August 29, 2015

Does Your Business Need a DBA?

Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind those seemingly endless listings of ‘Fictitious Business Name’ entries in the newspaper classifieds? Do you know if your business needs to file one? Read on to learn all about the DBA or Fictitious Business name.

fictitious business name

Fictitious Business Name: An Overview

Sometimes called a Fictitious Business Name, Doing Business As (DBA), assumed business name, or trade name, these filings let the public know the true owner of a business. Note that I’ll be using DBA and Fictitious Business Name interchangeably throughout this article.

The DBA or Fictitious Business Name designation was created as a form of consumer protection, to prevent unscrupulous business owners from operating under a different name to avoid legal trouble. When a business files a DBA, it’s typically printed in the local newspaper, so the community can see who is behind the business.

Who needs to file a DBA?

There are two circumstances when your business needs to file a DBA registration:

1: If you are a sole proprietor or general partnership conducting business using a name that’s different from your own name. For example, if Jane Doe wants to open a bookstore called Books for Cooks, she would need to file a DBA. In some places, you’re able to use your name plus a description of your product/service without filing a DBA. For example, if Jane Doe wanted to open a bookstore called Jane Doe’s Cookbooks, she may not have to file a DBA. If your business name implies a group (i.e. The Doe Group) or you just use your first name (i.e. Jane’s Cookbooks), you’ll have to file a DBA.

2: If you have incorporated or formed a limited liability company (LLC) and are operating the business under a name that is different from the name of the company or LLC. For example, let’s say that Jane Doe Cookbooks, LLC also wants to operate under the name, the LLC would need to file for a DBA for Likewise, if Jane Doe wanted to expand into cooking supplies, then Jane Doe Cookbooks, LLC would need to file a DBA to do business as Jane Doe Cooking Supplies.

The benefits of a DBA

The main benefit of filing a DBA registration is it will keep you in compliance with the law. For sole proprietors, a DBA lets them use a typical business name without creating a formal legal entity (i.e. corporation or LLC). This is typically the least expensive way to legally conduct business under a different business name.

Filing a DBA gives the sole proprietor the freedom to use a business name what helps market their products or services, as well as create a separate professional business identity. However, be advised that a DBA doesn’t protect your business name from being used by others. For that, you will need to seek trademark protection.

For sole proprietors, filing a DBA is required to open a bank account and receive payment in the name of your business. Most banks will not allow you to open an account without receiving a copy of your filed DBA (for this reason, it’s best to file your DBA from the start!).

For an LLC or corporation, a DBA lets the company operate multiple businesses without having to create separate legal entities for each business. For example, if you plan on opening a series of websites, boutique shops, or restaurants, you might want to set up one corporation with a relatively generic name and then file a DBA for each website, shop, or restaurant. This will help you control costs and paperwork, while still expanding your business.

How to File a DBA

Specific requirements for filing a DBA vary from state to state, county to county. In some states, you register your DBA with the State Secretary of State or other state agency. In some states, registration is handled at the county level and each county may have different forms and fees for the process.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a chart outlining the different requirements for fictitious name filings state by state. Some states also require that you publish a notice in your local newspaper and then submit proof that you have fulfilled the publication requirement. Of course, specific publication requirements vary. Turning to a professional legal document filing service can take the complexity out of the process and make sure that you’re following your county and state requirements to a T.

Deadline to File

DBAs should be filed before any business is conducted using the fictitious business name. Some jurisdictions will allow you to file within a short time period of first using the name. However, since a DBA is usually a prerequisite to opening a bank account for the business or using the name in contracts, it is best to get it done upfront. It’s an affordable process and will keep your business in good legal standing from the start.

Fictitious Concept Photo via Shutterstock

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Nellie Akalp

Nellie Akalp Nellie Akalp is CEO of CorpNet, her second incorporation filing service based on her strong passion to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in starting their business. Free guides, advice and videos on small business legal topics are available at her Small Biz Corner.

259 Reactions

  1. So basically, this rule is to protect consumers from being deceived and you just need to file if the name of the legal entity is different from the name consumers see?

    • Hello,

      All I want to know is how a business is suppose to write the name of the company if they have a dba example;

      Does it go like this: ABC Co. dba DEF co.
      ABC Co.
      dba DEF co.

      Not sure how the correct way should be when writing letter or email.

      Please help.

  2. Hi Robert – Filing a DBA gives the sole proprietor the freedom to use a business name what helps market their products or services, as well as create a separate professional business identity. However, be advised that a DBA doesn’t protect your business name from being used by others. For that, you will need to seek trademark protection.

    Also, if you are going to conduct business under a name different than your name and accept payments under that name, the bank will require you to file a DBA as well…make sense? Please reach out with any other questions – Nellie

    • It is interesting that a person can create a DBA with the county in the same name of a corporation listed with the Secretary of State.

    • Please help me, I’m confused. My husband is buying a business under my name and filing DBA for me, but the investment LLC is under his son from first marriage . What are the disadvantages for me!?

      • Hi Lili,
        If the DBA is filed underneath the existing LLC, the DBA will be protected by the LLC. As far as any disadvantages, it definitely sounds like you could benefit by speaking with an attorney.
        Thanks for reading and commenting!

      • Thank u so much for ur reply.
        Will I be an equal owner of new business if Llc is under somebody else’s name and my name on DBA?

      • Lulu,

        The owner of the DBA and the owner of the LLC are independent from each other. For example, one person can be the owner of the LLC while the other person owns the DBA (even if the DBA is owned by the LLC).

    • hi quick question if I am a sole Proprietor and i registrar with my county clerks office, can i put property such as a vehicle in the company name?

      • Hi Kiki,

        Rules and regulations regarding sole proprietorship vary greatly because they are registered on such a local level. I would recommend speaking with the county clerk in the county your sole proprietorship is registered in, and they are likely to provide you with the information you need.

        I hope that helps!

    • Hello. I just formed a DBA a few months. I have an online writing business and I plan to sell a business opportunity to individulals who visit my website. I also plan to advertise the business opportunity on various websites. I was wondering if it is legal for me to do this under a DBA as long as the buyer doesn’t use my business name. I look forward to your response. Thank you

    • A registered DBA name in the state of Ohio protects any one from using that name in Ohio but there is no protection outside of the state of Ohio. Name protection laws vary by State.

  3. In my opinion, especially in this day and age, a DBA is NOTHING more than a way to extract money form a business. No rights are protected or otherwise of value and the licensing entity sells your name out to panderers that smother you with sales pitches. I have been in business for over thirty years and can speak from knowledge and experience. The IRS and state taxing authority know who you are and its not anyone else’ business. There is NO reason a bank needs to know – who goes to the bank when your check fails – isn’t that shutting the barn after the cows ran away? More bureaucracy!

  4. If I have two home offices in different counties (Orange and LA county), do I need to file a DBA in both counties?

  5. i have a question, i filled for a fictitious name for my business and its $99 leak detection LLC do i still have to file for a D.B.A?

    • Hi Gary – If you are going to be conducting business under any other name other than the name of the LLC, then one must file a DBA under the LLC for each variation of the business name EX. If your Business name is ABC, LLC and you would like to simply use the name ABC without the LLC designation, then you must file a DBA for the name “ABC” under the LLC without the LLC designation …

  6. Hi Nellie, I’ve owned a clothing brand for just over 9 years (It’s an LLC). More and more often I’m asked by friends or people that we do business with to screenprint shirts/garments for them. My business partner and I have talked about it and we want to be able to offer that service, but under a different name than our clothing brand (so as not to create confusion as to what we do… we don’t want people asking ‘are you guys a clothing brand or a screen printer?’) We’re currently wondering whether or not we should file for a completely separate business license (probably a new LLC) for the new screenprinting business, or if we should run it as a DBA under our existing clothing brand. We’ve weighed out the pros/cons and although it seems simpler to us to separate the two, our banker, bookkeeper, and accountant have all suggested that filing it as a DBA would make more sense and not over-complicate things (even though that sounds more confusing to us). Our thought right now is to start it up as a DBA and if it’s grown into a large part of the business within a year or two to separate it into it’s own entity, but I’d love your advice! Secondly, if we are to file the screenprinting company as a DBA, does it make more sense to open a separate checking account for it, or should we use our existing LLC’s checking account and separate everything out when doing our bookkeeping? Any advice you could give me would be MUCH appreciated. Thanks!

  7. Hello, im in the process of starting my own taxi company i have filed for an LLC but do i really need to file for a DBA since the name of the company will be the same name displayed to the customers but i just wont put the LLC at the end of the name. Also how can i trademark my logo? i have designed one myself and i would like to trade mark my business name and my logo?

