What Is a DBA, and Does Your Business Need One?

What Is a DBA, and Does Your Business Need One?

February 14, 2022

If you plan on opening a business, registering for a business DBA is something you should consider. While you’ll be facing plenty of legal decisions as you start your business, unless you’re a lawyer, you’re probably unfamiliar with many of the terms and acronyms you’ll likely encounter—and DBA is just one of them.

What is a DBA, and why would you need one? Read on to discover everything you need to know about this common term and whether it might be something you need for your business.

What is a DBA?

DBA is an acronym that means “doing business as,” and it refers to your business’ assumed, trade or fictitious name. When you file for a DBA, you can conduct business under a name other than your own, which protects your privacy. When you form a business, the legal business name is your own name by default unless you register with a DBA. After you register for a DBA, your full name is not legally attached to the business name.

What businesses need DBAs?

Not every business needs to be formed with a DBA in place. A combination of the business’s legal entity, local requirements and your own preference should guide your decision to register a DBA. Here are some DBA guidelines for common business types:

  • Sole proprietorships and partnerships: Since these business types are unincorporated, you’ll need to file a DBA if you’re opening a company and want to operate under a name other than you or your business partner’s legal name.
  • Franchises: While there’s no requirement for franchise owners to register their business as a DBA, it often helps them establish their identity as a local business.
  • Other legal entities: Corporations, limited partnerships and LLCs usually don’t need to register under a DBA, but it’s still smart to register a DBA name so the business can operate under a name other than that on the incorporation documents.

Tips for filing a DBA

If you’ve decided to file a DBA, here are some tips to make the process as easy as possible:

  • You’ll need to provide a certificate of good standing to register for a DBA as an LLC or corporation.
  • You’ll need to pay a fee to register a DBA. While you can pay online in some states, others require a money order or cashier’s check. States also differ in terms of their notary requirements. Some states let you submit all paperwork online, while others require notarized documents.
  • You’ll need to stay on top of renewal requirements if they’re applicable in the state where you’re registering. Don’t let your DBA lapse—it can have severe consequences on your business from a marketing perspective.

Interested in learning more about whether registering a business DBA is right for your personal situation? Talk to the experts at Kedean’s Generation today. We can help you register your business, including DBAs, taking the complex process and mountain of paperwork off your hands so you can focus on the success of your new venture.

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