When your small business is ready to expand, you will likely be looking to register a second (or third, fourth…) business name.
Growth is good. As Australia’s small business partner, we don’t think growth should bear a high cost to entrepreneurial business owners.
That’s why we wanted to let you in on a little secret: you can register multiple business names under one ABN*.
This will not only reduce the cost of registering a business name but also simplify growth by giving you one less administrative task to worry about.
*ABNs (Australian Business Numbers) are commonly used by sole traders and small businesses. You can also register multiple business names under an ACN (Australian Company Number)_, but for now we’re focussing on small businesses. _
Why you might want to register multiple business names
Small business owners might register multiple business names under one ABN to expand, diversify, rebrand or claim their niche.
Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Taylor, a sole trader, owns “Taylor’s Corner” café. The café’s sandwiches are so popular that Taylor decides to expand into catering with a sole trader business called “T-Time Catering”. By registering both business names under the same ABN, Taylor can keep the two ventures separate to avoid confusing customers.
Blake and Ryan run a partnership business called “BRyan’s Bush Adventures”. They decide to offer a premium experience, but the current name doesn’t appeal to high-end customers. Blake and Ryan register the business name “Australia Safari Tours” to advertise to a different customer segment.
There’s just one catch with registering multiple business names
You might have noticed that Taylor expanded into catering as a sole trader, and Blake and Ryan maintained their partnership. That is because you can only register multiple business names under a single ABN by maintaining the same business structure.
If Taylor’s Catering is a partnership, the partners must register a new ABN. Similarly, if Blake and Ryan split up BRyan’s Bush Adventures, they will need to register new sole trader ABNs. In this case, they can trade under their given name or register a business name.
**Benefits of registering multiple business names under one ABN **
There are several benefits to bundling business names:
- Less cost: Every ABN you don’t need to register is $49 in your pocket.
- Less admin hassle: You don’t need to worry about reinstating cancelled ABNs, and with Registry taking care of business name renewal, you can focus on growing your business.
- Better marketing: Registering business names for unique products, services or market segments helps you get closer to your target customer.
- Better growth: With a business name for each customer demographic, you can expand your reach and diversify your customer base to introduce new products or services.
How to register multiple business names in Australia
As we mentioned, all business names registered under a single ABN must operate under the same structure. This goes for ABNs and ACNs; you can register multiple business names under both so long as they retain the same structure.
There are a few other considerations when registering a new business name.
Start with a business name check
Use our easy business name check tool on our home page to see whether your preferred name is available. Enter your preferred name and hit “Register” (don’t worry, you won’t be registering just yet) to see whether you can claim your name.
You should see a message that says: Congratulations! This business name is available to be registered. If not, try again with a different business name.
From there, our self-service portal makes it easy to register business names under your ABN:
- Enter your ABN
- Check the details and entity type are correct
- Enter your details
- Choose the registration period (1 or 3 years)
- Fill in the declaration form
- Pay the fee and click “Checkout”
Your new business name is registered! Keep an eye on your emails for confirmation from us.
Bundling business name renewal
Registered business names must be renewed individually every 12 or 36 months. That means you need to look out for multiple business name renewal notifications if you register multiple business names.
Or you can make life easier and partner with Registry for automatic, hassle-free business name renewal. We take care of all the paperwork and keep you informed at every step, freeing up your time to focus on your growing enterprise.
Does it work the other way around?
You cannot register a new ABN for an existing business name unless you registered the business name before May 28, 2012, when you didn’t need an ABN.
However, you can transfer a business name to another ABN (or ACN). For example, if you buy or sell a business, grow from a sole trader to a registered company, or simply want to change how you do business, transferring your registered business name is possible.
This process is complicated. And there is added complexity for joint ventures, partnerships or trusts.
Get in touch for help, as we might be able to find a simpler solution to avoid growing pains.
Ready to register your new business name?
Use our easy search tool to check whether your business name is available and get registered in minutes.
Partnering with Registry means stress-free business name registration and renewal, support from a local team, tailored advice from an ASIC Registered Agent, and user-friendly online business services.