DBA – DOING BUSINESS AS
DBA stands for “doing business as,” and is used to alert the state and the public that you, or your business, is operating under a trade name / business name (i.e. John Doe DOING BUSINESS AS John’s Motors).
Who Needs to Register a DBA?
There are several circumstances when you must register a DBA:
- Sole Proprietorships Operating Under a Business Name. If you are a sole proprietor conducting business using a name that’s different from your own name, you must register a DBA.
- General Partnerships Operating Under a Business Name. If you and one or more other individuals have formed a general partnership, and are operating that partnership under a business name, you must register a DBA.
- Businesses Operating Under More than One Name. Frequently companies wish to operate under several different trade names. For example, if John Doe begins operating an LLC called John’s Car Repair, and then wants to open another business location specifically for motorcycles and wants to call it John’s Motorcycle Repair, John must register “John’s Motorcycle Repair” as a DBA. This does not mean that John Doe now has two separate business entities. It simply means that John’s Car Repair, LLC owns and is now also operating as John’s Motorcycle Repair.
The Benefits of a DBA
- The Law. The main benefit of filing a DBA is it will keep you compliant with the law. The state requires that you register any trade name by which you are conducting business.
- Less Work for Sole Proprietors. For sole proprietors, a DBA lets them use a typical business name without creating a formal legal entity (i.e. corporation or LLC). This is typically the least expensive way to legally conduct business under a different business name, but this also comes with risks, as described on our sole proprietorship page.
- Limit Extra Work. If an existing company (LLC, Corporation, Partnership, etc.) desires to operate under several different names, registering one or more DBAs can allow that company to operate under those names without creating separate entities, thus avoiding unnecessary costs and paperwork.
- Marketing Purposes. Filing a DBA frequently enables individuals and businesses to expand their market by using different business names that appeal to their target audiences.
How to File a DBA
Utah’s OneStop Online Business Registration will walk you through the process of registering a DBA. The cost is $22.
If you are operating a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, a DBA will not protect your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit, or if your business defaults on any of its obligations. You will likely be held personally accountable.