Your Business Name

Selecting your business name should be done with careful consideration.

  • Will it have a lasting and memorable effect on your customers?
  • Is it distinctive?
  • Will it communicate your values and culture?
  • Does it suggest your product or service?
  • Is it easy to spell? Pronounce? Translate?
  • Is it too narrow? For example, “Johns Grass Cutting” — perhaps in the future you will want to do landscaping or snow removal.
  • Do you want to be safe or edgy?
  • How will it work with future marketing material? Domain name? Social Media?
  • How broad is your market area?
  • Will you need to trademark your name?

Once you have selected a name or perhaps several possibilities, investigate for similar and similar sounding names in the Shenandoah Valley and Virginia and industry niche by research on the web, City Clerk of the Circuit Court, and the State Corporation Commission. You may also want to check for any similar trademarks by searching with the US Patent and Trademark office.

Depending on the name you select, you may need to register with the Waynesboro Clerk of the Circuit Court and State Corporation Commission.

Any business using a name which does not identify the owner of the business must register a fictitious name –also called trade name, assumed name, or DBA name (Doing Business As)–with the Waynesboro Clerk of the Circuit Court. A fictitious 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.

The Small Business Administration also offers guidance on fictitious name registration.

For example, if your name is “John Smith” and you operate your business as “John Smith” you do not need to file a fictitious name; but if you operate your business as “John Smith Painting,” you will. You could also set up multiple fictitious names to market to different customers, for example “John Smith House Painting” and “John Smith Fence Painting.”

If the entity is a limited partnership, a limited liability company, or a corporation, a certified copy of the fictitious name certificate must be filed with the State Corporation Commission.

You will need proof of your name registration before obtaining your business license from the Waynesboro Commissioner of Revenue.