How To Register a DBA in Alabama

Filing an Alabama trade name, also known as an Alabama DBA (doing business as), is an easy process that is achieved by filing the Application to Register or Renew Trademark, Service Mark or Trade Name in Alabama with the Secretary of State.

Follow our step-by-step How to Register a DBA in Alabama guide to get started today.

To learn more about why you may need to set up a DBA, read our What is a DBA article before you start.

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How to File a DBA in Alabama

Step 1: Start with an Alabama Trade Name Search

Your Alabama trade name must be unique and must also meet Alabama’s business name requirements.

First, use the Alabama Secretary of State’s Business Entity Search and search for your new DBA name to make sure it isn’t already in use.

Next, review the Alabama naming requirements. In Alabama, your trade name should NOT include:

  • Any banking-related words without a letter from the Alabama Banking Commissioner’s Office, or any insurance-related words without a letter from the Alabama Insurance Commissioner’s Office.
  • Any words that could confuse your corporation with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • A professional designation in the name (i.e., engineering, attorney) without a copy of the license of one officer/member or a letter from the governing agency allowing the use of the name without licensing.
  • Any words that indicate or imply that the corporation is engaged in a business that is not authorized by law to pursue.

Need Help Choosing a DBA Name?

If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. You can use this tool to generate both business names and domain names.

We recommend checking if your name is available as a web domain (URL). You might not plan on starting a business website today, but you may want to prevent others from acquiring your URL.

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After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

Step 2: Use Your Alabama DBA

Alabama requires that you have operated under your trade name before you can register it. So, if you'd like to register and protect a trade name in Alabama, you need to start using it right away.

Alabama will require three "specimens" of trade name usage. Some examples of acceptable specimens include:

  • Business Cards
  • Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Labels
  • Decals

Specimens must be unaltered and legible. The trade name application will ask where and when you used the trade name for the first time in any state and in Alabama specifically, so it’s important to keep track.

Step 3: Register Your Alabama DBA

Your Alabama trade name can be filed online or by mail with the Secretary of State. You can file online with the Secretary of State’s website or you can complete the Application to Register or Renew Trademark, Service Mark or Trade Name form.

Some important sections of the form include:

  • Section 4: Description of the trade name
  • Section 5: Description of the goods or services that will be offered under the trade name
  • Section 6: An explanation of how the trade name will be used
  • Section 10: Any other entities authorized to use the trade name (if applicable)
  • Section 11: Date the trade name was first used

A DBA does not offer any legal protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For more information on setting up a limited liability company, visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.

File an Alabama Trade Name

Option 1: File Online on the Secretary of State’s Website

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: File the Application to Register or Renew Trademark, Service Mark or Trade Name By Mail or In-Person

Download Form


Cost:
$30 Filing Fee

Office Address:
State of Alabama Office of the Secretary of State
Trademarks Division
11 South Union St., Suite 224
Montgomery, AL 36130

Mailing Address:
State of Alabama Office of the Secretary of State
Trademarks Division
P.O. Box 5616
Montgomery, AL 36103-5616

Manage Your Alabama Trade Name

General Questions
Call the Alabama Secretary of State’s Trademarks Division: (334) 242-5325

Renew Your Trade Name With the State
Your Alabama DBA should be renewed every five years. You can renew on the Secretary of State’s website or by completing and mailing the Application to Register or Renew Trademark, Service Mark or Trade Name. Mail the completed form to the address below:

State of Alabama Office of the Secretary of State
Trademarks Division
P.O. Box 5616
Montgomery, AL 36103-5616

Change Your Trade Name
To change your Alabama trade name, call the Alabama Secretary of State’s Trademarks Division: (334) 242-5325

Withdraw Your Trade Name
To cancel your Alabama trade name, call the Alabama Secretary of State’s Trademarks Division: (334) 242-5325

Need Help Filing Your Alabama DBA?

Have a Professional Service File Your Alabama DBA For You

A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your business.

Recommended: MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee)

Alabama DBA FAQ

How many DBAs can I have?

You can have as many DBAs as you can afford to create and are able to keep track of. Each one comes with additional incremental expenses and paperwork, meaning more is not necessarily better.

Can a DBA get an EIN or Tax ID?

DBAs aren’t required to have a separate EIN because DBAs aren’t a business entity. The business entity that the DBA is under would have an EIN if an EIN is required.

To learn more about EINs and when you need one for your business, read our What is an EIN guide.

Can a DBA become an LLC?

No. An LLC is a business entity, while a DBA is just a name for a business.

Sole proprietorships are often confused with DBAs, but they are not the same: a sole proprietorship is a business entity, therefore it can choose to become an LLC.

To learn how to form an LLC, visit our Form an LLC state guides.

Can a DBA have Inc. in the name?

A DBA can only have Inc. in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is a corporation.

How do I set up a DBA for a rental property?

Holding a rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection. The best option is to form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. In any case, it is always best to consult an attorney.

When would it be good to get a DBA versus a legal name change?

Getting a DBA is often a better choice than changing your business’s legal name. If you want to rebrand your company or focus on another line of business, filing for a DBA is a simpler process than filing for a legal name change.

Is my DBA protected from being used in other places?

Some state-level laws prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but this varies from state to state. It is possible to trademark a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.

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