How To Add A DBA To An LLC? Free Guide 2024

How To Add A DBA To An LLC?
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If you’re running a limited liability company and want to operate under a different name, a DBA (Doing Business As) can help. This is commonly referred to as DBA. An assumed name or fictitious name registration is needed by many different types of companies including real estate investors, rental property owners, and even franchise owners for marketing purposes, conducting business. Adding a DBA to an LLC or sole proprietorship is a straight-forward process. This will not affect any liability protection, business regulation, or legal obligations. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to add a DBA to your LLC and expand your brand.

Read More: Best Registered Agent Services 2024

What is a DBA?

Operating many businesses under your own name can limit your privacy. A fictitious name or assumed name solves this problem. For many limited liability company or small business owners, a DBA offers privacy. A DBA is a fictitious name under which the limited liability company operates and conducts its operations. A DBA doesn’t create separate legal entities, the entity itself remains the same, and all legal and financial responsibilities and liabilities associated with the DBA are still attributed to the business entity. However, the DBA can help multiple businesses create brand recognition and loyalty. As to tax implications, all income, expenses, and liabilities associated with the DBA name are attributed to the business entity that it represents. This means that if a business entity operates under multiple DBA name, all of the income and expenses related to each DBA are reported under the same tax identification number (TIN) as the business entity.It’s important to properly register and use the DBA to avoid confusion of the fictitious name and any legal issues, but the DBA itself does not create a separate legal entity. They must be set up according to state laws.

Why Do You Need a DBA?

Doing Business as, commonly referred to as DBA is a way to conduct business under a name that’s different from the legal name of the business owner or business, itself. It’s a simple process that allows for additional privacy for business activities from one LLC to another. It doesn’t have additional legal right from other LLCs for the business, but does require a public notice. This fictitious business name can help them expand their brand, make it easier for customers to recognize them, and also comply with state laws that require them to register their company name. Additionally, it can help companies establish separate brands for different products or services that they offer. A DBA does not need separate bank accounts from the LLC or sole proprietorship.

Where to Register a DBA?

A DBA should be registered in the state where you conduct business, and each has its own processes and procedures. In general, businesses can usually register a DBA with the county clerk’s office or the state agency responsible for business registration. Some states also require businesses to publish a notice of the DBA registration in a newspaper. It’s important to research the specific requirements in the state and county where the business entity intends to operate.

Consequences of Failing to File a DBA

The consequences of not filing a DBA registration can vary depending on the state and local laws. In some cases, businesses may face fines, legal action, or be unable to renew certain licenses or permits. Additionally, operating under an unregistered name can create confusion among customers, creditors, and other businesses. It may also hinder the ability to establish and protect a brand. Therefore, it’s important for businesses to research and comply with the DBA registration requirements in the state and county where they operate.

5 Basic Steps to Set up a DBA for Your LLC 2024

A DBA can separate a trade name or assumed name from the LLC name. Here’s how to set up a fictitious business name or assumed name for your business in five easy steps: 

Choose a Business Name for Your DBA 

Choosing a fictitious name or assumed name can be an important decision that impacts the success and branding of a business. Here are some general tips to consider when choosing a fictitious business name:

  • Make it unique and memorable.
  • Avoid names that are too similar to existing businesses or trademarks.
  • Consider a name that reflects the company’s mission or values.
  • Keep it simple and easy to spell and pronounce.
  • Check for available domain names and social media handles.
  • Consider how the name will look on marketing materials and branding.
  • Avoid names that may limit the business’s potential growth or expansion.

It’s also important to research the naming requirements in the state and county where the business will operate, as well as any federal trademark laws that may apply.

Complete Required Forms

The DBA form required to file can vary depending on the state and local laws. In general, businesses may need to file a DBA form with the city government, local agency such as the county clerk’s office or state government agency responsible for business registration. Some states may require additional forms or documentation, such as proof of publication in a local newspaper or a copy of the business’s articles of incorporation or organization. A business lawyer can help with these.

Secure Business Licenses & Registration Needed

In addition to registering a DBA (Doing Business As), businesses may need to obtain other licenses and registrations depending on the type of trade name, business registered and location. Some common types of licenses and registrations include:

  • Business license: A general license required to operate a business in a specific city, county, or state for sole proprietors, LLC, and other types.
  • Professional licenses: Required for certain professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants for sole proprietor, LLC, and other types.
  • Sales tax permit: Required to collect and remit sales tax on products or services sold.
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN): To keep a business legal, this is required to hire employees and for tax purposes.
  • State business registration: Required for certain types of businesses, such as corporations and LLCs.

