What is a DBA Name?

by Samantha Hanly - Updated September 26, 2017

There are lots of reasons to have a DBA. A fictitious business name gives a sole proprietor the ability to keep personal and business finances separate. Additional business names can also help larger corporations organize their different branches and offices. A DBA is legal and does not shield the identity of the user from the public.

Definition

DBA stands for "Doing Business As." A DBA is a business name.

Business Entities

A sole proprietor can choose a business name, his DBA, without forming a new business entity. Instead of forming a corporation, partnership, or LLC, the sole proprietor files his DBA, for example, Great Mechanic, and can accept checks from customers made out to Great Mechanic.

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One Business, Many Names

Larger businesses, such as corporations, can use different DBAs without forming more than one business entity. For example, Miller Bros. can file to do business as Miller Family Enterprise and Miller Company. The DBAs allow businesses to have just one company, but three different names.

Costs

Sole proprietors and other business entities do have to file and pay a fee for each and every DBA they wish to use. In most states, people visit their county offices to file a DBA. The costs vary greatly from county to county and state to state.

Identification

The county offices keep track of every DBA in the county. DBAs are a matter of public record, and the general public can research who is doing business under what name in the county offices. The National Business Register also keeps track of business names (see Resources).

Warning

People are not allowed to do business with their DBA or open a bank account with their DBA until the filing process is complete.

About the Author

Samantha Hanly is an organic vegetable gardener, greenhouse gardener and home canner. She grows a substantial portion of her family's food every year. After receiving her bachelor's degree, Hanly embarked on a career teaching dramatic arts, arts and crafts, and languages. She became a professional writer in 2000, writing curricula for use in classrooms and libraries.

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