A Delaware DBA (doing business as) is called a trade name. Delaware trade name registration allows a business to operate under a name that’s different from its legal name.
Delaware DBA registration won’t protect your personal assets. Forming a formal business structure like an LLC or corporation will give you liability protection along with a business name
Use our step by step guide below to get a DBA for your Delaware business. For a look at DBA filing in another state, check out our other How to Get a DBA guides.
Register a Delaware Fictitious Name
Registering a Delaware trade name, also known as a DBA, is easy!
A DBA is only used for branding. A DBA doesn't offer any protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For this reason, we strongly recommend that a DBA should only be used by a formal business structure such as an LLC or corporation for the purpose of adding new brands to an existing business.
If you are running an informal business (sole proprietorship or partnership), we strongly suggest forming an LLC to separate your business and personal assets. The name of the LLC can be selected to act as the brand name for the business.
Learn How to File a DBA in Delaware yourself in two steps:
Note: A DBA is only used for branding. We recommend forming an LLC to separate your business and personal assets.
Step 1: Start with a Delaware Trade Name Search
Your Delaware trade name must be unique and must also meet Delaware’s business name requirements.
Before you file, you will need to search the state’s records to make sure your exact name isn’t already taken. You will also need to consider any state naming rules.
Your Delaware trade name should NOT include:
- Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp, etc., unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, etc.
- The word “bank,” or any variation unless the company is authorized as a bank by the state. However, the word “bank,” or any variation, can be used if the context clearly doesn’t refer to a banking business or mislead the public about the nature of the business.
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.
Find a Domain Now
Once you reserve a domain name for your DBA, consider setting up a business phone system to help strengthen your customer service and boost credibility. We recommend Phone.com because of its affordable pricing and variety of useful features. Start calling with Phone.com.
Need Help Creating a Brand Name and Logo?
Step 2: Register Your Delaware DBA
Delaware trade names are filed with the county or counties where your company does business.
A DBA does not offer any 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.
Filing a DBA With the County Clerk
DBA regulations are managed by the state of Delaware which means the steps for getting a DBA are similar from county to county.
Each of the three counties in Delaware use the same trade name registration form.
How to File a Delaware DBA
Delaware trade names must be registered in each county where your company does business. You can do this by submitting the Registration of Trade, Business & Fictitious Name Certificate with the County Clerk’s office by mail or in-person. The certificates must be notarized.
Reminder: Delaware requires that you check their trade name records before filing to make sure your name isn’t already taken.
File a Delaware Trade Name
File the Registration of Trade, Business & Fictitious Name Certificate by Mail or In-Person
$25 Filing Fee per County
New Castle County
Leonard L. Williams Justice Center
500 North King Street, Suite 500, LL1
Wilmington, DE 19801-3746
Kent County Courthouse
38 The Green
Dover, DE 19901
Sussex County Courthouse
1 The Circle, Suite 2
Georgetown, DE 19947
Manage Your Delaware DBA
Call your county office with questions:
New Castle: (302) 255-0825
Kent: (302) 735-1900
Sussex: (302) 735-1900
Renew Your Delaware DBA
Your Delaware trade name does not need to be renewed.
Change Your Delaware DBA
To make changes to your DBA, fill out the Supplemental Change Form. There is a $25 filing fee.
Withdraw Your Delaware DBA
To cancel your trade name, fill out the Termination Affidavit Form.
If you want to use a professional service to get a DBA for your business we recommend:
Swyft Filings ($99 + state fee)
After Filing Your Delaware DBA
If filing a DBA marks the beginning of your business journey, then there are a few more steps that you should take before getting started:
- Create your Business’s Website - Every business needs a website. Luckily, drag-and-drop builders like GoDaddy and Wix make the job quick and easy. Check out our Best Website Builder article to find the tool that’s best for you.
- Get your Business Finances in Order - You’ll need to separate your business finances from your personal ones. This is accomplished by opening a business bank account. If your business has long lead times or other cash flow irregularities, you can also look into a business credit card.
- Protect Your Business - While an LLC will help to protect your personal assets in the case of a lawsuit, your business’s assets also need protection. Having the right business insurance will ensure that you’re covered if the worst happens. Most businesses start with general liability insurance as their base coverage.
DBA Delaware 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 vs 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.