Business Names

Business Registration

Persons who own, conduct or transact business in Berrien County are required by state statute to file their business names.Registration is done through the County Clerk’s Office in each county in which you plan to do business.

Business names may be registered at:
Vital Records Office at the County Administration Center
701 Main Street
St. Joseph, 49085

Or at the Clerk’s Office at:
South County Building
1205 N. Front Street
Niles, MI49120

This office reserves the right to receive documents but delay filing, until all statutory requirements are met.Businesses filing in Berrien County must use forms provided by this office.

DBA “Doing Business As” or Co-Partnerships

The “Certificate of Assumed Name” and “Certificate of Co-Partnership” are legal documents.Information given on these forms should be as complete and accurate as possible.

Step 1: Check the name

The first step is to confirm that the business name you have selected is acceptable. The Clerk is authorized to reject any assumed name, which is likely to mislead the public, or is similar to other business names as to lead to confusion or deception. The registering of the name places that name on public record indicating that the registrant(s) is/are conducting business under an assumed name. A DBA protects a business from possible name duplications by other businesses.

Search for Business Names Registered in Berrien County

Step 2: Check with the State

This ensures that the business name is not being used by a corporation, limited liability company (“LLC”), limited liability partnership (“LLP”), or non-profit organization, which are only filed at the state level, State of Michigan Business Entity Search. It is your responsibility to check at the state level, local telephone books, online and news media to make certain there is no existing business using the name you have chosen. You can also contact the Corporation Bureau in Lansing at: 517-241-6470.

Step 3: Complete & file the DBA / Co-Partnership form

Registration is good for 5 years (less one day) and is renewable 30 days prior to expiration.Notarization of the certificate is also necessary. This office will provide notarization if an owner has a current valid driver’s license or state-issued ID, with a correct residential address.

On a Certificate of Co-partnership, all owners must sign, but only the main partner must sign in front of the notary. At the time of filing, you will receive 2 certified copies for a DBA certificate and 3 certified copies for a Co-Partnership certificate.

Form
Fee
Certificate of Assumed Name (PDF)
$10
Co-Partnership Certificate (PDF)
$10
Consent to Service Form (PDF)For out-of-state residents
$2
Certificate of Discontinuance (PDF)To change name, dissolve, add or remove owners
$10
Change of Address Amendment Form (PDF)
$5

Notification of Changes

It is your responsibility to notify this office and file the required forms if:

  • The principal address of the business changes.
  • Persons are added or deleted from the business name certificate.
  • The business is dissolved. (Certificate of Discontinuance)

For detailed instructions on these forms, please read the DBA and Co-Partnership Information form (PDF). Additional information can also be found at the State of Michigan’s website for businesses.

Disclaimer

The  County Clerk cannot give legal advice. You may wish to contact your  legal advisor for more information on registering a business.