How to Change a DBA

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

How to Change a DBA

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

Sometimes a business needs to change the DBA name it's been operating under. If you're in this situation, changing your business' DBA name isn't a difficult process. However, you need to take a number of steps to change your DBA name properly.

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Reasons for Amending a DBA

Businesses often use a DBA (doing business as) to run their operations under a name that's not the legal name. But sometimes it makes good business sense to change your DBA name. A few reasons you may want to change the name include:

  • Expanding business offerings: If your DBA name reflects the product or service you're currently offering, and you want to expand your business to include other products or services, it's often a good idea to change your DBA name to something less limiting.
  • Changing geographical scope: A DBA name that specifies a geographic area or region may need to be changed if you decide to extend your business to other locations.
  • Starting a new line of business: You may decide to change your line of business entirely, which can often necessitate a DBA name change. For example, if you run a window-cleaning business under the name Smith Window Cleaning and you've decided to change your services to include window installations, you will want to change your DBA name so potential customers know what you offer.

How to Change Your DBA Name

The process for updating DBAs isn't hard, but the specific rules and regulations for changing a DBA vary from state to state. For example, some states allow you to make an amendment to your DBA name registration in order to change your DBA name, while other states require you to file a new DBA registration.

The following is a general overview of the DBA name-change process. Be sure to check with your state or county on the exact requirements for amending a DBA name.

  1. Conduct a name search: You usually cannot pick a DBA name that's already being used by another business. Most states or counties have a name database you can search to make sure your new DBA name isn't already in use.
  2. File the proper forms: Whether your state lets you make a DBA name change or requires you to register a new DBA name, you will need to fill out the proper forms. Most state and county websites have DBA forms online.
  3. Submit your forms: Many states give you the option of submitting your forms online, along with an online payment. Other options include mailing in your form with the proper payment, or filing your forms in person.
  4. Publish a notice: Your state might require you to publish a notice of your new DBA name. This often means you will need to publish a notice in a local newspaper. You might also be required to publish a notice of the termination of your old DBA name. Check out your state's publication requirements for specific details about what you will need to do to effectively publish required notices.

After Your DBA Name Change

Once you've formally registered your DBA name change, you'll need to complete a few other important tasks:

  • Inform your bank: Update your banking information to reflect your new DBA name.
  • Change your branding: Make changes everywhere your DBA name appears, including letterhead, business cards, and invoices. Even if you don't change your website's URL, you should change all mentions of your DBA name on your website.
  • Tell your customers and suppliers: Let your customers and vendors know your new business name.

If you want to change your business' DBA name, whatever the reason, the DBA name-change process isn't particularly challenging. It's important, though, to check your state's specific requirements.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.