  8. I filed an LLC back in Sept 2012 and this LLC owns a magazine. The magazine although not published yet, is not the same name as the LLC. I know this is probably redundant to you by now but, should I file a dba for the actual name of the magazine? Another quick question, am I able to have more than one DBA under one LLC? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Stacy –

      Thanks for reading my post and commenting! You must file a Dba for the magazine under the LLC if you plan to have the magazine under the LLC. You can have multiple dba’s under one LLC. If you have questions, we can assist you no problem. I am currently out of the office, but you can call Katie Hendrix at 888-449-2638 Ext. 110 and she will gladly assist.

      Thanks again!

  9. Hi Nellie,

    If a corporation has the incorporated name Systems Solutions, Inc. would be correct to assume they can also go by the name SSI since SSI represents the ACRN for the business or would a DBA need to be done? We just want to be able to shorten our name on some documentation. The services we performed would not change nor would anything else.

  10. This article answered SO many questions for me! Thanks! This is probably going to sound like a strange question, but I am getting an e-commerce site going (on Etsy) AND a local freelance videographer company in my area–AND I really like a certain name. If I want each company to have the same name, in essence, could I form “ABC LLC” and then file two DBAs as “ABC Antiques” and “ABC VIDEOGRAPHY”? Or will that just complicate my life out of existence? Haha! Thanks in advance!

  11. So I filed for an ,LLC and was rejected due to it being to close to another name. I want an called abc studios and they have one called abc studio so it was to close. Can I do DBA on this issue or should I try and file for “The abc studios” or what would be my best option to do.

  12. Hi…. i want to start a e-commerce online website selling t-shirts etc…. do i need to register my online company entity and name in order to do bussiness?…. i understand that applying for a DBA is a county or state thing so since im talking about online bussiness then im a little lost… any gudiance would be appreciated…thx

  13. Hi,
    Do I need to file DBA form if for example my company name is Mike LLC. and I want to sell online and my webs site is
    I will still issue invoices under Mike LLC.

  14. Hello Nellie, I hope you can help me with this question. I own an adult business that is an s corp. We are intimates lingerie of Naples, INC. Just for publicity sake I use Intimates Adult Boutique sometimes when I advertise. Because it send a better message of what we sell. Should I or do I need to do this as a DBA. If I did do an DBA does mean I have to change the name on my business license or anything like a checking account or can that all remain under my s corp name. Please advise me. Thank you, Best regards Tim Sizemore

    • Hi Tim,

      Thanks for reading my post and glad you found it informative. In response to your inquiry:

      I cannot give you legal advice as is not a legal service. As such, my response will be more of a general guidance for you to guide you in the right direction.

      Generally speaking, if one is conducting business as a corporation and conducts business under any variation of the name other than the name of the corporation, then the corporation must file a DBA under alternate name or names that it is conducting business under.

      Upon filing of the DBA under the alternative name, one does not have to change the name on the business license or anything like a checking account as all of those accounts should be under the name of the corporation. You can however, take the filing receipts of the DBA filings with the new names and offer them to the bank so that the bank now has knowledge of the other variation names as well.

      Let me know if this makes sense and if I can assist you in filing the DBA for you as we offer the filing service in all 50 states.

  15. Hi Nellie,
    We have an S-Corp with a simple name followed by Inc.. We would like to do a DBA with a name that better describes the services that we are currently providing. My question is do we keep the Inc., drop it, or is that our choice?
    Thank you so much for taking the time to help so many people navigate this confusing topic!

  16. Hello,
    I’m starting a company to design, manufacture, and sell a niche product, initially online through a reserved domain but most likely will expand through traditional retail channels.

    Can I file for a DBA now (to create some credential to conduct business with) before forming the LLC of the same name at a later time? The main reason for this is simply to defer the higher cost of forming the LLC until the business is determined to be financially viable. What risks should I be considering. Thanks in advance.

  17. I liked article. So, its mean can I do my business on my name but i still won’t need to create dba in NYC. But when You want create online credit card company they ask all you business info which you do not have.

  18. Hi Nellie,
    thanks for posting valuable information regarding LLC’s & DBA’s. I have registered a company in DE but live in NJ. I need to file DBA to conduct business under different name. This DBA will only be doing business online initially, I don’t have any physical office anywhere. Question 1 – where do I file DBA ? In DE and in the county where the Registered agent’s office is OR in NJ Middlesex County where I live ?
    Question 2 – Do I have to file DBA in every USA county ?? I possibly cannot file in all counties in 50 states!!!!

    Please advise asap,

  19. I am in the state of Colorado and have an LLC can I register more than one tradename or DBA under that LLC?

  20. Hi Nellie, my partners and I started a business as a general partnership and filed a DBA in a California county. We now want to start separate LLC’s and still work together in the same location using the DBA that we registered for the general partnership. Do each of our LLC’s have to registered a new DBA using the old name or do we also have to register new DBA’s? We really love the name we chose for our original DBA and have agreed that we would like to continue using that name if possible.

  21. If I operate a small business under my Legal Name and don’t file a DBA, can I still claim all my expenses on my personal tax return to run this business?

    • Hi Sandra –

      Apologies for my late response! To answer your question, a DBA filing is only for the purposes of doing business under a different name other than your own. Regardless of what name you operate under, as a sole proprietor all expenses are claimed on the personal tax return of the business owners.

      Hope that helps!

  22. I am going to get a credit card for my newly formed LLC. Two questions: 1- The whole name of the company will not fit on the space allotted on the card. The last letters “LLC” don’t fit. Is that still ok? 2- The terms of the new credit card state that if $2,000 are spent in the first 90 days then a significant amount of airline points will be awarded. I don’t think the LLC will have that many expenses in the first 90 days. Can I have the LLC charge things that I would normally pay for on my personal credit card and then write a personal check to pay the LLC back?

    • Hi Bruce –

      Thanks for reading my post and commenting!

      As long as the account is under the LLC the name on the card shouldn’t be a problem. Also in most cases the individual card holders name is also on the credit card. In regards to charging the card for personal expenses I would speak to a tax or financial professional.

      Thank you!

  23. Nellie, you mentioned that a DBA doesn’t protect your business name from being used by others and you will need to seek trademark protection. Now you stated this while talking about sole proprietors. Does this apply to limited liability companies?

    • Hi Bernadette –

      Thanks for reading my post and commenting! :)

      An LLC name is protected only in that state that the business is formed in. Trademark protection protects your name or mark on a federal basis.

      Hope that helps!
      Thank you!

  24. Nellie, we need help please! A friend and I are starting a business in California. This is a first time for both of us and we are lost and need some advice. We have no idea what we file as. LLC? We are wanting to file a DBA but don’t know if we need to file as an LLC first. We have tried researching online for a step-by-step for starting a business and cannot find anything really helpful. Any advice you can give to point us in the right direction would be great. Thanks!

    • Hi Natalie –

      I’d love to help you guys out! Apologies for my delayed response!

      Maybe a phone call would be best for something like this as we can get more detail from you. Please contact Amanda Beren at 888-449-2638 Ext. 105 and she can get you guys pointed in the right direction.


  25. Nellie, I have a virtual business (welborn southern health options.)At this time it is a referral service but all of my financial transactions are made through my name not my business and I am paid by 1099 as an independent contractor. Do I need to register my virtual site name?

    • Hi Catherine –

      A name is registered for the purpose of doing business under a name that is not yours. Its always smart to have the name registered in the event someone pays you under your business name and not your personal name etc.

      If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out via email or phone anytime! All contact info is on my website:


  26. If a make a LLC and want to use a DBA how could I display the DBA on business headings and advertising?

    If I was “ABC,LLC” and I would DBA a name of “XYZ”
    How could I show the DBA name;
    “XYZ” or
    “XYZ,LLC” or
    “XYZ a subsidiarity of ABC,LLC” ?

    • Hi Robert –

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my post! You can display the name however you like. Sometimes companies only use the DBA on advertising and leave the legal name out just for the purposes of doing business. You don’t have to have both listed. It’s a matter of personal preference.

      Hope that helps!

  27. Ok…so who do I tell my customers to write their payments/checks to? My DBA or my real business name?? Thanks!

    • Hi Connie –

      In most cases the payments would go to the DBA. As long as you have a DBA registered with the state/county a bank account can be opened up under that name.

      Should you have additional questions, feel free to reach out anytime!

