If you want to operate a business under a name other than your own or the existing name of your company, you need to file a fictitious name statement or DBA, which stands for “doing business as.” Filing for a DBA in Southern California is a relatively simple procedure and once it is complete, your new business name will be filed with the County-Recorder Clerk’s office in the county where your business will be conducted.
Conduct a name search to make certain the name you want to file has not been taken already. You can search online through the website for the County-Recorder Clerk’s office in your county, such as the Los Angeles County branch (see References), or through a DBA filing website (see Resources).
Fill out and send in an application for a fictitious business name statement. Depending on the county in Southern California, the application can be downloaded from the County-Recorder Clerk’s website or attained in person at their offices or by mail. You will need to pay a filing fee, which varies per county, but was roughly $25 to $30 as of 2010.
It is a California state law that you must publish a notification of your filing in a paper with general circulation in the county in which you will be doing business within 30 days of filing for your DBA. This notice must be published once a week for four weeks. The local County-Record Clerk’s office can provide you with a list of suitable papers where you can publish your notification. The Los Angeles County office has a list online and you can contact the San Diego County office through their website to request a list of acceptable papers (see References). You can then contact the paper directly to publish the notification. Fees will vary depending on the paper.
A number of websites are available that can assist you in filing your DBA and publishing the announcement. In addition to the state fees, they will charge you an additional fee to handle the entire process for you. Websites like dbastore.com, centraldba.com and chamberofcommercejournal.com will streamline the process if you are willing to pay a small premium. After the announcement has run, you will receive a proof of publication and a stamped form to keep for your records. Your DBA is good for five years, at which time you will have to file a renewal.
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