What is DBA – Doing Business As?

Doing Business As (DBA) is the use of a fictitious business name to trade under in business. DBA allows a person to legally do business under a different name, without have to create a completely new business entity. With DBA, you are able to advertise, accept payments and represent yourself under a fictitious name. Filing for DBA is very inexpensive and easy to accomplish.

The exact rules of the name you can use vary from state to state and from country to country. Before proceeding, you should check with your local business authority. In some states, you can either use part of your name or your full name and a description of the services you provide. If you intend to use more than one person in the title of the business or if you are just using your first name, for example John’s Radioshack, then you must file for a DBA.

A DBA allows you to use a typical business name without the need for a legal entity, such as that used in a corporation or a partnership, or a limited liability company (LLC). The DBA also allows you to open up a business phone listing and a business checking account under your business name. It is the least expensive way to do business under a legal business name.

One of the main benefits of a DBA is the cost saving aspect. If you intend to open a chain of businesses, you can set up a corporation with a general name and then file a DBA for all the other businesses in your chain. It is a very expensive process to file and maintain one business at a time, but the DBA costs a fraction of the price when filing and can help you control costs as you expand your business.

The process of obtaining a DBA varies from state to state. In some states, you must register your assumed name with the Secretary of State or some other state agency. Registration is also handled in some states at the county level. Each county may have different forms and fees for registering a DBA.

The process is quite simple; you must first search through a database to make sure the name is not in use. You then submit a form with a filing fee; this can be anywhere from 10 to 50 US dollars (USD). Some states may also require you to publish in a newspaper that you are now doing business under an assumed name. The correct use of a DBA can be turned into a successful branding tool for very little cost. The most important thing to remember when filing a DBA is to pick a great and memorable name.

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