A DBA, also known as a sole proprietorship, “doing business as” or a Fictitious Business Name (FBN), is a business that is not separate from its owner and simply operates under a different name than the owner’s name. If your new business will be a sole proprietorship (or a partnership if your company has more than one owner), you will need to file a DBA so that you can “do business as” a name other than your personal name. You also need a DBA to open a bank account in your business name (so you can be paid with checks payable to your business name).
You will also need to file a DBA if your company is already set up as a corporation or an LLC and you want to do business under a different name. For example, if your company name is Platinum Consulting LLC and you also want to operate as Platinum Consultants, you will need to file a DBA. Please note that in this instance, a DBA is not a way to form a corporation or LLC for less money. You must complete the formation of your corporation or LLC before filing for the DBA if you want to operate under a different name.
Start the DBA filing process by choosing your fictitious business name. DBA’s are usually filed at the County Clerk’s office or at the state level, so you will need to know which applies to your location. Once you know who handles DBA filings in your area, you can usually perform a name search with that office. Then you will need to file the DBA paperwork to register your business name, pay the necessary filing fee and satisfy any additional requirements of your county or state before your DBA filing is complete. Many counties, for instance, require that you publish a newspaper announcement to notify the public of your intent to “do business as” another name.
Don’t get bogged down with trying to figure out the DBA requirements of your county or state (there are over 19,000 counties in the USA!). MyNewCompany.com offers a complete DBA filing service including name verification and step-by-step instructions for any after-formation requirements.