  28. Hi, Nellie, I have an online business and have already opened a small business checking account and a business credit card in state x both with a dba. It is a sole proprietorship (The bank did not even ask whether the dba was filed or not.) The business address of the checking account and the billing address of the credit card is in state x. The inventory for my business and the place from which items are shipped is in a different state. In which state should I file the dba? I have read that the IRS in these cases considers the location of the physical business (in this case my inventory) to be the location of the business. Would that be an indication of where to file the dba?

    • Hi David –

      Thank you for reaching out and reading my post. Generally speaking we normally follow the IRS guidelines and per the IRS the DBA should be filed at the physical location of the business (where inventory is held).

      Hope that helps!

  29. Question For Nellie
    I registered a property management company which is an LLC with the state of California. Lets call it abc property management company LLC. I have designed a website for marketing purposes and my logo says abc property management (no llc on the logo) do i need to register a DBA? thanks , Kory

    • Hi Kory: thanks for reading my post. General speaking, if the name is going to be used anywhere without the LLC designation, then the LLC must file a DBA for the name without the LLC designation…ie…ABC Property management LLCX must file a DBA as ABC property Management

      Hope that helps!

  30. Hi Nellie,

    My company is based off California.
    I filed the company name with IRS for my EIN# & Busines License with my city.

    Do I need to file a DBA?


    • Hi Maria –

      Generally speaking one is required to file a DBA in the state or county that you are conduing your business within to give notice to the public that you are conduting business under a business name other than your own personal name. The DBA is the filing required for the sole proprietorship business structure; the DBA is not a business entity but merely the filing paper required to formalize a sole prop within the state or county you conduct business in. it is basically a filing you do with your state or county giving notice to the public as to the business name you are conducting your business under as a business owner.


  31. Hi Nellie,
    A colleague and I have started a private psychotherapy practice. It is really a sole proprietorship as we are sharing the rent expenses on our office, but will keep all other finances an clients separate, each using the office half of the week. We wanted to use a name like New Beginnings Counseling Center. Since we are not a partnership, only one name can go on the DBA. Will this be ok, or will the person who’s name is not on the DBA technically not be able to use this name?

    • Hi Jeanine –

      Thanks so much for reading my post and commenting!

      To answer your question, the DBA is the filing required for a sole prop (one person) or in the case of a partnership (2 or more people) to publish a notice within the county in which you are intending to do business in.

      In the case of a partnership, both you and your partner would just fill out the 1 DBA from and under the area in which it asks you as to how many people are part of this business, you would answer as 2 and fill in one or both of your names and the dba will be filed as a partnership for most states.

      I hope that helps!

  32. My business is Interior Design. I am filing for a DBA today required by my bank, but I am curious what address I put as the place of business address? I work from home but there is no inventory. I dont want it to sound like I am “running” a business from home if that is not legal, but truth is I can run my business from a picnic bench or cafe’ with the internet. Most of the work is on-site at clients homes. So I don’t know what I should write as my place of business address.

    • Hi Kat –

      Thanks for reading my article. Many successful businesses have started off as a home business so using your home address as the business address for the company is not a problem at all unless you would like to keep it private and if that is the case, then we would suggest a private mail box address as the business address for the company.

      Hope that helps!

  33. jesse david escalera

    im in the middle of changing my business name at the bank will i loose my banking history if i do so?

    • Hi Jesse –

      It depends on what type of business structure the business name is structured as? If as a corporation, then no, if as a sole prop, depending on your bank, you can lose the history if you have the close and reopen the bank account.

      Hope that helps!

  34. In my opinion, it doesn’t hurt to get a DBA considering it doesn’t cost much…

  35. Hi Nellie –
    I’m a real estate broker who used to operate my own brokerage as an LLC, lets call it XYZ Realty LLC. I’ve closed the doors of my brokerage and I’m about to move over to another brokerage, lets call it PDQ Real Estate, as an Associate Broker / Agent independent contractor. I’m told that agents also should operate their businesses under an LLC for liability protection, due to the size of the transactions we deal with, so I want to do this.

    1 – Can I continue to use my old longstanding brokerage’s LLC as the entity or do I need to create a new one? I have no partners and its a pass through entity.

    2 – On business cards I receive from PDQ Real Estate which have my name on them (plus any advertising collateral, mailings, etc) do I also need to post the name of my agent LLC somewhere on the card to have my liability protection? Obviously I don’t want to do this – to avoid confusion of having two brokerage sounding names on there, I just want my personal name to appear with my title.

    Thanks for any advice!

    • Hi Doug –

      Thanks so much for reading my post and for your comment! I’m happy to assist you but that’s a lot to type out in a comment. 😉 Please reach out to my Sr. Startup Specialist, Amanda Beren, and she can assist you with answering questions: 888.752.0363 Ext: 105

  36. Hello Nellie, I have read so much of your wisdom…. My Question is I filed for a Business name ABC, LLC. its already approved by the state.. We will be offering different services as time goes on, like, Residential and commercial cleaning, snow plowing and landscaping. So can we operate the Business as ABC, LLC for all services or is it a must to have a DBA for every service we offer?

    • Hi Mark – If you will be accepting payment under different names for those other services, then the LLC must file a DBA/fictitious business name filing under any variation of the LLC name that the LLC will be accepting payment under.

  37. Sorry Another Question…. Our company is ABC, LLC I will also have my business create a website but no transactions will be conducted online, the web site is only for advertising so people know us and also for the customers to read and communicate with us and the name of the web site will be does that matter?

    • Hi Mark – no worries. Similar to the answer above, if you will be conducting business or accepting payment under any variation of the business name including any type of marketing of the business such as a website as, then the LLC must file a DBA/fictitious business name filing under any variation of the LLC name that the LLC will be conducting business under.

      I hope that helps!

  38. Hello Nellie,

    It was so helpful. Thank you! Can I relate with you and your team members as my consultants?

    • Hi Mark –

      Glad to hear that was helpful! Yes, of course you can call my Sr. Startup Specialist Amanda Beren anytime for a free business consultation if you have additional questions: 888.752.0363 Ext 105

  39. Hi Nellie.
    I have a question regarding DBAs I hope you can clarify for me. I’ll layout the scenario.

    There is a company lets say they’re called Alpha, Inc. They sell 2 products and 2 services that are not entirely related. Alpha is an established name.

    There is a company called Gamma, Inc and they sell a different type of service.

    Alpha Inc, and Gamma Inc see an advantage of coming together and want to join forces to take over selling ONE of the products and Services Alpha already offers, but neither want or can have an ownership stake in each others existing company as not to assume responsibility for different products or services so a new Joint venture will be created called Delta.

    Alpha’s name already has brand recognition that does not want to be lost in the joint venture. The question is can the new organization Delta have a DBA called Alpha or something VERY close to the original?

    • Hi Gary,

      Thanks so much for reading my post and commenting!

      There are few dependents on the scenario you’re describing above. For example, what state is this happening in? What will Delta be doing business as? It may be easier to talk on the phone about this. Is there a good time for you to chat? Please contact Amanda Beren in my office at 888-449-2638 Ext. 105.

      Thank you!

  40. Hello,

    I have a small spray tanning business and I was wondering if I will need a DBA?? I spray from my home but i’m just curious? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Angie,

      Thanks for reading! :) Generally speaking, if a business wants to accept payments or have a business bank account than a DBA would be needed to do so. Anytime a business is doing business under a name other than the individual business owners than a DBA is recommended.

      I hope that helps!

  41. Hi, I have been using my own name as Sole Proprietor for many years and my business bank account is in my name. I would like to become an LLC under a different name, but don’t want to make my customers change how they address checks as most pay monthly from automated bank payments and the checks are made out to me.

    So, in a slight reversal, should I register my own name as a DBA under the new LLC name in order to continue to deposit checks under my own name? Or is this even necessary? Can I just keep the current bank account in my name?

    • Hi Suzanne –

      Thanks for reading my post & commenting! This is simple and here are the steps:

      You would form the LLC and then have the LLC file a DBA under the name you have been conducting business as a sole prop.

      We can handle all of this for you for a very minimal fee and get it done quickly,. Let me know state and I can send you a PQ or you can call us to chat for a free business consultation at: 888.752.0363

      Thank you!

  42. Hi,
    My husband and I own a small PC counseling agency in Wyoming, we are moving to Utah and plan to keep our business in Wyoming and then start an additional private practice in Utah, initially through contract work. Is it better to start a new PC or LLC since our business will be in separate states or can we still do a DBA? We also are unsure how business and malpractice insurance would work, would we need separate policies for each state/business?

    • Hi Jessica –

      Thanks so much for reading & Commenting!

