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