If you’d like to register a business name for a mowing business (in Australia), but you’re not really sure how to go about it, you’re in the right place. We’ll walk you through the six steps on our checklist, plus explain what an Australian business name is and why you need one.
Note: Yes, you can skip straight to steps 5 and 6. But it would be a lot smarter to follow all 6.
What is a Business Name?
A business name is the name under which you conduct your mowing business.
Do I Need a Business Name for a Lawnmowing Business?
Yes. It is a legal obligation to register your business name with ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission). Exemptions include:
(a) If you are operating as an individual and your operating name is the same as your first name and surname;
(b) If you are in a partnership and your operating name is the same as all of the partners’ names; or
(c) If you are an already registered Australian company and your operating name is the same as your company’s name.
If I Register a Business Name, do I own that name?
No, unfortunately not. Registering a business name does not mean you own that name, or that you are preventing other people from being able to register and use similar names. The only reliable way to gain exclusivity over a particular business name is to register it as a trade mark with IP Australia.
Step 1: Think of a Great Business Name
If you want a great business name for your mowing business, it pays to put a little thought into your business name before you register it. For example: Can someone spell it? Will anyone remember it? Does sound related to the business of lawn mowing?
Step 2: Check Business Name Availability
Many names are already taken. So unless you want to risk a possible trademark infringement, you’d be wise to avoid names such as Jim’s Mowing, James’ Home Services, Quick Mow, Express Lawn Mowing, VIP Home Services and Fox Mowing. Before applying for a name for your lawn mowing business, it’s smart to first check that your dream name is not already taken on the ASIC business names register.
Step 3: Check Current Trademarks
The last thing you need after you’ve paid your registration money is to get a nasty phone call from someone who believes you are using a name that they have already trademarked. This could escalate into nasty letters from lawyers and you might lose your business name and have to start all over again. So take a few minutes to search for trademarks already registered with IP Australia, to save yourself time, money and unnecessary headaches.
Step 4: Check Domain Name Availability
Even if you’re not going to set up a website for your lawnmowing business straight away, you’d be wise to check that no one is already running a website with the exact business name that you had in mind. Jump onto a domain registry site (such as GoDaddy or CrazyDomains) to check. And if your domain name is available, it’s a good idea to consider buying it straight away, even if you don’t build anything on the site until later in the future. This stops someone else buying your domain name once your business starts earning a positive reputation.
Step 5: Get an ABN for your Mowing Business
This is a free and easy online process. It helps you: prove who you are; avoid PAYG tax on payments your lawnmowing business receives; claim GST credits; and register an Australian website domain name. For more information, read our article How To Get An ABN For A Lawnmowing Business.
Step 6: Register and Pay for your Mowing Business Name
Once you’ve completed all the preliminary steps, it’s time to register and pay on the ASIC website. At the time of writing, it cost $34 for one year or $78 for three years, which should be easy to recoup in your first week of lawn mowing.
Sound too hard?
If this sounds like too many steps, just take one step at a time.
If you’ve chosen a unique name, each of the checking steps should be quite fast. If you’ve chosen a name that a dozen other Australians already use, then the steps might take a bit longer because you’ll need to stop and think of new business names until you find one that will be unique to you.
Don’t give up. Just think how satisfying you’ll feel when you’ve done all of these and you’re ready to start going out and mowing lawns for money!
Note: The information is for guidance only. Please consult the Australian government websites for the most up-to-date information and requirements.