      In answer to your question, generally speaking, if the current business is set up as a dba, since DBA’s are county based, you will have to set up a new dba in the new state and for all insurance policies you would have to contact a business broker in the state that you will actually be practicing in.

      Hope that helps!

  43. hi Nellie,
    I own a company that provides 3 services (asphalt, masonry, landscaping). 2 years ago i wanted to do a complete home improvement services, from asphalt to painting. But it didn’t work out that way because i couldn’t get any work and I think it was because of the name CONTRACTORS, so i keep it down to the 3 services that i mentioned before. I did get more work since then but not enough. I think the CONTRACTORS name still in peoples mind that we sub our work. but we don’t, I have 5 employees. The name came up because my husband owns another company with the name All Star Detailing LLC. and we wanted to keep All Star.
    My question is. What can I do to take CONTRACTORS name out my name for advertising purposes?. If I get a DBA, do I have to change all my documents?. (federal, state, licenses, etc). Prices and services will be the same. Please advice!.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Claudia –

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      Basically you have 2 options here: 1) you can amend the LLC name to read to whatever you like it to be without the name contractor or 2) you can have the LLC file a DBA with a new name without the word contractor and preserve your original LLC name. We can assist with either filing and can do either for you. Let us know if we can help or call anytime: 888.752.0363


  44. Hi Nellie, Can I use my wife’s name as my business name & not file a DBA if I will be owning & running a home base business ?

    • Hi Roy –

      Thanks for reading my post and commenting!

      Generally speaking, a DBA is filed by a small business if they tend to want to do business under a different name other than their own name…ie u would be intending to do biz under a fake or fictitious biz name. Generally one dies not need to file a DBA if one is going to be doing biz under their own name or a partners name.

      I hope that helps!

  45. Hi Nellie,

    I working on starting a business to teach dance lessons. I started filling out the paperwork for a DBA, but I’m insure what to put as the business address. I don’t teach the lessons from my home; however, there are multiple locations where I can teach lessons from and sometimes I can even teach from a clients home. What address should I use?

    • Hi Jerika – thanks for reading and commenting on my post! To answer your question, for a DBA, the state or county will need a business address on file. Unless the business owner has a storefront or office, most of the time they will use their home address. I hope that helps! – Nellie

  46. Let’s assume XYZ Inc has 4 dbas, XYZ Internet Marketing, XYZ Daycare, XYZ Real Estate Holdings and XYZ Used Car Sales. Does each dba need its own business license or is one business license for XYZ Inc sufficient? Note the examples are purposefully in completely different industries and not merely variant names of one type of business. Any input is appreciated.

    • Hi Paul – Generally speaking, a business license would be for an individual business in a specific industry. However, depending on your state or county there may be different requirements. We have a business license research package we offer for $99/per business that checks to see what licenses would be required. If this is something you’re interested in please contact my office at 888-449-2638 for more details. Thanks and Happy New Year! – Nellie

  47. Thank You Nellie,

    I’ve been reading and searching everywhere for the answer of LLCs having multiple DBAs to run different business. This was the first time I read it in a way that I understood, Yes. For new entrepreneurs like me it is sometimes hard to understand all the lingo of the legal. I appreciate the help.

  48. Hi Nellie,
    For about a year now I’ve been a Sports Photographer in New York State and have finally set up a website. On the site I’m looking to sell my work, the business name has my last name and part of the business in it. Do I need to file a DBA?

  49. Hi Nellie – I am sincerely thinking of starting my own business and I am currently in the research phase. I have two passions: Candles and House Cleaning. My original thoughts are that I want to do both; I would like to make and sell my own candles, yet I also want to clean homes. Would I be able to do both under one DBA if perhaps I can create a name that would combine the two within a common theme, or would I need to have seperate DBA’s considering one is a product and one is more of a service? I live in Ohio if that makes any difference. Also, if I do need to seperate the two, would I simply want to form an LLC and have the two DBA’s or … ? Any thoughts and / or advice would be greatly appreciated- Thank You!!

    • Hi Amie,

      Thank you for reading my post & commenting! Ultimately the way you want to structure your business is up to you. What we see most commonly is that business owners with two or more different ventures will set up a parent LLC and file one or multiple DBAs underneath the LLC. For example, if a person named John Smith has both a construction company and a pet store, he might set up an LLC using a fairly generic name such as Smith Enterprises LLC, and file two DBAs beneath it – one for his construction company, and one for his pet store. Hope this helps!

  50. I am a franchise owner now and the company is already an LLC. So do I have to file a DBA or how does that work?

    • Hi Jermaine,

      Thanks for reading my post! Generally speaking, a DBA is required when a business owner needs to do business or accept payment under two or more different names. For example, if a person has a company called “Right Way Automotive LLC”, but they also want to do business using just “Right Way,” they will need to file a DBA for “Right Way”. If you are planning on doing business using any name other than the legal LLC name, a DBA must be filed.

      I hope that helps!

  51. Hi Nellie, very glad I found your post and you are answering questions. I have two questions I want to ask you.
    1: I live in NYC and want to open an etsy shop under my real name but etsy doesn’t allow spaces between the shop names so it will be JessicaHart. Do I still need a dba?

    2:I have a blog under a fictitious name. Would I need a dba if I want to receive advertorial jobs such as writing reviews for products on my blog?

    Thank you so much,

    • Hi Jessica –

      Glad you came across my post also and happy to see it is helping in your research!!

      To answer your questions:

      Fictitious names and DBAs are synonymous. The state of New York is tricky when it comes to filing DBAs – they typically do not allow a person to file a DBA using just a person’s name (i.e. JessicaHart). They do allow DBAs, however, that include a person’s name amongst some other words – for example: Jessica Hart Enterprises.

      I hope that helps!

  52. Hi, I’m a freelance actor/model from CT. I’d like to know if it’s best for me to get an EIN as a sole proprietor or a DBA? Say if do a paid photo shoot and I’m paid in cash, should I get a receipt from them for tax purposes? Also, can I use my legal name and/or my DBA name for times when I want to conceal my identity. I just want to be sure before I apply for an EIN. Thanks

    • Hi Angelique,

      A sole proprietorship is simply a type of DBA. When filing a DBA, an EIN is optional, as you also have the option of using your Social Security number. I would suggest speaking with your attorney regarding your question about concealing your identity, as this would be a legal question. Hope this helps!


  53. Hey there I appreciate your article. I was wondering if I filed for an LLC in, for example, Wisconsin, and also wanted to do business in Illinois without Filing there also, can I do business there as DBA. If I can do I have to file DBA under the LLC both in Illinois and Wisconsin, or just where the DBA will be conducting business?? (illinois)……..Also, is an LLC protected from anything that might happen to the DBA’s under it?? Thank You

    • Hi John,
      Generally when doing a significant amount of business in multiple states, it is required to foreign qualify – taking your existing business and filing to qualify to do business in additional states.
      I hope that helps!

  54. Hi Nellie, I been reading your article and it seems to be that your a great help to alot of people. I was wondering if you could p,ease help me on this one. My husband has been self employed as a mechanic for awhile now. He’s been payed under his name and we’ve been paying our quartly txs as well as reporting all of his expenses. In the new future he would very much love to put his own little shop since he rents to ve able to work under a little shaded shack. We are about to take that step into getting a loan from the bank to be able to goa bout this. But he’s being told he has to get an assume name. My question is cant he just keep on like he is,,just under his name? Could he get in trouble and get penalized for working under his name and not be registered under assumed name?

    • Elizabeth,
      Does your husband have an existing corporation or LLC? Filing for an assumed name is usually only required when the business owner wants to do business under a name other than the legal name of the corporation or LLC.

  55. Hi, my friend runs a business as a dba under her LLC. She no longer wants to run the business and is handing me the business. I want to keep the same name. Can I put it under the same dba name under my LLC?

    • Hi Susan,

      Thank you for reading my post & commenting! Unfortunately, there isn’t really a procedure for amending a DBA, but in most states DBA names are not protected. This means that you would be able to file a DBA using the same name and file it under your existing LLC.

      I hope that helps!

  56. Hello Nelly. thanks for providing so much information.
    I have a question, i formed an LLC for my web design business and called it [first two words] Web Solutions LLC.
    Now I’m thinking about also doing many different ecommerce sites, with many different products.. If one of the stores starts to sell a lot, then I would create an LLC for that particular store.
    I’m wondering if its a good idea to file a DBA under my webdesign’s LLC. Does it matter that my ecommerce business is not related to the web desing business?

    Thanks for your time.

