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Many people who decide to run a business themselves start with a sole proprietorship. If you are going to use a company name other than your legal name, you'll need to file a DBA ("doing business as") with the state or county in order to register your sole proprietorship.

Why choose LegalZoom?

  • DBA Service Created by Experienced Attorneys
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  • Fast DBA Filing
    Documents are typically sent for filing within two business days
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Common questions

Is a fictitious business name the same as a DBA?

Yes. Some states use the term FBN (or fictitious business name), while other states use the term DBA (or "doing business as"). Tradename and assumed business name are also used to refer to a DBA.

Can I open a bank account before my DBA is filed?

You should not be conducting business under your fictitious business name until you have filed a DBA statement. In addition, most banks will not allow you to open a business bank account until they see proof of the filed DBA.

When you are doing business under a company name, you need a company bank account to accept payments. Banks typically restrict cashing company checks with your personal account.

Every bank is different. Most banks have policies regarding DBA statements. If you experience a bank employee who will not accept your DBA statement, you may want to try a different branch or bank. Make sure to keep the original copy for your records in case you need it for future transactions.

What if I'm operating a sole proprietorship under my personal name?

DBA filings are only required if you are operating a sole proprietorship or partnership under a name other than your personal legal name or last name. For example, If your name is John Smith and you are a sole proprietorship, you would not need to file a DBA to legally be called "Smith's Plumbing" since that business name consists of your surname in combination with words that accurately describe the business. However, if your name is John Smith and you are operating a plumbing business as "Superior Plumbing Services," you would need to file a DBA to conduct business.

Sample documents

View sample documents

Your final forms, documents and filings may differ depending on your state.

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