Your business name should reflect the business you’re in. Sometimes, you want to operate under a different name than your legal name. That’s where a trade name, also known as a “doing business as” or fictitious name, comes into play.
When Do I Need to Register a Trade Name?
If you operate your business as a sole proprietorship or partnership, then your business name is assumed to be your legal name and your partners’ names. If you want to operate your business under a name that better describes your business, you’ll have to register a DBA.
Likewise, if your company is an LLC or corporation, but you want to operate under a different name to better reflect your growing business, you’ll also have to register a trade name.
Registering a DBA allows you to operate your business under a different company name, while avoiding the hassle of legally changing your business’s name.
How to Register
To register your trade name, you’ll file through your county and/or your state’s Secretary of State’s office. While some states don’t require you to register a trade name at all, others require that you also publish information in your local newspaper notifying the public that you’ve filed a trade name.
Select your state below to find out more about specific trade name filing requirements: