How a DBA Can Help Build Your Brand and Earn Customer Trust

How a DBA Can Help Build Your Brand and Earn Customer Trust
Updated May 10, 2023
Kevin McGrath
Written byKevin McGrath
Zachary Ace Aiuppa
Edited byZachary Ace Aiuppa
Share this guide

Naming your burgeoning business can be one of the most difficult decisions an entrepreneur or small business owner can make. While most first-time business owners opt to do business under their given name, others choose a more creative approach. Whatever you decide, know that most states will require you to file a Doing Business As (DBA) when operating under any name other than your legal given name or the incorporated business name on file with your state. 

Filing a DBA lets customers know who they're doing business with. It's even a legal requirement in some states. If you are doing business under a non-registered name, it's time to find out why filing a DBA is an absolute must. Keep reading to learn more about what a DBA is, the benefits of filing a DBA in your state, and how to get started with your DBA filing requirements

What Is a DBA

A DBA, also known as a Fictitious Business Name or Trade Name, allows a company to operate under different business names without forming separate legal entities. Filing a DBA will place your information on file with your state, allowing the customer to track down important contact information. Each state has different filing requirements, and some require any new name to appear in a print publication before being finalized.

Ways a DBA Can Benefit Your Customers & Clients

Choosing to do business under a name other than your own opens a world of possibilities for your company, the impacts of which will help improve your customer relations. 

Helps Establish You as a Brand

There is nothing inherently wrong with doing business under your legal name. However, a DBA can help build your brand and expand your business's reach. Establishing a brand can help your company survive for generations and start to build relationships outside of your typical sphere of influence.

Builds Customer Trust

Taking the time to formalize a business name can help build trust with customers. It can elevate your product or services from another home business operating out of a garage to one with a reputation for a higher level of professionalism.

Makes Your Business Contact Information Publicly Available 

Filing a DBA will also ensure that all past, present, and future customers will be able to find your contact information through your local county clerk's office. This gives all parties incentive to conduct business professionally and resolve any issues that come up along the way. A business that has not filed a DBA could disappear overnight, potentially leaving customers high and dry.

Ways a DBA Can Help Grow Your Business

In addition to providing the above-mentioned customer benefits, a DBA also offers several advantages for your company. 

Differentiate Your Service Lines

If you are a company that offers a wide variety of products or services, you may want to file separate DBAs to expand your service lines. This can allow your separate entities to stand out on their own, create clear proposals for customers, and will allow you to run more targeted marketing campaigns.

Expand to New Markets

Filing a DBA could also allow you to expand into new areas where you are not currently doing business, such as a neighboring county or state. While this may not offer the full legal protections of an LLC, it will provide the minimum legal requirements of doing business for most areas.

How a DBA and an LLC Can Work Together

If you can't decide between incorporating as an LLC or filing a DBA, remember, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, many LLCs take advantage of DBA laws to conduct business under several names while keeping everything under a single business entity, making accounting and taxes a simpler task for small business owners.

Disadvantages of a DBA Alone

Most of the disadvantages of a DBA are canceled out by pairing it with an LLC, but many small businesses do start with a DBA alone. There is nothing wrong with this, but an unpaired DBA has some disadvantages, including:

  • No personal liability protections

  • Fewer tax benefits

  • No exclusive rights to your business name

Steps to Apply for a DBA

Each state has its own requirements to file a DBA for your business. In most states, you will be able to check with your county clerk to verify what paperwork is needed and the associated costs. Below is the general process followed in many states: 

  1. Research if your chosen name is already in use

  2. Obtain necessary forms and paperwork

  3. Notarize any necessary forms

  4. Return paperwork to the appropriate state and county offices

Form Your DBA Online in as Few as 10 Minutes

When you're ready to file your DBA, Swyft Filings is here to help save you time and money on the process. This is a big step to going legit on your side hustle. If you are not ready to go full LLC, getting a DBA is your next best option. Visit our DBA filing page now to get started.

Originally published on October 21, 2022, and last edited on May 10, 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for answers? You came to the right place. To learn more about our company mission and culture, click the link below.

Life at Swyft
How much does it cost to form a corporation or LLC?

You can form a corporation or LLC with our help for as little as $0, plus state filing fees for incorporation. Filing fees vary depending on the state you incorporate in. For more information on specific states, check out our state guides on the Swyft Resource Center. You can also email us with specific questions or contact us at 877-777-0450.

What payment methods do you accept?

Swyft Filings accepts payment through Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, checks, and money orders. You can send any questions about payment to our email address or contact us at 877-777-0450.

Will I have to pay additional fees to Swyft Filings after completing my order?

It depends on what you ordered. If all you did was file your corporation or LLC, the price you paid when ordering is all you pay. You will have no further fees after that.

However, if you signed up for the Swyft Filings Registered Agent Service, you will be charged its initial fee three days after you place your order. From then on, you will be charged according to the terms of your subscription until you change your registered agent with the state or dissolve your company. If you change your agent or dissolve your company on your own, let us know so we can discontinue billing.

Other potential subscription-based options include SnapMailbox, 360 Legal Forms, and ComplianceGuard. If you opt for SnapMailbox or 360 Legal Forms, you will be charged a monthly fee after their respective 30-day free trials end. ComplianceGuard has an annual fee after a 14-day free trial. All three of these services are completely optional.

When will my order be processed?

Our team processes all Standard orders on a first come, first served basis. If you opt for Express or Same-Day Processing, we prioritize your order and send it to the front of the line. However, no matter how fast we get it out the door, you’ll still have to wait for your state to address your filing.

Swyft Blog

Everything you need to know about starting your business.

Each and every one of our customers is assigned a personal Business Specialist. You have their direct phone number and email. Have questions? Just call your personal Business Specialist. No need to wait in a pool of phone calls.

Woman in room with flowers in vases.
Preparing to Launch

5 LegalZoom Alternatives for Entrepreneurs

If you’ve considered forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, or nonprofit, you’ve probably heard of LegalZoom. This service has helped entrepreneurs with business formation since 2001.
Coffee Shop Owner on Computer
Preparing to Launch

Northwest Registered Agent vs. LegalZoom

Our Northwest Registered Agent vs. LegalZoom comparison reviews each service’s formation time, customer service, and offerings so you make an informed choice.
Nonprofit Spotlight: Bailey's Bookworms' Mission of Literacy
Managing Your Business

Nonprofit Spotlight: Bailey's Bookworms' Mission of Literacy

Swyft Filings is a business formation service that automates the filing process for entrepreneurs, making it easier to get their LLC, C corp, S corp, or nonprofit off the ground. Since 2015, we've helped over 300,000 businesses incorporate.
Blog Card Image
Managing Your Business

What's an Apostille?

Swyft Filings is a business formation service that automates the filing process for entrepreneurs, making it easier to get their LLC, C corp, S corp, or nonprofit off the ground. Since 2015, we've helped over 300,000 businesses incorporate.
zenbusiness vs legalzoom - Swyft Filings

ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom: Comparing LLC Formation Services

Our ZenBusiness vs. LegalZoom comparison reviews each service’s formation time, customer service, and other features so you make an informed choice.
Setting Up Business Credit
Managing Your Business

How to Get an EIN to Open a Business Bank Account

In most cases, you need an employer identification number to open a business bank account. Follow these steps to get an EIN for your business banking needs

Do what you love. We'll handle the paperwork.

Trusted by over 250,000 businesses since 2015. Start your business with confidence. Affordable. Fast. Simple.

Incorporate now
Dummy Switchback Image