DBA stands for “doing business as.” It is the name you choose for your business. It is different from your personal name, the official name of your corporation or LLC, and your partners' names. It is also known as an assumed name, trade name or fictitious name.

Why Is It Important?

  • It tells who owns the business.

  • It lets you work under another name.

  • You can open a business bank account and accept money.

  • All government filings require it.

Use DBA if:

  • You do not want to run a business under your own name

  • You already have a corporation or LLC set up, and you want to do business under another name

Deadline

It is best to file before you start using the name. Some localities require you to file within 30 to 60 days after you start using it.

Examples:

If your name is John Brown and your business name is Brown's Excavating, you would register your business as John Brown doing business as Brown's Excavating.

If your corporate name is Timbercreek Trading LLC and you want to start a specific line of business, you may register the doing business as name of Timbercreek Logging.

Common Mistakes

  • Make sure another company is not using the name.

  • You cannot use Inc., LLC or Corp. unless it is in the name of the entity starting the business.

  • Oftentimes you have to file with a state agency in addition to or instead of your local county. Some states also have a publication requirement. Be careful to check the regulations in your state.