This month in our FAQ series, we tackle the most commonly asked questions about one of the most popular entity types – the DBA.
Starting a business can be overwhelming, and one of the first and most important steps is choosing a business entity. A DBA, which stands for “Doing Business As”, is also known as a fictitious business name or assumed business name. A sole proprietor can file a DBA in order to operate under their preferred business name, or a DBA can be filed underneath an existing corporation or LLC in order to advertise as or accept payments under an alternative name.
Nellie’s DBA FAQ List
Below are some of the most common questions and answers our CEO Nellie Akalp receives regarding the DBA:
Q: If I’m a sole proprietor, do I need to file a DBA?
A: It depends. If you are operating your business as a sole proprietor, you’ll need to file a DBA to operate your business with a name that’s different than your own personal legal name or last name. For example, if you want to start a gardening business with the name “Spring Flowers Landscaping” then you’ll need to file a DBA to be able to use that name.
But if you’re a sole proprietor and are going to use your own personal legal name or last name for your business, then a DBA isn’t necessary. In addition, you don’t need to file a DBA to use a business name that includes your surname and a combination of words that accurately describes your business. For example, if your name is Jane Doe and you have a landscaping business, you do not need a DBA to call your business “Doe’s Landscaping.”
Q: If my business is structured as an LLC or Corporation, do I need a DBA?
A: If you filed to become a corporation or LLC, then you’ve already registered your business name with the state and don’t need a DBA to use the official name on the filing paperwork. However, you do need to file a DBA to use any variations from the official name on your LLC/incorporation paperwork.
Q: When do I need to file my DBA?
A: You shouldn’t conduct any business under a fictitious business name until filing a DBA for that name. Most banks typically won’t let you open a business bank account (and accept checks to your fictitious business name) until you have filed for a DBA.
Q: Is there a difference “fictitious business name” and Doing Business As (DBA)?
A: No. Fictitious business name, DBA, and assumed business name all mean the same thing.
Q: If I file for a DBA, does this prevent others from using my business name?
A: No. In most states, a DBA doesn’t guarantee exclusive rights to a name. When you file for an LLC or corporation, this can give you exclusive rights in your own state. You can also file for a trademark to guarantee exclusive rights to the name within your line of business in all 50 states.
Do you need help filing a DBA or have a question about another aspect of starting a business? Call the CorpNet.com team today for a free business consultation at 888.449.2638.