How to File a DBA in Michigan

Filing a Michigan DBA (doing business as), also known as an assumed name, is a simple process done at the county level or with the Michigan Secretary of State depending on your business structure. 

Follow our step-by-step How to Get a DBA in Michigan guide to get started today.

Important: A DBA is only used for branding purposes. A DBA isn't a type of business structure and won't protect your personal assets.

Forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. Visit our DBA vs LLC guide to learn what types of businesses need limited liability protection.

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How to Use This Guide

First, Choose Your Michigan Business Type:

Sole Proprietorship or Partnership
A sole proprietorship is a business owned by a single individual that isn't formally organized.

LLC, Corporation, or LLP
If your business is a Michigan LLC, Corporation, or LLP, the information on how to get a DBA can be found in this section.

Use a Professional Service

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

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Filing a DBA in Michigan for Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships

General partnerships and sole proprietors are required to file their Michigan DBA with the County Clerk in the county that their business is located. Estates and real estate investment companies are also required to file with the county.

A sole proprietorship is a business owned by a single individual that isn't formally organized. If you run a business and file taxes under your own name, you are a sole proprietor.

A DBA doesn't offer protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For more information on setting up an LLC (limited liability company), visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.

SKIP AHEAD

To create a DBA for an LLC or Corporation, you can click here to skip ahead.

Step 1. Start With a Michigan Assumed Name Search

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

First, visit the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website and search for your new DBA name to make sure it isn’t already in use.

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

  • Words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.)
  • The words “bank,” “industrial bank,” “deposit,” “surety,” “security,” “trust,” or “trust company” or other words that imply that the corporation is a banking, insurance, surety, or trust company without approval
  • Other restricted words without the proper approval

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.

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

Powered by GoDaddy.com

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. Filing a DBA in Michigan with the County Clerk

Sole proprietors and partnerships are required to file a Certificate of Persons Conducting Business Under Assumed Name with the appropriate county clerk’s office(s) in order to operate under a DBA.

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

We will give you step-by-step directions to get an Oakland County DBA. For directions in other counties, please contact your county clerk.

You can find your counties' contact information from the Michigan State Association of County Clerks.

How to File an Oakland County DBA

Before you start the DBA filing process, it is a good idea to search the Oakland County assumed name records as well as the state database.

Once you have selected your name, you will then complete the Certificate of Persons Conducting Business Under Assumed Name and submit it to the Oakland County Clerk. The certificate can be submitted by mail.

File Your Oakland County Business Certificate

File the Certificate of Persons Conducting Business Under Assumed Name by Mail

Download Form

Cost:
$10 Filing Fee

Mailing Address:
Oakland County Clerk's Office
Attn: Vital Records
1200 N. Telegraph Dept. 413
Pontiac, MI 48341-0413

Manage Your Oakland County DBA

DBA Questions
For additional assumed name information, call (248) 858-0569.

Renew Your DBA
Your assumed name must be renewed every five years using the same registration form.

Change Your DBA
You must fill out a new registration form to change the name of your DBA, but you can change its registered address or the name of its owner with the Assumed Name - Change of Address/Name Change form.

Withdraw Your DBA
To discontinue your DBA in Oakland County, you must fill out the Certificate of Discontinuance of Business Under an Assumed Name and pay a $10 filing fee.

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

Incorporated businesses file their Certificate of Assumed Name with the Michigan Department 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

To file a Michigan DBA for a sole proprietorship or general partnership, go back to the county-level requirements.

Step 1. Do a Michigan Business Entity Search

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

First, visit the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website and search for your new DBA name to make sure it isn’t already in use.

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

  • Your name cannot include words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.)
  • The words “bank,” “industrial bank,” “deposit,” “surety,” “security,” “trust,” or “trust company” or other words that imply that the corporation is a banking, insurance, surety, or trust company without approval
  • Other restricted words without the proper approval

Learn more about Michigan naming guidelines by reading the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’s Choosing a Business Name guide.

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.

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

Powered by GoDaddy.com

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: Filing Your Michigan Certificate of Assumed Name

You are required to set up your DBA with the Michigan Secretary of State if your business is incorporated.

The Certificate of Assumed Name will ask for your new DBA name and information about your business.

Submit Your Certificate of Assumed Name Form

Option 1: File Online With Michigan Corporations Online Filing

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: File the Certificate of Assumed Name by Mail or In-Person

Download Form


Cost:
$10 Filing Fee for corporations and LPs
$25 Filing Fee for LLCs

Office Address:
2501 Woodlake Circle
Okemos, MI

Mailing Address:
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau
Corporations Division
P.O. Box 30054
Lansing, MI 48909

Manage Your Michigan DBA

DBA Questions
Call the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs: (517) 241-6470

Renew Your DBA with the State
Your Certificate of Assumed Name expires on Dec. 31 of the fifth full calendar year following registration. To renew your assumed name, call (517) 241-6470.

Withdraw Your DBA
You can cancel your DBA by filing the Certificate of Termination of Assumed Name form. The fee for corporations and LPs is $10. The fee for LLCs is $25.

Need Help Filing Your DBA in Michigan?

Have a Professional Service File Your Michigan 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) 

DBA Michigan 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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