Part of Business

Choose a business name

If you choose to conduct business under a name different than your own (ie. John Doe), you must file a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) with the SF Office of the County Clerk.

Fictitious Business Name

NOTE: Be sure to register with the SF Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector (TTX) before filing for a FBN.

A fictitious name or trade name is a business name that is different from your personal name, the names of your partners, or the officially registered name of your LLC or corporation. Because the FBN allows you to Do Business As a name other than your given name, it is also called a DBA or DBA Name.

Find an available name

When you choose to name your business, you must choose a name no one else in San Francisco is using. You can check to see if the name you want is available using the SF Fictitious Business Name (FBN) Search. We recommend searching the internet and checking the US Patent and Trademark Office or the CA Secretary of State’s Corporate Division to see if your name is being used in other areas as well. 

File an FBN

To file your FBN, you must submit the Fictitious Business Name Statement and filing fee either in person or by mail to the SF Office of the County Clerk. They require a original (wet) signature on the Statement. If filing in person, be sure to bring: a valid government photo identification and proof of registration with TTX, (for example, Temporary Verification of Registration). 

Publish your new name

Within 45 days of filing for your FBN, you must publish the name in an approved San Francisco newspaper for a total of four weeks. See the County Clerks publication requirements for more information.

Next step

Continue in the Step by step guide to starting a business in San Francisco

Building and inspections