Startup Basics / Startup Life

Understanding DBA As A Small Business Owner

As a new business owner, you have the option for your company to choose a business name or dba (“doing business as”) for your business. 

What Is a DBA?

DBA’s allow for businesses to operate under their chosen name. Ensure you file a DBA simultaneously you acquire your legal business entity and EIN for your business. In most states, it is illegal to run a business without one.

What is the difference between LLC and DBA?

Doing business as (DBA) refers to companies that operate under a fictitious name, while limited liability company (LLC) refers to legal entities that are entirely separate from business owners. LLCs offer far more legal protections to business owners than DBAs do.

Things A DBA Can Not Do 

Protect your business for legal purposes and matters. However, an LLC provides your business with a multitude of legal protections when needed. Nor will it grant naming rights to your business. When I filed for my first DBA in Dallas over ten years ago, they required me to search to make sure no one else owned the name for legal purposes. In addition to that, it is not copyrighting or trademarking your business name. That is another step in protecting your business.

What Are Things You Can Do 

One of the first benefits of your DBA is the general public will not see your personal information. They will see all the documentation tied to the business. You will also be able to acquire a business bank account with this information.

How To File and Cost:

The cost of your DBA will be dependent on the city and state you reside in. Several years ago, when I applied for one, it was $7, but they can run you up to $100 depending on the state you live in. You will find this information at your county clerk’s website or offices. 

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

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