A Georgia DBA (doing business as) is called a trade name. Georgia trade name registration allows a business to operate under a name that’s different from its legal name.
Georgia 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 Georgia business. For a look at DBA filing in another state, check out our other How to Get a DBA guides.
Trade Name Registration in Georgia
Registering a Georgia 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 Georgia yourself in three 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 Georgia Trade Name Search
Your Georgia trade name must be unique and must also meet Georgia’s business name requirements.
Before you file, you will need to search state records and county records to make sure your exact name isn’t already taken. We will provide contact information for county offices in Step 2. You will also need to consider any state naming rules.
Your Georgia 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 words bank, banc, banque, banker, banking company, banking house, bancorp, bankruptcy, credit union, savings & loan, trust, or trust company without approval from the Department of Banking and Finance.
- The words “college” or “university" without approval from the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission.
- Language implying that the company is organized for an unlawful purpose
- Obscene language
- The words insurance, assurance, surety, fidelity, reinsurance, reassurance, or indemnity without approval from the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.
For more details about naming rules in Georgia, you can read Georgia's Name Availability Standards.
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: Use Your Georgia Trade Name
Georgia trade names are filing with the county where your principal place of business is located.
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 Georgia, which means the steps for getting a DBA are similar from county to county.
We will provide step-by-step directions to get a Fulton County trade name. If you need to file in a different county, contact the correct county clerk for instructions.
These links will lead you to the trade name websites for some of the more populated counties:
- Fulton County Clerk of Superior Court (full instructions below)
- Gwinnett County Clerk of Superior Court
- Cobb County Clerk of Superior Court
- DeKalb County Clerk of Superior Court
For a complete list of county contact information, visit the Georgia Superior Courts website.
How to File a Fulton County DBA
Before you start the DBA filing process, it is a good idea to use the State of Georgia's trade name search to make sure your name is unique.
Trade names can be filed by mail or in-person with the Application to Register a Business to Be Conducted Under a Trade Name. The completed form must be notarized.
File a Georgia Trade Name
File the Application to Register a Business to Be Conducted Under a Trade Name by Mail or In-Person
$172 Filing Fee
Clerk of Superior Court
Attention: Recording Division
136 Pryor St. SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Step 3: Register Your Georgia DBA
The state of Georgia requires that you publish notice of your trade name registration with a paper in the county once a week for two weeks.
If you have questions about publication in Fulton County, contact the Fulton County Daily Report at (404) 521-1227.
Manage Your Fulton County DBA
Call the Clerk for Superior Court at (404) 613-5371 for general questions about Fulton County trade names.
Renew Your Fulton County DBA
Your Fulton County trade name does not need to be renewed.
Change Your Fulton County DBA
To make changes to your trade name, you need to fill out a new registration form with the appropriate amendments. The fee is $174 ($172 plus a $2 cross-referencing fee).
Withdraw Your Fulton County DBA
To withdraw your trade name in Fulton County, fill out the Affidavit to Cancel Registered Trade Name form and submit it to the Clerk of Superior Court. The fee is $174 ($172 plus a $2 cross-referencing fee).
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 Georgia 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 Georgia 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.