If you’ve decided that your business would benefit from a DBA (an abbreviation for “Doing Business As”), you’ll want to know more about the process. Read ahead for more information on the filing procedures you’ll need to follow in order to secure a DBA. We’ll also explain a few more details about a DBA so that you’ll be informed as you start this process.

A quick summary

A DBA will allow your business to operate under a specific name.

If your business is currently an informal organization, without a DBA you are not legally allowed to represent your business under anything else other than your personal name. A DBA will allow you to market your business in a more professional way, under a name that fits the type of business you’re running. Also, operating under a “business name” as opposed to a personal name adds legitimacy to your business. You may also need a DBA before certain institutions will allow you to open an account.

If you’ve already adopted a more formal business structure, a DBA may still benefit you. Your product or service could be marketed differently to different demographics. Having a DBA would allow you to reach each group with targeted marketing.

The process

Where to file
Depending on where your business has been formed or incorporated, you may need to file for your DBA at either the state, county, or possibly even the city level. It should also be noted that you would need to acquire a DBA to operate locally if your business was established in a foreign state.  

How to file
The first step when filing for a DBA is to do a preliminary check for name availability in the jurisdiction in which you will be filing. If the name is available, you will then need to fill out the required paperwork with the appropriate agency, and then pay any related fees. Some jurisdictions will also require that you publish a notice (or notices) of your company’s new alias.  

What name should you use?
A DBA cannot be used to mislead the general public in any way. Because of this, you cannot use any terms that would lead the public to believe that you operate as a business structure under which you have not officially filed. For example, a sole proprietorship may not use the terms “company” or “incorporated” in its DBA, as this would send the message that the business was formally incorporated when it in fact is not.  

Are there any publication requirements?
Some states do require that any business that acquires a DBA run a public notice in a local newspaper. Depending on where you are located, the exact details will vary. Our DBA filing service includes the fulfillment of any publications that your local jurisdiction requires.

The limits of a DBA

Do DBAs ever expire?
In many areas, DBAs do not have any set expiration dates. If you are located in an area where they do, you will receive official notice well in advance, and typically be given the option to renew.  

How many DBAs can I have?
A business can have any number of DBAs. As long as none of the names violate any restrictions, and are properly acquired, you are free to file without limit.  

Swyft can help!

Does it seem like securing a DBA might be beneficial for your business? Our experienced professionals are here to talk you through your options, and then help you put your plans in motion! Contact us today!