    • Hi Kevin,

      You have a couple different options – filing a DBA under an existing LLC is definitely a popular option, as is filing another LLC owned by your parent LLC. This way both entities will be filed as LLCs and you will have that added protection.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  57. If you have a non profit organization can you have a free event under a name if you did not get a dba or in the process of getting dba

    • Hi Dezshanay,

      Generally speaking, it is required that a DBA be filed if your non-profit will be doing business and/or advertising under any name other than your full, legal business name.

      I hope that helps!

  58. Hi Nellie,

    Your article and comment replies are very helpful. I have a question that I don’t think has been asked, at least not with these specifics.

    My business is incorporated, and we operate a few ecommerce stores, all with their own separate domain names. I know that I need DBAs, but my question is if the DBAs should include the .com or not.

    Let’s say for example my store is called Sports Fans (logo, invoice, terms, documents all labeled Sports Fans), and the web address to access the store is I would think that the DBA would be for Sports Fans, and that is just simply the web address used to access the store and not considered a business name.

    On the flip side, let’s say that I do not refer to my store as Sports Fans. My logo, invoices, terms, etc all say I never refer to the business as Sports Fans without the .com. I would think that in this instance the DBA would be since that is how the store is referred to and advertised as.

    But is considered a business name, or is it just a domain name? Again, maybe it depends on how you identify yourself within the storefront. If I had a brick and mortar store called Sports Fans, and I had an online version of this store too called (like Best Buy has, I would think that the DBA would only be for Sports Fans and not its “same name” online version of its main store. I could see if the domain name was different from the brick and mortar store (like, then I would need a DBA for both.

    Right now, my scenario is that the website is and the store is referred to a But can a business name include .com? Should the business name be Sports Fans or can it be

    Thank you for your time.

    Disclaimer: I am using as an example. That is not my store or domain name.

    • Hi Bryan – Thank you for your question and for reading my post!

      It is generally required to file a DBA if you plan on doing business/accepting checks using any name varying from your full, legal business name. Most business owners will also go by their domain name – using your example, If this is the case, the “.com” will need to be included in the DBA. A business named “All In One Cleaning, Inc.” is likely to have a DBA for “All In One Cleaning” and a separate DBA for “”. Hope that helps!

  59. Hi Nellie, I have question to you: can I setup multiple e-commerce sites under one DBA (Assumed Name)?

    Your answer to this question will be highly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  60. I feel like this is a simple question, but I can’t find the answer anywhere. My sister and I want to start an etsy shop, but we live in different counties (2 hours apart) in NY state. We will each be doing our own thing at our own homes, so where do we file the dba? Do we file one in each county or do we just pick one? Any help would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Amy,
      Most people who are in business together (regardless of where they live) only operate under one entity. As far as where to register the DBA – it will have to be registered in the county that the business address is located. That being said, the DBA can be registered in the county you live in, OR the county your sister lives in – it really just depends where you’d like to list the business address. Hope that helps!

    • No problem, Amy! Should any other questions arise feel free to call anytime! 888.752.0363

  61. Hi Nellie! Hoping you can help me – I just moved from New York and am going to be traveling between a few different states over the next few months before settling down again. I am not yet sure where I will end up. I want to start a business and file a DBA, but I don’t know which county or even state to file under since I haven’t decided where to rent an apartment yet. Do you have any insight? Also, what are the penalties for accepting payment as a business other than your personal name without filing a DBA?

    Thank you!


    • Hi Emily,

      Where you incorporate your business is ultimately up to you. Many business owners who don’t know where they’re going to end up often file in states that do not require a business address (such as Delaware).

      If a business owner plans on accepting payment under any name other than your legal business name, it is typically required to file a DBA.

      I hope that helps. Should you like to chat further feel free to call my team and ask directly for Katie Hendrix via a free business consultation and she can assist!


  62. Nellie,

    Great article. Can a DBA for business formed as LLC contain any letters, e.g. LLC, Co. Corp?

    Name: Main Business LLC
    DBA: Secondary Business LLC
    DBA: Tertiary Business Inc.
    DBA: Quaternary Business Co.

    • Hi Mike –

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed my post! DBA’s or assumed business names under a corporation or an LLC cannot contain the words LLC or Inc as part of the name when filed under an LLC.

      If you have more questions or need additional information, feel free to call my co for a free business consultation. Please ask directly for Amanda Beren or Katie Hendrix:

  63. Hi Nellie,
    I have an LLC & want to open a website. I’m selling & offering free apps in the Apple & Android markets. No purchases will be made via the site it will take customers to the pertaining market where they can purchase or download the free app. Is a DBA needed? Ie. Businees name is 123 LLC & will need to be in the internet as or Wil using either of these two site names require a DBA. My businessn is in California.

    Thank you!
    PS Great column/post.

    • Hi Pete –

      So generally speaking, one must file a DBA under the LLC if using any variation of the name, even as a domain name.

      If you’d like to chat about your question further, feel free to call my co for a free business consultation. Please ask directly for Amanda Beren or Katie Hendrix:


  64. hi, i would like to work from home as a dealer…. for a mobile company they told me you need this….
    The first step to become a dealer is get the appropriate documentation into place.
    You will need to register a business under your name (you can do a DBA which are more economical, and require less paperwork) and also request a Texas sale and use tax permit.

    My Question is : 1- Do i need a DBA? i am working from home (Dallas, Texas)
    2- is the Seller’s permit enough ?
    3- how can i request a Texas sale and use tax Permit?

    can you guide me and help me to understand the process.

    Thank you for your information in advance .

    • Hi Zaid,

      Thank you for your question. When running a business, it’s recommended to set up a business entity to give you rights to the name – as a DBA, or more commonly, a corporation or LLC (for the purposes of liability protection). Only operating using solely a seller’s permit will not provide any liability protection or even name protection. My company, CorpNet, can assist you with these filings, as well as obtaining your seller’s permit in the state of Texas. If you’d like to call for a free business consultation, please ask directly for Katie Hendrix:

      • thank you for your replay….

        is the Seller’s permit enough and Texas sale and Tax permit?

        what else do i need to, basically a mobile company gave me an opurtunity of dealer and i will buy from them simcards and i will sell them and activat the simcards and i will get commission doing that, that is the only business do i need to do a DBA, and by the way i am doing that from home. (is there tax have to be collected and who do i send it to and how ?)

    • Zaid,

      There may be further licenses that will be required. Every state/county requires different licenses based on what the company does and where it’s located. As far as your tax questions, I would recommend speaking with a CPA or accountant.

      Again, feel free to call if you have further questions.


  65. I have a question. I think the word “development” is throwing me a bit off and the fact I would like the name to be the umbrella of other businesses.

    Would I have to file a LLC or will a DBA will be ok if i were to create a business name that is my last name. Example being “The (Last name) Development”?

    But also know that I already have other businesses that are retail and i would like for them to be owned by “The (Last name) Development”

    Since it is my name, is a DBA totally fine or since i want my other smaller companies to be owned by it, then i should make it a LLC instead?

    Thank you, it is really confusing to me.

    • Hi Michelle,

      A DBA cannot typically own other entities. If a business owner is planning on having their business own other businesses, generally it will need to be a corporation or LLC.

      If you have additional questions or are still confused, feel free to call my team and ask directly for Katie Hendrix and a free business consultation:


  66. Hi Nellie,
    I am trying to start a home based business in Florida and I know the first thing I need to do is file a DBA.Due to all the permits and licenses that I will need after that to operate legally I may delay several weeks before I can actually start selling.My question is, after I register my DBA, is there a time frame that is required for me to be expected to be in full business? I am concerned if my business isn’t active until a month later, etc. Your response will be very helpful.Thank you.

    • Hi Emm –

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting on my post.

      DBAs are different in every county, but in most places DBAs aren’t required to renew until after 5 years.

      I hope that helps!

  67. Armando Rodriguez

    Just a minor typo. I think you wanted to use the word “that” instead of “what” in the following line:

    Filing a DBA gives the sole proprietor the freedom to use a business name >> what << helps market their products or services,

  68. Armando Rodriguez

    By the way, you have provided me the best answers to all my DBA questions I’ve had for years. Other professional have not been able to explain it as clearly as you have. THANK YOU!

  69. If a business is and LLC, and has a DBA underneath it, does the owner of the DBA (who is also the member in the LLC) take a draw or wages? Draw is preferred.

    • Hi Stella –

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my post.

      Unfortunately this is more of a tax question, so I suggest consulting with your accountant or CPA.


