A Doing Business As (commonly referred to as a DBA, assumed name, fictitious business name, or trade name) provides businesses a legally recognized way to conduct themselves under a name other than the incorporated name.
Frequently Asked Questions
Doing Business As (DBA) FAQs
What exactly is a doing business as (DBA)?
Are there any restrictions on who can file a DBA?
There are no restrictions on who can file for a DBA. Informal business structures such as sole proprietorships and general partnerships will benefit greatly by obtaining a DBA. Without a DBA, informal business structures must conduct business under the personal name of their owners. Also, many banks require a business to have a DBA to open an account.
What benefits does filing a DBA provide?
There are numerous reasons to file for a DBA. The most common are:
- Increased credibility – A well-chosen name can enhance the credibility of a business, especially for sole proprietors and general partnerships.
- The ability to open financial accounts – Many banks require sole proprietorships and general partnerships to take on a DBA before opening an account.
- Branding purposes – There are numerous ways that a DBA can assist a company's branding efforts. Some of the most common are to integrate a company's name with their online properties (domain names, social media profiles, etc.), or to position themselves differently to multiple demographics.
- Multiple Names – A DBA allows companies to effectively run multiple branding campaigns, or even separate businesses, under one legal entity. As long as the chosen names are not misleading to consumers, and reflect the company's products or services, there is no limit to the number of DBAs that a business can have.
Is acquiring a DBA ever mandatory?
A DBA is mandatory any time that an organization wishes to transact business under a name other than their incorporated name.
While it isn't mandatory for sole proprietorships and general partnerships to acquire DBAs, there are some limitations placed on them if they do not have one. Without a DBA, these types of business cannot typically open a bank account with most institutions, and must represent themselves strictly as the owner's personal name(s).
Why would a formal business entity file for a DBA?
Filing for a DBA allows formal business entities such as LLCs and corporations to represent themselves with multiple names. This is beneficial if the company is offering unrelated products and/or reaching out to different demographic groups.
Where should my business file for its DBA?
You will need to file your DBA at either the state, county or city level depending on the location of your business. It should also be noted that you might need to obtain a DBA to operate locally if your business was established in a foreign state.
How long does the DBA filing process take?
Swyft Filings DBA service takes approximately 2 weeks to complete from start to finish.
Is there any way to speed up the DBA filing process?
Yes. While Swyft Filings cannot control how long it takes for your local jurisdiction to handle your DBA application, we do offer a DBA filing option that relies on the expedited shipping of documents in order to ensure that the process is a fast as possible. If you elect to choose our expedited filing option, the whole process will typically take 1 week to complete from start to finish.
What does filing for a DBA involve?
The first step in filing for a DBA is to do a preliminary check for name availability in the jurisdiction in which you will be filing. If your desired name is available, you will then fill out the required paperwork with the appropriate agency and pay any related fees. Some jurisdictions will require that you publish a notice (or notices) of your company’s new alias in the local newspaper(s). Swyft Filings DBA filing service can complete this process for you as efficiently and as quickly as possible.
Are there any limits placed on terms that can be used for DBAs?
A DBA cannot include terms that would lead the public to believe that you are operating as a formal business structure that has been incorporated. For example, sole proprietorships cannot use the term “company” or “incorporated” in their DBAs, as this would send the message that the business was formally incorporated.
Are there any publication requirements involved with DBAs?
Some states require that any business that acquires a DBA run a public notice in a local newspaper. Depending on where you are located, the exact details will vary. Swyft Filings DBA service DOES NOT include the fulfillment of any publications that your local jurisdiction requires.
Do DBAs ever expire?
Yes, most DBA expire after 10 years of existence. Typically you will receive an official notice before the expiration date and be given the option to renew.
Do DBAs grant exclusive rights to the chosen name?
Yes, when you file for a DBA this prevents other organizations from using the business name in your local area. This is ideal for businesses that have long term branding or marketing plans. It is recommended that you explore registering your business name as a trademark if you would like to protect a name from being used by other organizations outside of your area.
Is there any limit to the number of DBAs a business can have?
A business may have many DBAs as long as each name does not violate any restrictions and is properly obtained.