For LLCs or corporations, a DBA or FBN (fictitious business name) will let you operate multiple businesses without having to form a separate LLC or corporation for each business. Let’s say your business wants to expand into multiple websites, stores, restaurants, services, etc. You can create a corporation with a relatively generic name and use a DBA for each individual business. This will cut down on your paperwork and expenses when you’re operating multiple projects.
It’s the easiest way to register your name: If you’re a sole proprietor, then filing for a DBA or FBN (fictitious business name) is going to be the simplest and least expensive way to use a business name. You can create a separate professional business identity, without having to form an LLC or corporation. And for sole proprietors, a DBA or FBN (fictitious business name) is required in order to open a bank account and receive payments in the name of your business.
Keeps your business compliant: If your business is an LLC or corporation, you enjoy certain legal protections. However, these protections may be invalidated if you’re operating under a different name and didn’t file for a DBA or FBN (fictitious business name). For example, I may have incorporated Summer Flowers Gardening, Inc. But if I sign a client contract under Summer Flowers (or some other variation like that), that contract may not hold up in court.

DBA/FBN

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DBA stands for “doing business as”. FBN stands for “fictitious business name”.

Essentially, you need a DBA/FBN if you do business under a name other than your legal business entity name.

For example, if your business is an LLC with legal name “Smith & Jones LLC” and you operate a store with name “SJ Winery” you need to apply for a DBA.

The following circumstances indicate a need to file for a DBA:
· Individual: When the registrant’s family name is not part of the business name, and no other words suggest the existence of additional owners.
· Partnerships or other associations of persons: When the surnames of each general partner are not part of the business name, and no other words suggest the existence of additional owners.
· Corporations: When using a name other than the name registered with the Secretary of State.
· Limited Liability Company: When using a name other than the name registered as a limited liability company with the Secretary of State.
· Words that suggest the existence of additional owners: Company, & Company, & Associates, & Sons, & Group, etc.

For sole proprietors: If you’re operating your business as a sole proprietor, then you’ll need to file for a DBA or FBN (fictitious business name) if your business has a different name than your own name.


So, let’s say I’ve started a gardening business called Spring Flowers Gardening; I’ll need to file for a DBA for “Spring Flowers Gardening.”


There are a few other details to know. In some cases, you don’t need a DBA if your business name is a combination of your name and a description of your product or service. In this case, if my business was called Nate Smith’s Gardening Service, I may not need a DBA. But, if it’s just my first name (aka Nate’s Gardening Service), then a DBA is required.

For corporations and LLCs: If you have filed to become a corporation or LLC, then you’ve already registered your business name and don’t need a DBA or FBN (fictitious business name). However, you will need to get a DBA if you plan on conducting business using a name that’s different than the name filed with your LLC/corporation paperwork.
Some states and counties charge filing fees for the DBA. In our $89 pricing we will cover the cost of filing if it is under $15 (usually the case). However, for states and counties that charge more we will send you a link to pay the additional state fees involved. We also cover the credit card processing fee.
Some counties may require the person applying for the DBA to notarize their signature and either mail in the application that we complete for you, or show up at the County Clerk (in these cases we will send them the application beforehand so you just need to bring a reference number). This is primarily for ID verification purposes.


Additionally, you may need to present proof of use to the issuing county after the DBA is approved. Please see proof of publication (we will send you instructions upon DBA approval)

Although we obtain the DBA for you, the owner is responsible for using that DBA and providing proof to the county of that use. Many counties require that you need to have a local publication list your DBA within a month or two of the DBA approval receipt, such as a newspaper to prove that it is being used.


We will provide you specific instructions for your county once the DBA is approved. The owner needs to decide on the specific publication, duration, ad size etc themselves although we can assist you with this process.

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