and is not meant to act as legal advice.
Registering a business name in Colorado is a relatively straightforward process, however it is a very important first step and that is why I always recommend investing some of your initial funds on an experienced attorney who can expertly guide you through the process and ensure you have the most advantageous corporate and tax structure.
The steps mentioned in this article will give you a good understanding of what the process involves so you can make sure nothing gets missed out. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your business name is properly registered and protected, giving you peace of mind as you launch your new business.
For more guides on how to register a business name in the USA, please click here.