  70. Hi, I just started working as an independent contractor (driver) for a local shuttle/charter company in Sacramento, but they want me to file a fictitious business name statement with the county. Why might they be asking this of me? I worked for a few years in this very same industry previously, for a van franchise owner, and never needed to file a DBA and never even heard of it- I was just paid directly, and they filed a 1099 on me. I’m confused here. Can’t I just work there under my own name?

    • Hi Aaron,

      Some contracts/employers require their workers to file a corporation, LLC, or DBA for several different reasons – liability, credibility, etc. While I can’t be sure why specifically they are requiring you to file such paperwork, we do see this type of thing often. The reason could be one of many.


  71. Great info. My business is in California. Can my LLC have a dba that’s also an LLC? Expample: ABC, LLC would like to have a dba as XYZ, LLC. Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Nick,

      Generally speaking a DBA cannot include a corporate indicator (Inc, LLC, etc.). A DBA cannot be called “XYZ, LLC”. A DBA is not an LLC and cannot be labeled as such. Hope that helps!


  72. Hi, I live in Florida and have a LLC, I plan to open a website under a completely different name and sell products on the site, so from your other post I see I need to file a dba, so my question is, Is filing a dba required by law? What happens if I choose to proceed without filing a dba? I’ve read somewhere that filing dba under a LLC can take away the liability protection thus defeating the purpose of the LLC, is this true? And my LLC already has licenses, certificate of use, sellers permit, etc. If I file a dba would I need to apply again for those licenses and permits just for the dba or this isn’t necessary since the LLC has em already? Thanks your advice is greatly appreciated

    • Hi Alex,

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my post.

      Generally, it is required to file a DBA whenever the business will be operating under any name varying from the full, legal business name. Filing a DBA gives the business owner the rights to operate under that name. As far as any repercussions for not filing a DBA, or affecting liability, I would recommend speaking with a business attorney. My company now offers the chance to work with business attorneys at a minimal cost. If you’d like to explore this option to chat further about your question, here is more info:

      Thank you!

  73. Hi I’m wondering if I can name my businrss as laura ( my last name)’s bingos flowers I know its long but I don’t want to file a DBA . Or can I use bongos flowers by laura ( last name)?

    • Hi Laura,

      You can essentially use whatever business name you’d like, as long as the name is available in the state where the business will be filed. My company CorpNet offers free business name checks. Just give us a quick call and we can search the name for you instantaneously over the phone: 888-449-2638, ask directly for Katie Hendrix at x110.


  74. Very informative article. I do have a question I was hoping you can help me with. I opened a etsy shop just to sell crafts I made. They are tables that are collaged with comics. The etsy shop has superhero in the name so it represents what type of items they are. Now I want to do local fairs and conventions so I want to get a DBA. Now here is where I’m having an issue… I want to expand the crafts to using wedding photos and family photos. So I don’t want superhero in the DBA name. My question is, if I make a DBA name for example “Collage Creations” can I still run my etsy shop as “superhero….”


  75. Do you need to file a DBA, or other documents, in NY state when you purchase a franchise and operate as a sole proprietor?

    • Hi Jess,

      Generally, a sole proprietor is required to file a DBA as a to assure that they have rights to use that name in business, as well as accept payments under that name. If you need any assistance in filing your DBA, or have further questions, please feel free to call my co CorpNet for a free business consultation. 888-449-2638 x110, ask for Katie.


  76. Hello,

    If I have an LLC would my dba name be the name of my franchise ? Or do I have to have the name of my franchise and something descriptive to the area to separate from the actual fanchise so it is specific?

    • Hi Erika,

      An LLC with a DBA filed underneath for a franchise is a very common structure. DBA names in most states are not protected, so with the exception of a few states, a business owner can use whatever DBA name they’d like. If you have more questions or would like to speak with a business consultant, please feel free to call my co CorpNet for a free business consultation. Ask directly for Katie Hendrix and she will gladly assist. :) 888-449-2638 x110.


  77. Hi. Great information. My ? Is this: I am a sole proprietor of a consulting services company,
    I have a DBA on file with the county & a business bank account. I want to start selling some products I design online
    Using a domain name thats different from my business name. Do I have to file a new D A for the ecoomer e site? All online sales will go through my business bank account thats already set up. Thanks!

    • Hi Jo,

      Great question. Generally, it is required for a business to file a DBA for every variation of the name they plan on doing business under. This does include domain names. Hope that helps! If you have additional questions or would like to chat further, feel free to call my company for a free business consultation. Ask directly for Katie Hendrix – 888-449-2638 x110

  78. Question: There is a business in my county that is already established under a partnered DBA (EX. Tasty Ice Cream). One partner is looking to branch off and start an LLC under the same already established DBA name (EX. Tasty Ice Cream). Can the newly formed Tasty Ice Cream LLC operate under he same assumed name as the already used DBA Tasty Ice Cream in the same county. This is in Michigan and to my understanding LLC’s override sole-propitiatory or partnership DBA’s. One partner wants to open another store as a sole propitiatory but knows the other partner will not let the new store open under the same name unless its a partner ship.

    • Added info. Also the current DBA through the county has lapsed for the EX. Tasty Ice Cream name.

      • Hi Luke,

        Great question. Michigan is actually one of the few states where DBA names are protected, so if there is already a DBA registered under a particular name, generally the Secretary of State will not approve and file the name as a corporation or LLC.

        Thanks for reading and commenting on my post!

  79. We have an LLC with one name… let’s call it… Making Product, LLC. We have a website Is it ok to register business name as Making Product but still have the site? Or do we need to register the name Make Product as our DBA?

    • Hi Alex,

      Great question. If the business is going by any name differing from the full, legal business name (even if the only difference is .com), generally the business is required to file a DBA. This will allow the business owner to do business using either name, as well as accept payment made out to either name. If you need any further assistance, please feel free to contact my co CorpNet – we specialize in filing DBAs! Ask directly for Katie Hendrix 888-449-2638 x110


  80. Hi! Do I need to file for a DBA if my website name doesn’t have LLC at the end of it? Ex… If I am selling online under but my LLC name is JohnsShoesLLC, will I need to have a DBA just to have the website name be different even if I add the LLC in the company info on the site and attach it to every order, bank account name, etc.? (Just using as an example- not my business name!) Thank you!

    • Hi Brooke,

      Great question. Generally, if a business is doing business as / advertising as any name other than their full legal business name, even if it’s only a slight variation, they are required to file a DBA. If you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my co, as we offer free business consultations. Ask directly for Katie Hendrix 888-449-2638 x110


  81. Thank you for your article. I am beginning to sell through Amazon and had a question about the “screen” name and registration with the clerk of courts office…

    I plan to list my LLC as the legal entity, but my screen name on Amazon will be different.

    When I register my DBA with the clerk’s office, do I use the LLC name? Some have told me that the Amazon screen name is just that, a screen name. But the legal entity listed with Amazon is the LLC, so that is what I should register with the clerk’s office. Just a bit confused about this and would like clarification.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Joanne,

      Typically a DBA is only required when a business owner will be doing business as/advertising as/accepting payment as a name other than the full, legal LLC name. I can’t think of a situation where it would be necessary to file a DBA with the same as the LLC. As far as the screen name, will you be accepting payment made out to that name, or advertising your business as such? If so, a DBA is generally required.


      • Thanks Nellie for your response. I won’t be advertising or accepting checks in the “screen” name. Plan to set up the bank account with the official LLC name for Amazon payments. So if that’s the case, it sounds like I should register with the clerk of courts with my official LLC name…unless of course I want to protect the “screen” name for future endeavors within the state? Hope that makes sense. Thank you again for your time and consideration.

      • Hi Joanne,

        If you will not be doing business as your screen name, and you are not concerned about protecting it, it probably is not necessary. If in the future it becomes something you want to get registered, you can always do so at a later date. Hope that helps! :)

  82. Thank you so much for your guidance. I appreciate it!

  83. We have an electrical contracting company In suffolk county ny. The current company is a c corp. we have filed a DBA under an other name in order to have a second bank account under another name. Do we have to change the name on the electrical license for the DBA. Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Robert,

      Licenses are filed on such a local level, so every city/county will have different requirements. I would recommend contacting the city/county office you obtained the license through to inquire on whether or not you will need to submit a change. Hope that helps!


  84. I hope this hasn’t already been answered. I started my business in Sept. 2011, but I didn’t file for a tax ID until sometime in 2012. I have not done a DBA still. I would like to do it soon, but am I going to get some kind of penalty for waiting so long? I realize this was a bad decision, but I didn’t really know how important it was back then, and it was just an added expense that I couldn’t afford. Thanks for your help! It’s a sole proprietorship by the way.

