How to Register a DBA in Maine

A Maine DBA (doing business as) is called an assumed name. Getting a Maine DBA registration won’t protect your personal assets. Forming a formal business structure like LLC or corporation will give you liability protection along with a business name.

Forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. Learn more in our DBA vs LLC guide.

To get started with a Maine DBA, choose your business entity type:


File a Maine DBA for a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership

General partnerships and sole proprietors are required to file their Maine DBA with the City Clerk in the city that their business is located.

A general partnership is a business formed by two or more people, without a formal business structure. A sole proprietorship is a business owned by a single individual that isn't formally organized. In either case, the name of the business is the same as the name of the owners. A DBA can be useful in these cases for changing the name of the business to a more marketable name.

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.

Use our How to Get a DBA in Maine guide below to register a Maine assumed name for your business. For a look at DBA filing in another state, check out our other step-by-step How to Get a DBA guides.

Step 1. Start With a Maine Assumed Name Search

Maine assumed names must be unique and must also meet Maine’s business name requirements. 

First, visit the Maine Secretary of State's website and search for your new DBA name to make sure it isn’t already in use.

Next, review the Maine naming requirements. In Maine, assumed names should NOT include:

  • Words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.)
  • Words that imply that the company is organized for an unlawful purpose
  • Obscene language
  • Language that falsely suggests an association with public institutions
  • The words savings, savings bank, bank, banker, banking, trust, trust company, trust & banking company, and credit union (or any plurals or variations) without approval from the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions.

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?

If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. Then, create a unique logo for your brand with our free logo generator.

Step 2. Filing a DBA in Maine with the City Clerk

Sole proprietors and partnerships are required to register with the appropriate city clerk’s office(s) in order to operate under a DBA.

Sole proprietors and general partnerships must file in any city where your business conducts or transacts business.

We will give you step-by-step directions to get a City of Portland DBA. For directions in other cities, please contact your city clerk.

You can find your cities' contact information from the Maine Secretary of State’s website.

How to File a Portland DBA

Before you start the DBA filing process, it is a good idea to search the Maine business name database as well as the local records at the city clerk’s office. 

The assumed name registration forms must be notarized.

File Your Portland City Assumed Name

File the Assumed Name Application by Mail or In-Person

Assumed Name form for Partnerships
Assumed Name form for Sole Proprietorships

Cost:
$10
Filing Fee

Filing Address:
389 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101

Manage Your City of Portland DBA

DBA Questions
Call the Portland city clerk’s office at (207) 874-8677.

Renew Your DBA
Your assumed business name does not need to be renewed.

Withdraw Your DBA
File the DBA withdrawal application with the City Clerk.

If you want to use a professional service to get a DBA for your sole proprietorship or partnership we recommend:

four point five out of five  Swyft Filings ($99 + state fee)

Filing a DBA in Maine for LLCs, Corporations, and LLPs

Incorporated businesses file their Statement of Intention to Do Business Under an Assumed or Fictitious Name with the Maine Secretary of State.

The following business types are considered incorporated:

  • For-profit Corporations, Nonprofit Corporations
  • Professional Corporations, Professional Associations
  • Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Any Foreign Filing Entities

You can file a DBA for your incorporated business yourself by using this guide. Or, use a professional service:

Step 1. Start With a Maine Assumed Name Search

Maine assumed names must be unique and must also meet Maine’s business name requirements. 

First, visit the Maine Secretary of State's website and search for your new DBA name to make sure it isn’t already in use.

Next, review the Maine naming requirements. In Maine, assumed names should NOT include:

  • Words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.)
  • Words that imply that the company is organized for an unlawful purpose
  • Obscene language
  • Language that falsely suggests an association with public institutions.
  • The words savings, savings bank, bank, banker, banking, trust, trust company, trust & banking company, and credit union (or any plurals or variations) without approval from the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions.

Learn more about Maine naming guidelines by reading the state statutes about LLCs and corporations.

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

Need Help Creating a Brand Name and Logo?

If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. Then, create a unique logo for your brand with our free logo generator.

Step 2: Register Your Maine Assumed or Fictitious Name

You are required to set up your DBA with the Maine Department of State if your business is incorporated. There are different forms depending on your business structure

Maine makes a distinction between an assumed name and a fictitious name but uses the same registration form for both. An assumed name is basically a DBA, while a fictitious name is used for a “foreign” (i.e. not based in Maine) company whose real name is not available.

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 (LLC), visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.

File Your Maine Assumed or Fictitious Name

File the Assumed Name Application by Mail or In-Person

LLC
Corporation
Limited Partnership
Limited Liability Partnership

Cost:
$125 for Assumed Names
$40 for Fictitious Names

Filing Address:
Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC, and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101

Manage Your Maine DBA

DBA Questions
Call the Maine Secretary of State (207) 624-7752

Renew Your DBA with the State
Your Maine assumed business name does not need to be renewed.

Change Your DBA
Contact the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions: (207) 624-7736

Withdraw Your DBA
To cancel your assumed name with the State of Maine, you need to fill out one of the following termination forms:

Submit the completed form, along with the $20 fee, to the address below:

Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC, and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101

If you want to use a professional service to get a DBA for your LLC or corporation we recommend:

four point five out of five Swyft Filings ($99 + state fee)

After Filing Your Maine 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 Maine 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.

Useful Links for Your Maine DBA