A DBA simply stands for “doing business as” and can also be distinguished as a trade name, fictitious name, or an assumed name which gives you the ability to conduct your business in a name other than your legal one. The process of filing for one is not complicated, and we’ll take you through the steps one by one.
There are some important aspects to consider when filing for a DBA, and one common misconception is that a DBA is a business structure, but it is not. It offers no personal asset protection, unlike LLCs and corporations.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships also have the option to conduct business under a DBA name rather than their surnames whereas LLCs and corporations tend to use one in order to expand their brand.
What is the process for filing a DBA?
The process is really simple and is composed of only three steps. Dependent on the state where the business is operating, the costs vary from $10 – $100. Other incidentals may be a publishing fee in some states, but these are not obligatory in all states.
The three steps are as follows:
1. Choose which state your business is in.
It’s vital to remember that filing a DBA is different in every state as the guidelines and laws vary. In some states, you may need to register your DBA with the state government whereas in another state you might have to register with the county or city government.
Some states even require that you register your DBA with multiple levels of government.
2. Make sure that your name is unique.
The name that you choose cannot already be in use by another company, nor can it be too similar to one being used by another business.
As before, every state has different rules and these need to be abided by. TRUiC also offers step-by-step guides to elaborate on this aspect. Furthermore, should you require some more aid in picking a name for your business, TRUiC is there for you and has a guide expressly for that purpose.
In order to stay ahead of the curb, it’s useful to set up your domain name (URL) as quickly as possible so that another business doesn’t get to it first. Another great idea is to establish a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google G Suite is one example of a provider of a business email service that is accompanied by other worthwhile tools such as word processing and spreadsheets.
You really want a business name that echoes your brand and doesn’t stand in contrast to the business’ operations.
3. Finally, register your DBA in your state.
Contingent on where your business is situated and its structure, you’ll have to file your DBA with the state or county/city clerk’s office. Numerous states do necessitate registering your DBA with multiple levels of government.
Why is it a good idea to file a DBA?
According to the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), not only does a DBA give you the ability to operate your business using an identity that’s different to your personal name or your established business entity name, but getting a DBA and an Employer Identification Number (EIN) gives you the opportunity to open a business bank account.
Seeing as numerous businesses are allowed to use the same DBA in one state, you have more options to choose from and there is more transparency in the business purpose. The SBA highlights the elements of filing for a DBA and 3 other ways to register your business name. Should this process seem too much, you can always hire a service to do it all for you. TRUiC offers a more detailed analysis of each state’s requirements, and provides not only the answer to the question of what is a DBA?, but also more information on your state’s specific rules when it comes to filing for a DBA. They even provide a list of DBA filing services with prices ranging from $79 + state fees – $129 + state fees.