Define DBA

By Michael Keenan

A DBA, short for "doing business as," refers to the name a company or individual uses when it operates under a different name than its legally registered name. Most states require you to register your DBA with either your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where you're doing business. DBAs are also called "assumed names," "trade names," or "fictitious names."

A DBA, short for "doing business as," refers to the name a company or individual uses when it operates under a different name than its legally registered name. Most states require you to register your DBA with either your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where you're doing business. DBAs are also called "assumed names," "trade names," or "fictitious names."

When You Need a DBA

Sole proprietors need to register a DBA when using any name besides their given names. For example, if your name is Kevin Johnson and you want to open "Johnson's Donuts," you would need to register that fictitious business name. Legally registered entities, like limited liability companies and corporations, must register a DBA when using any name besides the official name in their registration documents. For example, if you register a corporation as "Michael's Holding Companies, Inc." and then decide to open a store called "Michael's Pet Store," you must register the latter name as a DBA.

File a DBA for your business online. Get Started Now
File a DBA for your business online. Get Started Now
How to Register a DBA Name So No One Else Can Use It

References

Related articles

How to Become a DBA

The acronym DBA stands for “doing business as.” A DBA is a business name your company uses that is different from the name of the company or the name of its owners. States have slightly different filing requirements and may use similar terms for the DBA concept such as trade name, fictitious name and assumed name. Not all states require registering fictitious names, but doing so will help eliminate potential confusion in the event another business uses a name similar to yours.

Do You Need a DBA for Sole Proprietorship?

A sole proprietor can work under her own name or operate under a catchy business nickname. A DBA, which stands for "doing business as," can help you create a marketable trade name and identity. State laws regarding DBAs vary. A reputable, online legal document provider can complete DBA registration requirements that may apply to you.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Filing for a Fictitious Business Name

The name you use to conduct business can greatly affect the success of your endeavor. While you're required by state laws to use your business' legal name, you're also allowed to register a business alias -- called a fictitious business name -- to help establish awareness in the marketplace, distinguish a brand or for any other reason. The pros and cons of registering a fictitious business name depend on your circumstances and the legal structure of your venture.

Related articles

How to File a DBA on Your Own in Iowa

When you operate a business under any name besides the registered name or your own name if you are a sole proprietor, ...

What Do You Need to Register a Business Name?

For many customers, your business name is the first point of reference they have with regard to your company. Leave a ...

What Does DBA Mean in Business?

In the business world, DBA - which stands for "doing business as" - is a vitally important acronym to know. ...

Can You Have More Than One DBA for a California Corporation?

In California, an incorporated business is eligible to hold itself out to the public under a fictitious business name, ...

Browse by category