A company wishing to trade under a different name than the legally registered name must register a DBA (Doing Business As). This is also referred to as a trade name, fictitious name or assumed name.
In many cases, companies registered as a sole proprietorship will register a DBA so as not to use their own names to trade with. Companies may also choose a DBA in order to rebrand or diversify their existing brand.
Whatever the reason, it is not a difficult process provided the state requirements are known. The regulations vary from state to state and will dictate where the DBA must be filed. In some cases a business may be required to file with the state and county in one state, but only need to file with the county in another state.
The filing fee can cost anything from $10 – $100 and the business should receive a DBA certificate which enables them to trade under the assumed name legally. Failure to register can result in penalties of thousands of dollars. The registration process is set out in the below easy steps.
1. Choose a state
It will depend on where the business is located where the DBA must be filed. Some states may require the business to file with more than one government organization where others may only require you to file with the county. It may also be required to publish the DBA filing with a local newspaper to inform the public, but again it will depend on the state requirements.
States such as New Mexico, South Carolina and Kansas do not allow for a DBA to be filed.
2. Choose a name
Choosing a business name can be frustrating, but tools such as name generators can assist if the business is struggling to come up with a name. It is important to choose a name that is unique and not similar to a name already in use. This can be checked and verified with the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System if a name has already been trademarked.
Once a name has been chosen, it is advisable to check if the domain name is available. Even if the business is not ready to launch a website yet, a domain name can be registered in advance to secure it. This prevents other companies from being able to use the domain.
It is also sensible to set up a business email to ensure the proper communication tools are set up. It also gives a sense of professionalism and that a business is well-established and trusted.
3. Register the DBA
A business must file for registration in the state it is based and will operate in. The state guidelines will determine if the DBA must be filed with one or more government organizations.
It is important to have an identification number when filing. A social security number for sole proprietors can be used, but is not recommended as it puts the owner at risk for identity theft.
It must also be noted that there are 13 states that do not require filing for a DBA. These states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. This can relate to confusion when two businesses have the same or similar names therefore it is still advisable to register a DBA even in the above mentioned states.
After registering a DBA, a business may also want to register a trademark. A trademark is a brand name, logo or slogan of the business that protects the intellectual property of the business. In most cases it takes about a year for the trademark to be registered and the certificate to be issued. The registration process must be done through the U.S Patent and Trademark Office.
If you are looking to file a DBA now, follow the link and start the process right away.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A0mleD6SKQ&t=281s.