How To Register a Business's DBA Name
(a.k.a Trade Name, Assumed Name, Fictitious Name)

How to Register a Business’s DBA Name

Congratulations! You’re starting your own business. The next step is to decide what name you want to use to represent your business to the public. You should give your DBA name a lot of thought. It is the first thing potential customers will see and the basis of their first impression. The DBA name is more important to your business’s success than you think.

Choose a Name Carefully

You can only choose a name and register it once. Make sure you pick one that will serve your business long-term. Follow some simple tips that suit your business and will appeal to consumers. For example, it should be easy to spell, pronounce, and remember. This is one area where you want to limit your creativity to something easy to understand. Once you have a favorite name in mind, you’re ready to start the filing process for your new DBA.

What Is a DBA Name?

DBA stands for “Doing Business As.” A DBA is also called a trade, assumed, or fictitious name. Once you choose and register your DBA, it will become how your business is known both legally and by consumers. It is ideal if you are the sole proprietor and don’t want to use your own identity. Instead, you can give your business a unique persona that will potentially help grow your brand.

Before registering your business name, you must check if it is available. When you use EFileDBA to register a DBA, the system automatically searches by state, county, and local databases to ensure your chosen name is available.

If you don’t register the business name, it will legally fall under your name. However, if the business is a corporation or a limited liability company, the legal name is the business entity that owns it. In addition, you cannot include Corp or LLC in the title if your business is not registered as a corporation or LLC.

You will need to use either your social security number or an employer identification number (EIN) to identify your business. Applying for an EIN or Federal Tax ID is a good idea. Since it isn’t linked to your social security number, it gives you more privacy and security. 

Filing a DBA


Each state has its own forms and requirements for registering a business name. Depending on the state where you will operate the business, you might need to file the paperwork with a local, county, or state agency. When you file, you must also pay the required fee.

Another difference among the states is that DBA registrations must be renewed after a certain amount of time. Check the requirements for your state carefully. You might also need to update your filing if your business information changes, such as the address or other contact information.


The Cost of Registering a DBA


Depending on your state, the filing fee for registering a DBA might be anywhere from $5 to as much as $100. However, the fines for failing to register can cost thousands of dollars. Registering businesses is one way that states protect consumers. Only five states, including Arizona, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Alabama, and Rhode Island, don’t require you to register a DBA.

While the requirements vary, every other state requires you to register for a DBA. It provides important information in case of consumer complaints. Even if you want to register multiple DBAs, it’s more affordable than failing to register and paying the fines.


After You File 


Once you’ve filed the paperwork and submitted the filing fee, you might want to file for a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A trademark will protect your business name from being used by someone else.

If you’re worried that you won’t get the filing process right, you do have other options. Save time & money by e-filing your DBA name with EFileDBA. Avoid costly mistakes and ensure your documents are filed with the required state and local government agencies. EFileDBA will even print your DBA name in a local newspaper if required by your state.


Does Every New Business Need to Register a DBA?


You’ll need to register a DBA if you plan to use a different name than yours or that of a business partner. You might also need a DBA to open a business account if your bank requires it. There are lots of reasons for filing a DBA, including:

   • A new client requires a DBA name before they will give your company a job or an order.

   • The current name doesn’t reflect a new area or niche you are just entering.

   • You operate multiple (sister) businesses or websites.

   • Your business sells multiple products with unique names.

While registering a DBA name doesn’t make it a business, it does give it an identity that people will grow to recognize. You might even have multiple DBAs for different companies or areas of business. However, you can’t use the same DBA for more than one LLC.

One type of business that doesn’t need a DBA is an LLC. For example, if an LLC is named Barry Gibbons Plumbing Parts LLC, this is how the name is written. There is no need to put the DBA on business cards and receipts. The same is true for partnerships and corporations. If the business owner wants to drop the LLC on the name, he must register a DBA.


Does Having a DBA Benefit Me?


If you are looking to rebrand an existing business without forming a limited liability company or a new corporation, you can register a DBA instead. Sometimes, business owners do this to disguise bad publicity or change consumers’ perception of the company.

Businesses can also benefit from owning multiple DBAs. It allows them to sell products under a variety of business names. Consumers have the false sense of choosing from different companies when all of their options are really from the same business.

As a sole proprietor, a DBA gives you the benefit of anonymity. You can build your brand and market to your target audience without using your personal name. These are just some of the benefits that make filing a DBA a good idea.


File Your DBA Online


You can hire a lawyer to take care of the process, but you should expect to pay a lot more than the filing fee. Another option is to have the dedicated specialists at EFileDBA take care of the entire process for you. Contact us if you have questions. We’re here to help anytime!