If you’re confused about how many DBAs can you have under your LLC, the answer is quite simple: you’re allowed to have multiple DBAs. DBA or “Doing Business As” is a trade name that you can choose that’s different from your LLC name.
In the event that you want your public-facing name to be different from the name of your company, you can easily register for a DBA and operate under that trading name. The process to obtain a DBA is quite simple, and in some states, there are even no filing requirements.
Understanding the DBA Application Process
The DBA registration process is quite simple; most states will allow you to apply online. You’ll need to provide the relevant documents for your Limited Liability Company (LLC) or the type of business structure that you’ve chosen. The forms that you need to fill out for obtaining the DBA will typically include some general questions.
There’s also going to be a filing fee. It’s not that significant, usually below $50, but it varies by state. Check your local rules as in some states there are no filing requirements at all.
Single DBA Application Filing
Those who conduct business through a sole proprietorship or general partnership business structure can file for a Single DBA. They will only need one DBA application. This application will be filed with the relevant state’s county clerk’s office or whichever similar agency handles the application in that particular region.
Multiple DBA Application Filings
Businesses structured as LLCs or corporations can benefit from having multiple DBAs. They can target different business markets or segments with a separate DBA for each without having to form multiple LLCs. For example, if a company selling tennis balls under a DBA launches a new product line of basketballs, it can file a DBA for the basketball line under the same LLC.
LLCs and DBAs
LLCs and DBAs are different such that the former is a separate business entity and can exist without a DBA, while the DBA is a trade name that’s used when the business owner doesn’t want to use the entity name. DBAs can’t exist independently, they must have an underlying business entity such as an LLC or a sole proprietorship.
Single-Member LLC With One DBA
This is a type of business entity with one owner. A single-member LLC can operate with one DBA if the business owner wants to undertake business using a different name. For example, if an investment advisor forms an LLC called ABC Investment LLC, they can choose to obtain a DBA certificate to offer their services under a different name such as ABC Wealth Management.
Multi-Member LLC With One DBA
A multi-member LLC is one where two or more people are owners of the limited liability company. A multi-member LLC can opt for a single DBA as the number of LLC members is irrelevant to the DBA process.
Both single and multi-member LLCs can operate with one DBA.
Multi-Member LLC With Multiple DBAs
There’s also the option to operate under multiple DBAs for a multi-member LLC. For example, the entity named ABC Investment LLC can obtain multiple DBAs such as ABC Wealth Management and ABC Real Estate. This enables the LLC to branch out into different business lines without having to set up a separate business entity for each.
Advantages of an LLC Having Multiple DBAs
There are several advantages of having multiple DBAs for an LLC, enlisted below are five of them:
- Effective marketing. The LLC can choose a more simple and catchy DBA to use for promotional and marketing activities. This allows for more effective marketing, particularly when multiple product lines are being promoted.
- Operating in different states. LLCs operating in multiple states across the country may register DBAs in other states. This allows them to project a local focus. For example, ABC Developers LLC can do business as Real Estate Developers in Florida and Real Estate Developers in California without having to form LLCs there.
- Simplifying a relaunch. Relaunching a company can be a challenging endeavor but it can be achieved without having to set up a new entity. Through multiple DBAs, it’s possible to relaunch and rename the business to carry out the activities under the same LLC.
- Fulfilling compliance requirements. There may be some compliance requirements that require multiple DBAs for an LLC. For example, in states like New York and Georgia, the counties issue DBA registrations instead of state authorities. LLCs that want to operate in several local counties will need to register multiple DBAs.
- Running multiple businesses. Multiple DBAs make it possible to run different businesses under the same LLC. For example, one entity can be in the investment as well as advisory businesses at the same time without having to form two different LLCs.
How to Handle DBA Registration?
DBA registration may vary according to the state that you’re in but they will typically be quite simple and wouldn’t require a lot of time to complete. Most states also allow you to complete the process online, though there remains an option to do it through a paper-based application. The following are the steps that you need to complete in order to register a DBA.
Conduct a DBA Name Search
Before filing for a DBA, use the name search tool provided by the relevant authority in your area to see if the name you’re interested in is available. You can’t use a name that’s already in use and the tool will help you find one that’s available.
Fill Out The Form
Once you have a name you like, fill out the DBA application form. The details that you need to provide will include the full LLC name, address, nature of business, EIN, and state registration number (optional).
Sign And Submit
After the form has been filled out, it needs to be duly signed and dated. This can be done online as well, it usually involves writing your name at a specified location on the online application form before submission.
Pay The Fee
You may be required to pay a DBA filing fee, which may vary based on the state you’re filing the application in. Do keep in mind that there’s going to be a separate fee for each DBA, so if you apply for multiple DBAs, you’ll need to pay the fee for each.
How Doola Can Simplify Bookkeeping For Your DBA?
Suppose you have one LLC but multiple DBAs. You’d want an effective bookkeeping solution that lets you accurately track income and expenses from the various DBAs, while also providing a holistic view of your LLC’s finances.
You get all of that and much more with doola Bookkeeping. From income and expense tracking to invoicing and integration with services like Stripe, it’s like having a dedicated bookkeeper that understands your business.
Can two LLCs have the same DBA?
Most states will not allow two LLCs to have the same DBA. This is why the name search tool is offered so that business owners can find out which names have already been taken up so they can only use the available ones.
Is a DBA the same thing as an LLC?
DBA isn’t a separate legal entity like an LLC. It doesn’t exist independently of the LLC. DBA is simply an acknowledgment that the LLC is conducting business under a name that is separate from its legal name.
Can you change your registered business name?
It’s possible to change your registered business name at any point after the incorporation is complete. It usually involves a bit of paperwork and depending on the region, there may also be some nominal fees involved.