How to Add a DBA to an LLC

How to Add a DBA to an LLC

How does an LLC do business using a different name? For example, if your LLC, ABC Plumbing LLC, wants to do business as Best Plumbers In Town, how do you change your name? The answer is, you don’t have to – you can do business with both names.

Many Limited Liability Companies (LLC) want to add another name to the existing company. Adding a "Doing Business As" (DBA) or "Fictitious Business Name" to your organization can offer both more appealing marketing options and a favorable business angle to your business. It is an undertaking that you can do on your own and rather easily.

Do You Need a DBA or LLC?

If you are currently operating as a sole proprietor then you may want to consider getting a DBA for yourself so you can do business with a company name. If you want clients to write checks to the business and not you, for example, you’ll need a DBA. Setting up a DBA can show that you’re making an effort to keep business and personal finances separate, and that can only help you when it’s tax time. So, you don’t have to form an LLC to get an DBA but there’s lots of great reasons to consider forming an LLC anyway.

If you have an LLC and want to file a DBA, you don’t have to choose between one or the other—you are allowed to add a DBA to your LLC. A Doing Business As (DBA) is a good idea if your existing LLC wishes to operate under a name other than the legal name of the company. Often, this process is called: “Fictitious Business Name” rather than an LLC DBA or a DBA LLC.

How to Add a DBA to an LLC

Select a name for your DBA and keep in mind a couple of extra alternate names. If another company already has registered your chosen name, you will have to have another name at the ready.

Fictitious Business Name Registration is a simple process that involves completing filing requirements for DBAs in your state. Certain states require that you go through the Office of the Secretary of State to file your registration materials. Other states permit DBA registration through the County Clerk's Office. Inquire with the State or Clerk offices, asking them to run a business name search on your selected name. That search will scan all business registrations in your state and if your desired business name is already taken, you will be asked to provide your alternate names to the Clerk until one is found available.

Request a DBA form from the Clerk and complete it with your chosen DBA name, your LLC official name, your name and address, and your business address. Sign and date your form before submitting it (along with the required fee to file your DBA) to the proper registry office. The DBA is active and fully valid for multiple year spans (four to five years) before you will have to renew or refile (depending upon the state).

A DBA and LLC is an easy option that lets you open new doors for your business. If you’re a sole proprietor, then getting a DBA can help you keep business and personal expenses separate during tax season. If you think you could use one, don’t hesitate to file for a DBA.

If you're wondering how to get a DBA online, LegalZoom can help. File a DBA quickly and easily with LegalZoom. Start by answering a few questions; we complete, file, and publish (if required) your DBA application and mail the approved application to you.