    • Hi Staci,

      Great question. A DBA can be filed at any point during the life of the business. My company actually assists with filing DBAs and also offers free business consultation. Please feel free to contact Katie Hendrix in my office and she’d be happy to answer any questions you have, and even help you get your DBA registered! 888-449-2638 x110.


  85. I opened an LLC in 2006 and I register DBA for hotel I run, Do I need to register another DBA for cleaning business and keep same LLC or should I open another LLC and then register DBA

    Thank you

    • Hi Suzana,

      Great question. Typically, this can be done either way. Many business owners will opt to have multiple LLCs rather than multiple DBAs underneath a single LLC, in order to keep them separate and add another layer of protection. If you have any other questions, or would like assistance setting up another LLC (or DBA), please contact my office for a free business consultation. 888-449-2638, and you can ask for Katie Hendrix at extension 110.

  86. Hi I have a question. My boyfriend wants to open up his own business and he would like for it to be named after himself. His first name and middle name. Such as Michael Anthony. Now can he do this without filing for a LLC or can it just be a DBA? How would you go about this if it’s the person’s name and the need to open wholesale accounts with other businesses.. And does it matter if he adds an apostrophe S. Like Michael Anthony’s?

    • Hi Michelle,

      Good question. He would be able to set this up as either a DBA or LLC (or even a corporation, if he prefers). Many people don’t go the route of the DBA, simply because it does not offer liability protection like the corporation or LLC does. As far as the apostrophe, it’s really up to his preference. It won’t make a difference as far as name availability. If you or he have any other questions, or would like assistance setting up the company, please contact my office for a free business consultation. 888-449-2638, and you can ask for Katie Hendrix at extension 110.

  87. I haven’t seen this question yet, and it applies to me. Can 2 businesses have the same DBAs in the same county if they are two different types of business? Using someone else’s example… Can one LLC have the DBA “Sports Fan” for their online ticket vending service, while a different LLC has a DBA “Sports Fan” for a bar & grill (as an example)?

    • Hi Dave,
      Great question! In most states yes, two different businesses can have the same name for a DBA. There are a handful of states however that will not allow this. My company assists in filing DBAs and can check the name availability for you at no cost. Just give my office a call at 888-449-2638 x110, and ask for Katie Hendrix at extension 110. She’d be happy to offer you a free business consultation.

  88. Hello Nellie

    I already have my DBA and it will be expired pretty soon. I would like to extend but cannot find document number to prove it’s my DBA. Would you please advice where to find the document number of the DBA? DO I have to go to the office? In that case, what I should take there?

    Thank you!


    • Hi Nina,

      Thank you for your question. It would really depend on the state/county your DBA is registered in. Please feel free to contact my office for a free business consultation and we’d be happy to help you locate this number. 888-449-2638 x110.


  89. Hi Nellie,

    I formed an LLC for my remodeling business, Carpentry & More, LLC. I have opened a bank account for the business at the bank that I have banked at for years. A DBA wasn’t required. Do I (individual), Mark E needed to file a DBA for myself doing business as Carpentry & More, LLC?


    • Hi Mark,

      Great question. Generally, a DBA will only be required if the LLC will be doing business using any other name other than the full, legal LLC name. A DBA with the same name as the LLC is unnecessary. If you have any other questions, please feel free to call my office for a free business consultation. You can call Katie Hendrix at 888-449-2638 x110.

  90. Maybe this is a dumb question, I own an LLC, Let’s say ABC LLC, if I want to market it as just ABC (without the LLC following it on the logo or anything like that). Do I still have to file for a DBA since I’m omitting the LLC part?

    • Hi Alberto,

      No such thing as a ‘dumb’ question! :)

      Generally, it’s required to file a DBA in order to use ANY name other than the FULL, legal name of the LLC. (Even if it’s just dropping the corporate indicator “LLC”.) If you have any other questions or would like assistance with filing a DBA, please give Katie Hendrix in my office a call at 888-449-2638 x110.


      • I am trying to start a business in CA. I want it to be a DBA. My problem is that I live in an apt and the apt contract, like most, says I can’t have a business at the address. My business will be tutoring people in their own home, so I won’t be doing any business of any kind in my apt. Since it is a service business I won’t even have any product stored there either. The application for any type of business in CA, DBA included, requires a physical business address and says it will not accept PO boxes or any PMB (like Mailboxes Etc that give a physical address). Can I really not use my apt address if I am not even using my apt for anything? Also would zoning laws apply even if I am not using my apt to conduct any type of business? What do other people who live in apts do? I can’t be the only person who lives in an apt and wants to own a small business.


      • Hi Sahmantha,

        Great question. I would suggest speaking with a manager in your apartment complex to get some clarification. They may allow you to use their address for the business address on file as long as you are not physically conducting business on their premises. Otherwise, there are some services that will be able to provide you with a physical address you can use for a fee. If you have any other questions or would like assistance in setting up your DBA, please feel free to contact Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  91. Can a LLC come and operate in the same county as me if I already have a sole proprietor dba registered with the county clerk. We both have the same names, they have an assumed name under an LLC and I just have a dba with the county clerk.
    We both operate the same type of business that offers the same goods, we are in Michigan.

    • Hi Luke,

      In most states, DBA names are not protected, meaning that the name is generally always available as a DBA (even if it’s already filed as a corporation, LLC, or even another DBA.) So potentially there could be an LLC and a DBA operating under the same name. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  92. Hey Nellie
    I have a construction company in ca and run as sole proprietor. But have 3 sons all who will be working for the company and was wondering what is the best way to protect the company and preserve and add them to the license. I was told a llc would be best and would also protect me from harmful situations personally. Our labor force is union but my sons will not be. Workmans comp wants me to pay into for them for license is not written up that way. Can you please assist on what would be good for us thanx your so kind and very knowledgable thanx dennis!!!

    • Hi Dennis,

      Thank you for your question. Ultimately of course it’s your decision as to what entity type to choose, however the LLC is generally the most popular option for small businesses. It offers liability protection, like a corporation does, but it does not need to comply with many of the formalities/maintenance requirements that a corporation does. If you have any other questions or seek further guidance, please feel free to contact Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  93. I am starting up a magazine and need to know which type of assumed name certificate I should get to do this? If I expand my magazine to also t shirts and other merchandise do I need a certain type of certificate?

  94. Hi Vanessa,

    How you structure your business is ultimately up to you. I find that LLCs tend to be the most popular option because they not only offer liability protection, but are quite simple to maintain. If you have any additional questions, or would like a free business consultation, please contact Katie Hendrix in my office at 888-449-2638 x110.

  95. Hi Nellie! I am preparing to open a bar in my county (Riverside, Ca). A requirement for the Fictitious Business Name paperwork is the location of my business. I won’t know the location until I have licensing and other items taken care of first. Is it possible to use my current living address on the form? I don’t want to purchase or lease a building until I know I’ll have the licenses required.

    • Hi Robert,

      Yes, if you haven’t purchased/leased your business address quite yet, you can use your home address as the business address for the time being. The state/county will just need a valid address on file. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  96. Hello,

    I want to start an LLC with my name ie: dylan enterprises llc. does DBA allow me to create multiple businesses, though different in nature from each other? for example if I wanted to do a DBA for a company that distributed camp products, then a DBA for company that provides promotional products, and then a DBA for a company that provides advertising space. Is that possible?

    • Hi Dylan,

      Generally, yes. A DBA can be created underneath an existing corporation or LLC regardless of the nature of the business. If you have any further questions or would like assistance in filing your LLC and/or DBAs, please give Katie Hendrix in my office a call for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  97. Hello how do you file for a day I have filed my assumed name but I’m trying to really get my business starting an I want to open a business account so I need to get all the proper paperwork my status is sole properties what’s my next step ?

  98. Sorry sole proprietor typing to fast

    • Hi Latoya,

      Are you currently registered as a sole proprietorship and want to transition into a corporation or LLC? My company can absolutely assist you with filing all the necessary paperwork. Please just call our office for a free business consultation and we can help you get started: 888-449-2638. Ask for Katie Hendrix.

      Thank you!

  99. I submitted a dba form online for colorado and now what do i do. Is there a document that comes in the mail. It didnt really outline what is next how can i go to the bank.

    • Hi Indira,

      How long ago did you submit the form? DBA filings can often take up to 4-6 weeks. Once everything has been approved, they should be mailing your documents back to you. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  100. Hello,

    I am an entrepreneur, my company sells tutoring services online. I incorporated a corporation in Delaware for my online business in August 2013, with a completely different name from the one of my website. My first sales where in 2014, with the name of my website. Those sales were not significant, as we were just evaluating the market, but should I worry about those? What can I do to fix that?

