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Doing Business As

Posted by Logan Marshall on August 25 in 0. PreBusiness Considerations |

The DBA.

A DBA is a ‘Doing Business As’ name and you may be required to register a DBA with the secretary of state and with your local council. Doing so really is not difficult but it is legally essential and should be done as soon as possible. If you use your legal name as your company name they you are not usually required to register your DBA. For example, Dwain Pipe Plumbing would not need to be registered as a DBA if your name is Dwain Pipe, however, if you wanted the company name Regional Plumbing Center then you would need to register that as your DBA so you would become Dwain Pipe DBA Regional Plumbing Center.

The process of registering a DBA.

The process of registering a DBA is really quite simple although you will have to pay. You are usually required to register your DBA with the County Recorders Office and publish the details in a county newspaper. Many newspapers offer this service and some will even submit the required forms for you to the County Records Office. You will be required to pay the newspaper for their services and pay them the fee they pass on to the County Recorders Office. DBA registration is usually active for 5 years and after this time you will be required to register (and pay) again.

Store your DBA registration document safely.

Opening business bank accounts, applying for business credit cards or store cards and many other aspects of running your own business may require you to present your DBA documents to the association in question. Banks will certainly request to see the original paperwork and a failure to provide will mean that you won’t be able to open a business account. If you have lost your DBA registration documents then fear not you can apply for a new original document but you will be required to pay the fee again.

Important points to consider before registering your DBA.

Whether you intend to develop an online presence immediately or not, you should check to see whether your proposed DBA, or a variation of, is available as a domain name. Eventually there is a very good chance that you will want to set up a website and by making sure it is available now you can save yourself a lot of heartache in the future. Bear in mind, if it is available now, then you can pick your domain name up for a very minimal amount of money and you might be best doing so sooner rather than later.

You are not required to register your DBA as a Trademark, however, some companies choose to do so to protect company branding. Again, you may not consider this to be important at the moment but who knows where your business might be in five years’ time? It used to be necessary to enlist the help (costly help, I might add) of an attorney to do this, however, the United States Patent and Trademark Office have a function on their website that will help you.

http://www.zanatec.com/home.html has a list of every County Recorders Office in America, which could be invaluable in registering your DBA if you choose a publication that does not include this service for you.

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=huqp37.1.1 check whether your company name is trademarked or not.

http://www.register.com/retail/index.rcmx lets you check the availability of domain names as well as register them, see who owns them and send an anonymous offer if they are already taken.

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