FAQs about DBAs, Fictitious, and Assumed Business Names
DBA, or "doing business as," is the practice of using a fictitious or assumed business name under which to trade or do business. The purpose of a DBA registration system is to disclose to the public the true owner of a business.
If you have a registered DBA, you can advertise, accept payments, set up a business checking account, and create a business phone listing under the DBA without having to use your personal name or create a new business entity. If you plan on doing business under another name, you'll need the proper legal documentation in order to avoid being charged with fraud. Fortunately, it's easy and inexpensive to register your DBA.
Situations where you might need or want to file for DBA include the following:
More than one person is involved in your business (ex: Sandford and Sons).
Your business uses just a first name, like Annie's Diner, as opposed to your full name.
You have a sole proprietorship and want to use a business name without creating a formal legal entity like a corporation, LLC or partnership. Sole proprietorships are often the cheapest way to do business, and having a DBA allows you to keep your personal information/accounts separate by opening bank accounts and getting phone listings under this business name.
You're a single entity, like a corporation or LLC, that needs to operate multiple businesses, but you don't want to create separate entities for each business. For example, your company runs a chain of record stores, but you want to avoid the time and expense of incorporating each store. By incorporating your company under a more generic name, and creating more specific DBAs for each business, you can control the costs of your expanding business.
To register a DBA, fictitious, or assumed business name, you may need to do one or more of the following, depending on your state:
Research to find out what the filing requirements are, if any, in your state.
Search your state’s business names database to make sure the name you want is not already taken.
Fill out and submit the proper forms or paperwork and pay the correct fee.
Publish a notice in a local newspaper stating that you are doing business under an assumed name.
Rocket Lawyer business specialists can help you through the DBA process by determining the filing requirements in your state, running a thorough name search for you, helping you through the document filing process, and making your documents accessible to you online, anytime and anywhere.
If you choose your name well and use it often, your DBA can be a really valuable marketing tool.