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I am a CERTIFIED LIFE COACH practicing under own name. Office w DIFFERENT commercial name registration in needed FLORIDA?

Hollywood, FL |

I wish to give the physical location of the office a more identifying commercial name, what name registration requirements do I have to comply with in Hollywood Florida? Do I need to register this "creative" name? like a DBA? . In the future they may be other life coaches who will work INDEPENDENTLY (not affiliated or employed) from the same location.

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Attorney answers 4


Yes -- if you are transacting business under any name that is not your own, legal name, it must be registered with the State of Florida. Instructions for fling your fictitious name (same as trade name or DBA) online are available at You must file with the State and advertise the name as instructed.

It makes no difference if you are working independently or with others. So long as you are working under a name that is not yours, you must register the fictitious name. You should be careful, however, if you work in a location with others doing the same work, so that you are not presumed to be working together under one company. If it appears to customers that you are all working together, then you may expose yourself to the liabilities of others.

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to provide legal advice for your specific situation


I doubt Hollywood FL has regulations on what you might name your building--the physical location. If they did it would most likely fail under the First Amendment. A DBA is not a physoical location. It is like a pen name. I think the French call it a nom de commerce. Most states in soem way require one to register such a name with some state agency, so people know who the person behind the fancy name.

But if you bring in other independents then you must VERY CLEARLY AND CONSPICUOUSLY articulate on the door or a building directory that these are not part of your practice, maybe by putting your nom de commerce on an inner door only.

But there is another issue. If you want to be able to prevent others -- maybe from other states -- from using that business name then you need first to have a clearance run on the name by a trademark attorney. Yes, it will cost money. But if there is already someone, e.g., in Georgia using the name then you risk getting sued and being forced to give up the name plus pay damages. Why do you even want a business name?

Well, discuss this with a TM attorney. Most do a brief consult without charge.

Licensed in Maryland with offices in Maryland and Oregon. Information here is general, does not create a lawyer-client relationship, and is not a substitute for consulting with an experienced attorney on the specifics of your situation.


You have to comply with what ever ordinances the town has for physical signs at a minimum. If you want to call your building "The Peace Center" or something, you can do that but it has little to no legal significance.

A DBA is just a license to call a sole proprietorship by something other than a person's name. Owning a building as a SP is a bad idea for liability reasons. An inanimate object cannot have a DBA.

If you have anything to do with the other life coaches in the building, there is a possibility if one of them gets sued you are all going to get sued, even if you all claim you are independent. The court could infer that there is an unlimited partnership and you would all be liable for the debts of the other.

It would be best if you sat down with an attorney that sets up companies to discuss all your options.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick


"An inanimate object cannot have a DBA" Seems it can. "Show me" you say. OK, here's the show me state's biggest office building in downtown St. Louis, Metropolitan Square (Coincidentally, the home of the biggest law firm in the state, Bryan Cave) on file for 22 years by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company during its ownership of the building.


If you want to give the physical location a special address, say for example "Certified Life Coaches Center", you can do that for mail purposes by just adding it to the offiical USPS address like you would a Suite number, Floor number, Floor Number etc. If you do business under that name, such as renting out space to other Life Coaches, then you need to file a dba so if someone wants to sue the Certified Life Coaches Center or put it on official notice of something, they can find who that is from the dba records.The Government of every state requires that so that the state and it subsidiary offices can conduct official business with the businesses in the state. That is often helpful for your business, and other times you would like to remain anonymous - but legally you must not. Either you incorporate and register with the state or you remain unincorporated and record a dba with the local county clerk or other equivalent in a given state.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

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