    Now that I know about DBAs I want to get one, but from what county? I live in Indiana, but I’ve been told I don’t need to register here because my company has no employees, all transactions and businesses are conducted online, and because we don’t charge a sales tax. So, if it’s not from the county I live in, where should I get my DBA from?

    Thank you

    • Hi Nat,

      Generally the DBA will need to be registered in the state where the corporation is filed. As far as what county to file the DBA in, it’s based off of what county the registered agent of the corporation is located in. If you have any additional questions or need assistance with filing your DBA, please call Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  101. I have an LLC and have also filed a DBA. I know I can use the DBA for advertising, but what about invoices and statements? Do I need to put the legal name and trade name or just the trade name?


    • Hi Janice,

      I would probably recommend speaking with an attorney to find out exactly which name needs to be used in which specific situations, however generally when a DBA is filed either the LLC or DBA name can be used. Think of the DBA as a nickname for the LLC. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  102. I have 2 seperate LLC’s but they both run under each other in the same building can I make one of them DBA?
    Do I need to file seperte taxes on the DBA?

    Thanks for your time,

    • Hi Jan,

      Unfortunately there isn’t really a way to convert an LLC into a DBA. In order to do this, the LLC will need to be dissolved and refiled as a DBA. As far as taxes, I would definitely recommend speaking with an accountant or CPA as every situation/state is different, and a tax professional would best be able to guide you. If you have any other questions, please feel free to call Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  103. Hello,
    I run a small, side business filming weddings and such. My business name is Ty Albers Videography. I am in the state of Florida. Am I required to get a DBA?

    • Hi Tyler,

      Generally, in order for a business to have the rights to a business name, they are required to file a corporation, LLC, or DBA. Otherwise, there is no name protection. Additionally, without a corporation or LLC there is no liability protection. If you have any other questions, or if you’d like assistance with getting your business registered, please contact Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  104. Hi I want to open a cleaning company using the name Williams Cleaning Co. Do I have to file a DBA for using my last name?

    • Hi Kaseem,

      Generally a DBA (or corporation or LLC) is required in order to have the rights to use a business name, regardless of whether your name is a part of the business name or not. If you have any other questions or would like assistance with filing your DBA, please contact Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  105. Hello,

    My wife has an insurance agency in her name (LLC) that we both work at. We are thinking of opening a DBA and taking on a partner. I assume we would need to get a new tax ID, as well as a DBA but I am wondering if a DBA is the best way to go about doing it or should we just open a new business all together.

    Thank you,


    • Hi Jeremy,

      You have several options. I would recommend calling Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation, and she can explain each one to you in detail. She can be reached at 888-449-2638 x110. If you do end up filing a DBA underneath the LLC, the DBA will operate under the Tax ID of the LLC and will not require its own.

  106. Hi Nellie,
    Thanks for providing this great resource.
    My question is in regards to receiving payments.
    Can I have payments for my two DBAs made out to my LLC?
    The reason for this is because I only want one bank account.
    Thanks for your time and response.
    All the best,

    • Hi Steve,

      I would recommend speaking with an accountant or CPA as DBAs in different states & counties have different requirements. They would be best suited to assist you with this inquiry as they are most likely familiar with the requirements in your specific area. You are always welcome to call our office for a free business consultation as well, at 888-449-2638.

  107. Hello–
    I formed a LLC for a business but now for reasons of simplicity would like to dissolve the LLC as the nature of the business does not need that level of liability protection– but I want to continue the business as DBA.

    Is that possible? How is that done? Can I change from one to another and keep the existing bank account or will that entail opening a new account under the DBA with a new EIN ?

    I would like to avoid a disruption of business in the switchover.

    Thank you–

    • Hi Marcy,

      Great question! Unfortunately, there isn’t really a straightforward way of converting an LLC into a DBA. The LLC would need to be dissolved and a DBA would be filed in its place. If you have any other questions or would like assistance in dissolving your LLC and/or filing your DBA, please feel free to call Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  108. Thank you for the article!

    If I am selling stuff through another website like amazon or ebay does my seller profile need to be registered as a fictitious name?



    • Hi Chris,

      I would recommend speaking with an attorney, as a law professional would best be able to advise you as to whether or not you will be required to register. If you need any assistance with filing a DBA (or fictitious business name), please feel free to call Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2639 x110.

  109. John Q International

    Using DBAs to save on costs is particularly retarded! I laughed when I read that! I can’t believe the author is an attorney. All business activities should be done through separate operating LLCs. No assets of value should be held in those LLCs. Equipment, real-estate, domains, IP, and other assets can be leased or licensed back to the operating LLCs from sister LLCs. All operating LLCs and sister LLCs need to be owned by a holdings structure. For thermonuclear protection, the holdings structure should consist of another LLC formed in Belize with a Cook Islands trust as its member. To protect against nuclear fallout and for a stealthier profile, all entities should maintain foreign bank accounts in secrecy jurisdictions. By doing so, private investigators won’t be able to figure out how much cash is in the structure. If possible, ALL of the LLCs should be formed in foreign jurisdictions too. Domestic LLCs are horrible, domestic (meaning within the reach of a US Judge), and provide few anti-creditor features. For example, the Belize foreign LLC act provides that a creditor must first deposit an amount equal to half of the amount claimed or fifty-thousand dollars, whichever is greater, to the supreme court registry before proceeding with a lawsuit. How many butt-head ambulance chasers will attempt to pursue an entity like that? Not many! As you can see, there is a half-assed way to form a corporate structure and a way to form one correctly.

  110. Nellie, thank you for posting such informative advice with such clarity and patience.

    I am registering a new research/consulting business in PA as (let’s call it) Center for Investigating and Pondering Incredible Stuff, LLC. With such a ponderous name, I will also file a fictitious name, CIPIS. I also will have a domain name — for information and contact, not for selling. I want the business to commonly go by the name CIPIS — much like IBM is used for International Business Machines, Inc. I also want to use “Center for Investigating and Pondering Incredible Stuff” without the “LLC,” so I should register a dba for that, as you advise.

    After reading your comments, I understand that I do not need a dba “CIPIS, LLC.” Rather, the names “CIPIS” and “Center for Investigating and Pondering Incredible Stuff” will do. Is this correct?

    Secondly, as the actual business will be more serious and will seek Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, I will hopefully be getting work from agencies in DC or elsewhere, and, likely, publishing work in journals. For these reasons, I want to get federal trademarks for “CIPIS” and “Center for Investigating and Pondering Incredible Stuff.” I presume that I do not need to include “LLC” in any name trademarks. Is this also correct?

    Finally, does getting grants from DC really mean I should register the fictitious names there? I’ll be delivering work to DC, but will be receiving funds to my business in PA — and the fictitious names will (hopefully) be allowed trademarks, anyway.

    Thanks again,

    • Hi Stephen,

      That is correct. Generally, it will be required to file a DBA or DBAs when using ANY name that varies from the full, legal business name of the LLC. The DBAs will need to be registered in the same state as the LLC (which generally will be filed in whichever state the business address is located.) As far as the trademarks are concerned, they do not necessarily have to match exactly (or at all) to the name of the LLC.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  111. Hello,

    If I am already planning on getting an LLC for my business. Can I get my DBA first and then move it under my LLC after. Or do I need to obtain my LLC first and then file my DBA underneath it?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Hi Ashley,

      Great question. Generally the LLC would need to be filed first, as it will ultimately be owning the DBA. When filing a DBA, it is required to list the owner of the entity (which in this case would be the LLC.) If you have any other questions or need assistance with these filings, please feel free to call Katie in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638 x110.

  112. Hi,
    I started selling a number of perfumes soley on eBay that I collected over the past 20+ years and already have about $15k in sales this year and my only form of payment from customers is via PayPal and I have set up a paypal business account which has a business name of Lucky One and then all of my person info and is linked to my personal BofA char king account. do I need to file for a DBA under the same business name I have with PayPal? If so am I going to get in trouble when filing the DBA since I have already been using it for a few months now?
    Thanks for the reply:)
    Ps: I am planning on filing and paying taxes as a Sole Proprietor.

    • Hi Laura,

      It’s generally required to file a DBA (or corporation or LLC) in order to do business using a specific name. This will allow you to conduct business under that name, as well as open a bank account under that name. If you have any additional questions or would like assistance with filing a DBA, please feel to contact Katie Hendrix in my office for a free business consultation at 888-449-2638.

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