Nowadays, a business entity in the United States can choose a business name two or more times. There are some reasons for it: an owner decided to transshape an LLC into a corporation or purchase its business and more. If you are involved in the same situation, doing business as or a DBA is an optimal variant to file for a new trade name. 

Besides a DBA, there are various methods to file a new business name for an LLC, a corporation, and other business entities. To realize which one is the most appropriate for a company, watch this article till the end to receive an exact vision of a DBA.

What is the difference between an LLC and a corporation? Is it necessary to join a DBA? Is a DBA suitable for a sole proprietorship? How to file a DBA? 

In this review, we’ll dispel stereotypes and typical mistakes, a trader makes while hesitating or approving a DBA for its business.

 From where to start?

From where to start?

First of all, it would be reasonable to choose a state where you plan to add a DBA, as every region has different claims to a business.

Alabama Louisiana Ohio
Alaska Maine Oklahoma
Arizona Maryland Oregon
Arkansas Massachusetts Pennsylvania
California Michigan Rhode Island
Colorado Minnesota South Carolina
Connecticut Mississippi South Dakota
Delaware Missouri Tennessee
Georgia NebraskaUtah
Hawaii NevadaVermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico Washington D.C.
Iowa New York West Virginia
Kansas North Carolina Wisconsin
Kentucky North Dakota Wyoming

What is a DBA? Definition and explanation

DBA is an acronym for doing business as. DBA is a commercial designation that helps to change a business name or lead a company on distinctive initials from its legal title. Many states indicate a DBA as a fictional, pretended, or trade name. It may sound suspicious, however having a DBA doesn’t violate the law.

For instance, if Andrew Grummit settles a sole proprietorship specialized in cooking, he can call his restaurant At the Andrew Grummit. It means he both promotes his name and services. However, if the male prefers to stay incognito and calls his business Enjoy your meal, Pizza queen, and so on, he has to file for a DBA for his sole proprietorship.

A DBA registration is an essential step to lead a business in the United States. If a dealer forms a name, he automatically makes his company legal by informing the government and society about his business entity and trade name.

Joining a DBA brings more advantages to a sole proprietorship or a business entity resembled Andrew’s one. Without mentioning an owner’s name, a business sounds more attractive, less selfish, and receives a right to open a bank bill. A neutral trade name is more likely to advance commodities, and a good DBA itself draws many customers.

But a sole proprietorship isn’t the only business entity that files for a DBA. An LLC or a corporation also sometimes interacts under a trade name which is effective while a business boosts. For example, if a sanitary engineering company decides to integrate reparation, its repair department can join a DBA to receive a separate trade name.

An important note. Despite its pluses, a DBA doesn’t provide limited liability protection, unlike an LLC. An LLC is a convenient, so no wonder, a widespread business entity of the US. It doesn’t take much time or effort to start an LLC. You can file for an LLC formation by doing it yourself or hiring a service.

Stereotypes about a DBA

There are some myths about a DBA, so we plan to discover them and protect you from any similar problem that may occur before or after adding a DBA. There is no serious reason to treat a DBA as a unique title supplier. It doesn’t guarantee originality or a trade name’s defense. 

Theoretically, any competitor can claim for your trade name, and you won’t be able to declare pretensions or apply to a court. It’ll rather happen if you indicated a simple name, so attempt to make your trade name sound more unusual. Keep in mind DBA doesn’t take legal accountability for its clients. 

Besides a trade name, it also doesn’t uphold a company. It means that a business holder is obligative for all the duties its LLC acquires. A DBA only assists in an outmoded name replacement. A corporate veil is a benefit for every registered business entity. It safeguards business and private stocks and forms limited liability preservation.

Are there any references to file for a DBA?

Below we’ll discuss the positive and negative features of a DBA in detail. But as a DBA doesn’t provide protection but only gives a new name, we aren’t going to praise and recommend its services. There are different ways for a trade name incorporation that work more comfortably.

If you run a sole proprietorship or cooperate with partners, it is rational to launch an LLC than file for a DBA. Both demand a registration costing, but an LLC creation beats a DBA in crucial moments, the second one can’t bring. With an LLC, you’ll gain private stock security and an official, unique business title to promote a company.

Pay attention! The US authorities don’t force dealers to use only one method while setting an LLC. You can submit documents yourself to the state or recruit an LLC formation service that removes anticipation, anxiety, and possible errors for an appropriate value.

If you have a business practice or already possess an LLC, we advise only to start a second company to insert a preferred trade name to your business entity. If you rule a corporation, it’s never late to open affiliates to implement a similar task – it’s a cunning variant for grand companies’ holders. A unique name a business receives from an LLC or a corporation isn’t the only privilege.

Joining a DBA to isolate each business unit doesn’t mean a company reaches a legal guard. A DBA also doesn’t release a sole proprietorship or a joint venture from accountability.

Even if a business entity’s owner has another vision and doesn’t aspire each sector to be equally responsible, a DBA still imposes obligations regardless of each unit’s financial achievements. But if you file another LLC or a corporation’s head-quarter, it’s possible to divide the company’s sectors for liable goals.

Is it difficult to file for a DBA?

