A DBA is by no means required in order to form or run a business. For the most part, a DBA is only necessary if you're:

  • An unregistered business hoping to operate under a name other than your own legal name.
  • A registered business entity looking to rebrand to reach a new market or describe a new product/service.

Most businesses simply conduct business under the name they register at the time of formation.

DBA Meaning

A DBA is any name a business operates under that isn't its legal name. Most states allow businesses to register a DBA name.


The benefits of using a DBA can vary depending on the type of business structure you have. We will explain the benefits of using a DBA by looking at these two categories:

  1. Sole proprietorships and partnerships
  2. Limited liability companies and corporations

Sole Proprietorship and Partnership DBA Benefits

Adopting a DBA is especially useful for sole proprietorships. Without a DBA, a sole proprietor must operate under their personal legal name.

DBA Example: 

With a DBA, "John Doe" could operate and accept payment under the name "Best Cut Carpentry." Without registering a DBA, John would only be able to accept checks made out to "John Doe."

In order to accept payments under a DBA, you must first set up a business bank account using your confirmed DBA.

LLC and Corporation DBA Benefits

Although DBAs are most popular among sole proprietorships, they're also great for established LLCs and partnerships looking to get into a new line of business.

DBA Example:

If "Babe's Hardware, LLC" wanted to expand into furniture sales and restoration, the owner(s) might file for the trade name, "Babe's Furniture." This would allow them to promote the business as a furniture store and accept payments under the name "Babe's Furniture."

Keep in mind that you'll still need to use the entity's legal name on all government documents.


The process for registering a DBA name varies from state to state. In most states, you will file with the secretary of state or the county clerk for a cost of $10 to $100. You may also need to publish notice of the DBA in a local newspaper.

You can learn how to file a DBA with our state guides or have a DBA filed on your behalf by using one of these DBA filing services.

Reduce Personal Liability

Protect your personal assets by structuring your business
as a limited liability company, also known as an LLC.

What is an LLC? | Costs to Form an LLC

Form an LLC in 5 easy steps