If you have a business and want to branch out under another name you will need a DBA, or doing business as, name. A DBA is a name that a business operates under other than its legal name. Before you can do business under a DBA you need to know if another company is using that name. Do a DBA name search to see is a DBA name is available for use, to see if a business is operating as a DBA, or if its name is the legal name of the business.

Names You Want to Use

Visit your local county clerk office or secretary of state office in the county or state where you do business. Some states require DBA names to be registered at the county level, while others require it at the state level. Start at the county level; there you will find out if you need to go to the secretary of state for a DBA.

Give the clerk you preferred DBA name. You should also have a few backup names in case the name you want is already being used.

Ask the clerk to run a search on the name you want to use to see if anyone else is using it. Keep in mind that if you are doing this at the county level, you will get results for your county only. You can also contact a clerk at the secretary of state office to do your name search on a statewide level.

Names of Another Company

Determine the county and state in which the company is located. Look on the company's website or company brochure or other printed item.

Go to the local county court clerk where the company does business and present the business name that you are interested in.

Ask the clerk if the name is a DBA for an organization. If the local county clerk cannot help you, check with a clerk at the secretary of state office.