How to Get a DBA (Doing Business As):
Assumed Names, Fictitious Names, Trade Names and DBAs

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The easiest way to start or grow your business

A DBA, which stands for doing business as, offers a quick, affordable option for starting a business by securing a business name and registering your business with your state; DBAs can be used for sole proprietors, partners, and corporations alike. While a DBA (also known as an Assumed Name, Trade Name, or Fictitous Name) doesn’t offer some of the financial benefits of an LLC or corporation, a DBA is still a great choice for many entrepreneurs looking to start a new company or expand their existing business.

Because DBAs don’t offer all of the advantages of incorporating or forming an LLC, DBAs typically cost less. Filing a DBA is therefore a low-cost option for small businesses that won’t require a great deal of upfront capital.

DBAs for sole proprietors

How to Get a DBA

Sole proprietors, or individuals, often start with a DBA instead of an LLC or corporation. DBAs offer sole proprietors the opportunity to conduct business under the business name of their choosing while protecting their social security number—with a DBA, a business owner can obtain a Federal Tax ID number, if they wish, so that their clients and customers can make payments to their business and not to them.

Financial Considerations for DBAs

A DBA does not provide the same financial protection or tax benefits that other entity types may offer. A sole proprietor operating under a DBA still has his or her personal finances tied directly to the business's finances. Many entrepreneurs starting a business that requires a great deal of capital might stay away from a DBA for this reason and instead choose an LLC or corporate structure.

Moonlighting with a DBA

Many entrepreneurs who moonlight with a home-based business choose to set that business up as a DBA. If the business is a second job or side business, a DBA may be preferable to other business entity types. Businesses with little overhead, like a consulting business or a hobby business, may be best served by a DBA instead of a corporate or LLC structure that would typically require more paperwork and higher costs.

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DBAs are often the best choice for sole

DBAs for corporations and LLCs

Expanding Your Business: How to Get a DBA

It's also common for corporations or LLCs to want to use a DBA as it expands its business. A DBA allows the company to conduct its business under a name that more accurately reflects its products or services.

For example, if a business called Fourth Street Bakery, LLC wants to open up another location on Walnut Street, it can file a DBA for Walnut Street Bakery. In this case, the new location is entirely a part of Fourth Street Bakery, LLC, sharing in the financial and tax benefits. Fourth Street Bakery, LLC can operate Walnut Street Bakery with a business name that more accurately reflects its business on Walnut Street.