If to debate about DBA documents, a trader doesn’t endure any paper routine with DBA registration at all. But still, almost every state or district requires DBA incorporation whether a proprietor plans to utilize it. However, 13 states demand to enroll a DBA, not at the administrative but regional measure:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

To obtain a DBA at a state level, apply to the Secretary of State, but the overwhelming majority of these 13 states ask to file a DBA at the local bureau.

The second stage is to finalize a DBA incorporation procedure. The pattern usually consists of one page, so the filling duration won’t last for a long time. In the end, you’ll need to donate money for an application charge.

Clients often pay below $30 from the $10-100 possible fee. This is a helpful function that demands a DBA prolonging. Validation of plenty of DBA lasts about 1-10 years according to a determined state. Some states don’t restrict a DBA or claim extra confirmation. Apply to the state’s agency or a local bureau to stay aware of distinctive features of your domain.

What are the advantages of a DBA?

Though we don’t recommend joining a DBA, we can’t deny that a DBA has positive characteristics. First, a dealer that files for a DBA can create a business bank under a trade name. No matter, a person manages a sole proprietorship or general fellowship, a bank will anyway ask to file for a DBA. Without a DBA, a trader won’t get permission to open a bank bill.

For instance, if Sabrina Kleinas sells pies at a stall near a bus stop, a bank won’t allow her sole proprietorship to form a business bank account, but only a private bill. But if she files for a DBA and gets it, the situation will change.

A DBA doesn’t supply with asset protection, but it still provides confidentiality to an LLC or a corporation. As a DBA doesn’t prohibit using a trade name, you don’t need to advertise your surname against your will while operating a business.

Going back to our example, Sabrina Kleinas can create a website, decorate a stall’s window with Sabrina Cookies but use her real name for cooperation. If you don’t even want people to pronounce your name, there is a chance to obtain more secrecy from a DBA.

With a trade name, a DBA still represents a sole proprietorship or joint venture as a formal reliable business. Sometimes an assumed name symbolizes coziness and friendliness. Purchasers are more enthusiastic to buy goods from an owner who focuses on a meal, not self-name promotion.

Your private name won’t bring much information about your business and services. A DBA doesn’t affect a legal status, but it influences a company’s reputation. With a DBA, a business entity usually rises.

A DBA helps to advance a business and its trade name, both to informal and official business entities. An LLC and a corporation can form subsidiary offices to obtain an assured name. A DBA doesn’t count or limit a company with fictitious titles.

Any business entity can file for an infinite number of trade names. If a corporation expands and needs to divide its sectors into different services, prices, and trade names, a DBA is always ready to manage this task.

A DBA helps to keep bookkeeping in order. A DBA isolates business segments, this function is beneficial for audit, tax payments, and accountancy, in general. The business sectors start being independent and can interact with various trade names thanks to a DBA. They compete with each other while being a part of one corporation due to a DBA.

What are the disadvantages of a DBA?

Some of DBA’s services are effective, however, a DBA doesn’t have only one minus. While reading about a DBA’s negative signs, you’ll obtain a complete view of doing business as and will realize whether you need to file for a DBA or not.

A DBA doesn’t give personal asset protection as a business entity’s position doesn’t bear any changes. It’s problematic for an LLC or a corporation, as a DBA doesn’t want to endure any obligations. You might rule a sole proprietorship or be a member of a great company a DBA won’t separate your and business assets.

Whether your business has loans, you might need to cover debts via your private possession. Though an LLC and a corporation restrict personal responsibility, many proprietors prefer to form them as they liberate people to answer for their businesses’ mistakes.

Also, a DBA doesn’t defense the uniqueness of a title. You can choose a beautiful trade name, but there’s no warranty that no one else interacts under similar initials.

Yes, it signifies that you can’t complain to anyone who promotes his commodities using your desirable name. If you face a rival with the same trade name, it’s reasonable to select another title. Opponents don’t often hesitate to register a brand name. It may sound problematic and like jitters, but as we told, a DBA doesn’t set restraints to any business entity. Both a sole proprietorship and mutual enterprise can file for a DBA as much as they want. 

Though a DBA allows “playing” with assumed names and isolating a business’s divisions for financial security, a DBA’s attitude to both innocent and not prosperous sectors is still the same. A DBA won’t appreciate nine sectors if one gets stuck in trouble. So that, if one segment violates the norms, all will be responsible. It sounds like injustice, but this is a DBA’s policy.

The majority of districts and states demand DBA’s prolongation. The paper procedure doesn’t claim much effort or time, but an owner should regularly check innovations related to a DBA’s rules. Several business holders strongly believe that it’s enough to file for a DBA for one time.

Sometimes a DBA renewal occurs every 12 months, seldom every 5-10 years. As every domain in the United States intrudes specific regulations, we advise appealing to the Secretary of State to receive an informative response about a DBA and its elongation.


Altogether, filling for a DBA or doing business as under an assumed name can be a beneficial variant, both for a sole proprietorship or joint venture. A DBA offers some fascinating services, however, a number of disadvantages are so high, that someone can hardly recommend joining a DBA.

No guarantee of a unique name possession sounds disappointed, but the absence of personal asset defense is too much. To register a DBA, a business owner also has to pay a fee. Honestly, a DBA demands more than gives. No business entity provokes so many obstacles as a DBA. We prefer to lead an LLC or corporation than a DBA, as they provide clients with all the necessary things versus a DBA.

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