Registering a Business Name

Posted in Company Secretarial, Our Blog, Startup

If a sole trader trades under a name other than his/her own name, then he/she needs to register a business name. For example Kevin Mulcahy is a sole trader who runs a cafe called “The Daily Grind.” He will need to register this name so that suppliers, government departments and the public is aware of who the legal entity is behind the business.

Remember that companies who trade under a name other than the company’s own name also need to register the trading name.

Business names can be registered by submitting one of the following forms to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) together with the appropriate filing fee (€40 paper / €20 electronic filing):

Form RBN1: for an individual
Form RBN1A: for a partnership
Form RBN1B: for a company

Is the name available?

Before you spend any money on stationery or signage, check that your business name is available. In fact, wait until you have the certificate of registration in your hand if at all possible.

Do a search online. Check the register of companies and the register of business names for free on the CRO website (  Search the registers at the Patents Office (

Once you submit the form to register a name, the CRO does not check the name against the registers for duplications. However, if you register a name that is already in use by someone else, for example calling your restaurant “McDonalds” (even if your name is McDonald), then you can expect to get a letter from their solicitor.

Certificate of registration

Once you register your business name, you will be issued a certificate. You should display a copy in your business premises where the public can see it. If you have a few different outlets, display a copy in each one.

Your bank will need a copy of the cert and you will need the cert for registering a .ie domain name.

Remember that the business name must also be shown on all business letters, emails, leaflets etc.

If you have any queries on the above, please leave a comment or email me on

27 thoughts on “Registering a Business Name

  1. Does this rule of registering a name explained above apply to online business?if so, do i use home address as business premises on the application?

    1. Hi Sinead,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, once you are trading under a name which is not your own, it is recommended that you register the business name. When registering it is perfectly fine to use your home address.

      If you require any further assistance please get in contact with me.

      Kind regards,


  2. Hi, my business is registered under my own name (as I hadn’t chosen a name yet)from when I filled out my Vat registration form. I am a small local business and use another name only when advertising on my posters/flyers. I haven’t registered it yet, as I wanted to observe how people took to the name and if it settled well with my type of business – in art & crafts. At this stage should I register this name? (1 year in business)
    Kind regards

  3. Hi,

    I am in the process of establishing my own business, as a private teacher and have already done advertising and market research for clients. Having already registered for tax, I will be starting business in Jan 2015. Is it necessary to register a business name before I start or can this be done subsequently?



    1. Stephen,

      No need to register a business name at all if you don’t want to but it looks more professional to do so.

      Hope it goes great for you.



  4. Hi Seamus,
    In one of your other articles you write: ‘Note that there is no restriction on registering a duplicate business name. However, a company name must be unique.’
    I am confused now, hope you can clarify that for me: If I am a sole trader and register a business name is anyone else allowed to use this business name too? e.g. can somebody register a Ltd. with my business name?

  5. Can I register a name as a sole trader and then make a decision later as to whether to set up a limited company using that name? Is there anything I should do to protect the name in the meantime? Thanks

    1. Jean,

      Registering a business name does not mean that the name will be available when you set up a limited company.

      The best protection is to set up the company now with your name of choice.


  6. Hi Seamus, I set up my business in 2006 and registered with the CRO as a sole trader, I have been trading under this name for the last 10 years all completely above board. I have just realised that another business with an almost identical name has been set up (2014) and we both work in the same field/ industry, I’m in Dublin 12 and they are in Dublin 2 so literally just a few miles apart. I did thorough searches on the CRO before registering my name. I only know about this business now because recently I am getting calls from people looking for them, im certain they are getting calls meant for me too.
    The names sound identical but are spelt slightly different. Do I have any legal protection as this is certainly affecting my business and I am worried about my reputation that I have worked very hard to build up? Any advise greatly appreciated!

  7. Hi
    If I have set up a limited company and i want to register a trading as name, can I use Inc (as in Incorporated ) in the TA name ?

  8. Hi,

    I have a registered limited company but also have a business name. I will be trading under the business name but which number, issued to me by the CRO, should I display on invoices, quotes etc the Company number or the Business number?



  9. Hi Seamus, I am setting up a photography company with a friend and thought I had to register a business name – which I have just done online at a cost of 45 euro plus the CRO fee. I did this thinking it would mean noone else could use the name. Was I wrong in this and also maybe acted prematurely in that we haven’t actually set up the business yet! Perhaps I didn’t need to do this at all if we set up a registered company with the CRO?

    1. Sharon,

      I am not sure of the full facts relating to you but a business name is used to carry on business by any company which has a place of business in Ireland and which name is not the same as their own true name i.e it trades under a name which is not its full corporate name. If you trade under the exact name of the company there is no need for a business name. As the CRO does not check proposed business names against companies names you should research if others have rights in the business name you intend to use.

      Hope all ok.



  10. Hi, we have incorporated under a very long name, which our suppliers would find impossible to write on a cheque. Would you advise registering a new business name that is shorter to alleviate this problem, or do you think our bank would accept cheques made out to us if they could not complete the full incorporated name?

    1. John,

      Best have the company register a smaller business name as the banks are getting very fussy! But check with your bank first.



  11. Hi Seamus, I am in the process of setting up my business. I haven’t started trading yet. I registered a business name as a sole trader, and then a second name as a limited company. I own both. Can I trade under the sole trader business name or does it need to be transferred to the company?

    1. Siobhan,

      If you are going trade as a limited company best to have the company register the name you are going to trade under.



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