The specific requirements for licenses and registrations can vary depending on the state and local laws. 

Publish Notice of Your New DBA

Some states and local jurisdictions require businesses to publish a notice of their DBA registration in a local newspaper. The publication requirement typically involves publishing the notice once a week for a certain number of weeks in a newspaper that circulates in the area where the business is located. The specific requirements for publication can vary depending on the state and county where the business operates.

Trademark Your DBA Name

Trademarking a fictitious name or assumed name can provide legal protection for the name and prevent others from using it for similar products or services. However, trademarking a business name is not required and may not be necessary for all businesses, particularly small businesses that operate in a limited geographic area. Forms are available in your state’s trademark office for DBA filing, through some local agencies, and is a simple process with a filing fee. 

Trademark registration can be a complex and expensive process, and businesses should carefully consider the potential benefits and costs before deciding to pursue it. It’s important to research and ensure that the business name is available and not already trademarked by someone else before using it. Additionally, it’s recommended to consult with a lawyer or trademark professional to determine the best course of action for the business’s specific needs and circumstances.

The Top 2 LLC Services

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Through ZenBusiness you can search for available trade names, DBA names, create articles of incorporation, find out the needed documentation for your state and federal filings and registrations, obtain an EIN, build the business web presence through domain names, email, and domain privacy protection. 

ZenBusiness offers three tiers for members ranging from $49/year to $299/year. For each tier there are additional charges which will not be included; these include an EIN filing charge (one time, $70), a worry free guarantee service ($129 per year), and a 25% discount on agent services, any state filing fees. 

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest is primarily a Registered Agent Service but their suite of tools does offer additional business services at a reasonable price. The initial cost is $39 to file the LLC paperwork; all other charges are due as per your state’s regulations. There is a separate option, called Pay In Full. With this option, which costs $225, Northwest will file the LLC, and provide agent services for one year, however, all other charges from state fees, etc., will still apply. 

Northwest will scan up to five regular documents each year for free; after the initial five there is a charge for additional services. This is also different from other providers as many will only scan and send legal documents. 

Read More: Best LLC Services 2024

Final Thoughts

For those who operate multiple businesses, adding a DBA to an LLC is one way to keep personal information separate from the business, to build brand recognition and loyalty, and to create a new stream of revenue for a legal business entity. Choosing and registering a business name, including a DBA, is an important step for any business. By following the state agency requirements and guidelines, limited liability companies can protect their brand, comply with state laws, file with the appropriate state agency, and establish a strong presence in their industry for marketing and advertising purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a DBA?

DBA stands for “Doing Business As” and is a fictitious business name that is different from the business owner and/or legal name of the business. Any LLC conducts business may choose to register a DBA; this includes sole proprietorships and other types of business entities.

How to add a DBA to an LLC?

To add DBA to an LLC, first you’ll do a business name search to ensure there are no other businesses with the same DBA or same name; once found it’s time to file a DBA. The filing process to add a DBA to a sole proprietorship or LLC includes to file a registration form or application with the state government agency or county agency, pay any applicable fees, and publish a notice in a local newspaper.

What types of businesses may need a DBA?

This registration can make sense for a variety of businesses, such as sole proprietors, partnerships, and LLCs, that want to operate under a name different from their legal name. It can also be useful for businesses that want to establish a distinct brand identity or operate multiple businesses under one umbrella.



Kristina Knight-1
Kristina Knight, Journalist , BA
Content Writer & Editor
Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with, NBC News,, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.


He is an organized and creative thinking sales management professional with experience in outside and inside sales in various markets. Working as freelancer in the Greater Boston Market, he moved to St. Louis and became an Account Executive, then a Sales Manager managing and coaching 12 sales reps covering a nationwide territory. He has developed his team with a combination of consultative selling and value before price coaching mindset which has won him a President’s Cup and many other financially rewarding awards at RICOH. His most recent role as a Continuous Improvement Manager provided insight into the importance of delivering a quality product in alignment with the value and reputation of his organization. It further enhances the aspect of selling on value as opposed to price.

+ 5 sources

Bizreport Advisor adheres to strict editorial integrity standards avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Bizreport, you can read more about the editorial process here.

  1. IRS. Limited Liability Company LLC | Internal Revenue Service. Published 2019. Accessed May 4, 2023.
  2. Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN) | Internal Revenue Service. Accessed May 4, 2023.
  3. Employer ID Numbers | Internal Revenue Service. Published 2012. Accessed May 4, 2023.
  4. Trademarks. Accessed May 4, 2023.
  5. Guide to DBAs | Published 2019. Accessed May 4, 2023.



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