How To Add a DBA to an LLC - How to Start my LLC

How To Add a DBA to an LLC

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Carolyn Young has over 25 years of experience in business in various roles, including bank management, marketing management, and business education.

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For over 15 years, Sarah Ruddle has been a noteworthy leader in the business and nonprofit world.

How To Add a DBA to an LLC

How To Add a DBA to an LLC

Choosing a name for your LLC is one of your most important decisions as a business owner. Yet there may come a time when you wish to operate under a different name, using a “doing business as” or DBA.

A DBA is an alternative business name you file at the local or state level.

A DBA, also known as a fictitious or trade name, is to allow a business to operate under a name other than its official legal name. 

For instance, if you run “Jane’s T-shirts” and want to start selling shoes, you might file for a DBA called “Jane’s Shoes.” Creating a DBA does not impact taxes and is not a legal entity or structure like a corporation. 

However, if you operate your business as a sole proprietorship or a partnership, you must operate under your name unless you register a DBA. It’s standard in most states to file a DBA with your county or municipality where the business operates, but in some states, it’s filed at the state level. 

Why Should I Choose a DBA?

A DBA is not a business entity; when operating under a DBA, there’s no legal difference between a sole proprietorship or a partnership and its owner or owners. In these cases, a business owner is liable for all business debts. 

Remember that a DBA is not a formal legal entity but simply a registered name for a business that’s not the owner’s or the business’s legally registered name.

But you should know that, unlike an LLC or corporate name, a DBA may not give your business exclusive rights to that name. In addition, some states allow multiple businesses to file and use the same DBA name, so check the laws in your state. 

Though DBAs do not offer liability protection like LLCs, there are still some good reasons to file a DBA. For one thing, if you come up with a DBA that’s more attractive than your official business name, it might help you generate more business. 

Also, if you’re preparing to offer a new line of products, a DBA will help you differentiate your brands while keeping all your products under one official business entity.

How To Add a DBA Name to Your LLC

The process for adding a DBA to your LLC is fairly straightforward, though requirements differ by state, county, and city and by business structure. Visit your state and local government websites to learn more. The cost is typically under $100, and you can usually file online.

Some states require a business owner to place an ad in a local newspaper announcing the intention to use the DBA name to fulfill public notice requirements. You should also perform web searches to ensure your chosen name isn’t already being used. Most state websites have tools to help you do this. 

Remember, if you’d like to operate under a business name other than your official LLC name, you’ll need to file for a DBA. If you’re an LLC and operate under a name that’s not your LLC name and have not registered as a DBA, you can face serious fines. 

In some states, you may have to renew your DBA name registration periodically, so ensure you stay on top of expiration dates and comply.


Adding a DBA to your LLC name is a fairly straightforward process, but choosing your DBA name carefully is important, and ensuring another business is not using it. In addition, the process to file for a DBA varies from state to state, so be sure to check your state’s rules.

Once you understand the process and have chosen an available DBA name, go ahead and file and open up a new path of growth for your business.