It kind of sounds underhanded and sneaky—coming up with a fake name to be the public face of your company. Perhaps, it’s because the thought of a fictitious name produces images of high-stakes cons, or depositing laundered and swindled cash into off-shore bank accounts.
But the reality is that filing for a fictitious name, or a doing business as (DBA) name, is perfectly honest and extremely common amongst small business owners.
There are literally hundreds of reasons why business owners decide to get a DBA name. Here are five of the most common ones:
1. Privacy. If you are the sole proprietor and owner of a business, then your legal and business names are the same. For instance, if a graphic designer named Jane Doe starts her own freelance business, the name of her company will be Jane Doe, unless she specifies a different title by filing for a DBA. For some business owners, they prefer not to have their legal name be public information, so changing the business name to a fictitious one protects their privacy.
2. A bank requires DBA name to open a business account. In many cases, banks require a DBA name if an owner wants to open a business account. So, before you are even able to finance your business, you may have to establish a name for your company.
3. A client may require a DBA name to hire you for a job. Some lines of work require the owner of a business to have a DBA name in order to be considered for a job. For example, consider our graphic designer Jane. If she is a freelance artist, and is seeking out projects from different companies, then she may be required to have a DBA name for her company (herself) in order to be contracted to do the work. Different industries have varying rules when it comes to DBA names.
4. Your company is getting involved in other areas of industry. If your company is entering into a new area or focus of business that is not represented by the name of your company currently, then getting a DBA name may be a good solution. Having a descriptive business name is important for attracting potential customers. For example, let’s say you own a lawn care business called The Yard Guys, Inc., but would also like to do backyard planning during the slower winter months. In this case, you can file for another fictitious name, such as The Yard Architects, to describe the other facet of your company.
5. Your company operates another business or website. For business owners who manage one or more companies or websites on top of their primary existing business, having two DBA names may be simpler. For instance, if you own a marketing company, but also run a business incorporation website, filing for a DBA name for the incorporation business will help keep the two separate and make it easier for customers to determine what your companies do. Also, if you own two companies that aim for two different audiences, you may want specific names that reflect the target customers.
How to File a DBA
You can file for a fictitious business name in a couple of ways. The first is by filling out the appropriate paperwork and paying the fees for your state (and sometimes your county) by visiting a local or county agency.
By far the easiest way for a small business owner to file for a DBA name is to consult the incorporation specialists at Max Filings. We can save you precious time and money. All it takes is a quick email for a price quote to get started filing for a DBA name, so visit our website today.