In this episode of Coffee with Carl, attorney Carl Zoellner describes how using a DBA (“doing business as”) or fictitious name works with your overall business plan.
A question I receive often from Platinum clients is: What’s a DBA?
DBA is an abbreviation for “doing business as.” In some states, this is called a “fictitious name.” Using a DBA means doing business in a name that’s not an official name.
For example, if I have an LLC called Imperial, LLC but I want to branch out into a new venture and use a different name, I’d use this tool.
You file a DBA with the secretary of state, but some states require filing in each county in which you’ll be conducting business. Once the “doing business as” is registered, you can create a separate bank account for that separate venture.
Ultimately, using a DBA involves using a different business name in the same business entity.
Unfortunately, the problem with this tool is that “doing business as” does not provide asset protection. It’s just a name. If you search a DBA on the secretary of state’s website, you’ll connect directly with the individual or entity that filed it. It’s public information.
All in all, DBAs are an interesting and useful tool. Their main shortcoming is that they do not provide asset protection, so you’ll still need to use business entities with this strategy. When filing a DBA with your business entity, make sure you consult qualified professionals who will file it correctly for where you’re doing business.
Watch as Carl covers DBAs: what they are, what they’re for, and when they’re appropriate.
Got an idea for a future Coffee with Carl? Send it to Carl at firstname.lastname@example.org.