What Is Doing Business As
When a business operates using a name that is different from the owners name or from the legal name of the partnership, LLC, or corporation, it is said to be doing business as, or DBA, another name. A DBA is a pseudonym, though some states refer to the paperwork required as a fictitious name filing. To operate under a different name, companies need to submit an application indicating the name to be used and verify that another business is not already using the name.
In North America, the common designation for doing business as is DBA or d/b/a. In other countries, trading as is more common, with t/a the abbreviation.
Not all companies require DBA filings, however.
It Consultant Or Computer/it Specialist
Have you ever run into IT problems? So do countless businesses. As an IT consultant running your own business, you would offer IT troubleshooting services to other companies, resolving issues with both the companys hardware and software solutions. Be open to traveling for this type of sole proprietor business.
How Do You Form A Sole Proprietorship
Unlike a Limited Liability Company or C Corporation, a Sole Proprietorship is not a formal business entity. Sole Proprietors do not have to file business registration paperwork with the state. As soon as the owner begins to conduct business with the intent to make a profit, the Sole Proprietorship is established.
Sole proprietors may have to obtain certain types of business or professional licenses and permits to operate legally in their industry or location.
When sole proprietors do not want to include their first and last name in their business name, they must request to use a trade name by filing a DBA . Some states call it a fictitious name filing. Depending on the businesss location, the fictitious name must be filed with the state or the county clerk.
For example, if Lena Caswell wants to market her new business by the name Immaculate Image Consulting Services, she would need to file a DBA to get permission to use that name with the state or county clerk office. Some states also require businesses to publish a notice about their fictitious name in one or more approved newspapers or other publications in the county where it was filed. In some states and counties, DBAs must be renewed periodically.
Read Also: What Is Federal Tax Credit For Solar
Pros And Cons Of Sole Proprietorship
A sole proprietorship presents its owner with several advantages, but like other business entities, it also has a few drawbacks. Here are some of its benefits.
- Easy and inexpensive. In many cases, a sole proprietorship is formed with nothing but the owners talents and time. It also requires less paperwork, which makes it easy for anyone engaging in the gig economy.
- Complete control. With a sole proprietorship, the owner is their own boss, which means their decisions are the only ones that count. They get to enjoy the businesss profits on their own.
- Easier to tax. A sole proprietorship is not taxed separately. It is easier to file taxes for a sole proprietorship as it is not a separate taxable entity from the owner.
Though a sole proprietorship has advantages for those who would like to start a business with limited capital, it also presents some disadvantages, such as the following:
Why Is It Important To Create A Business Plan
It defines a new business, supports a loan application , raises equity funding, pin-points business strategy, tracks responsibility performance and manages money goals for sales, costs, expenses and cash.
Researching your industry, future customers, and competitors , can only help when running your business. A business plan is a plan of action, giving investors confidence that everything has been thought through. A business plan should be a crystal clear plan, mapping future profitability and sustainability.
You May Like: What’s Bad About Solar Energy
Starting A Sole Proprietorship
Sole proprietorships are strapped with big risks. Increased personal liability, difficulty raising capital, and a perceived lack of professionalism are a few pitfalls sole proprietors must navigate.
Still, the potential financial rewards could be more than worth the risk especially if you plan thoroughly before launching a new business and weigh the benefits and disadvantages.
Below, well look at the pros and cons in more detail.
Can You Have Multiple Businesses Under One Sole Proprietorship
Yes, a sole trader can have more than one business. The easiest way to understand how to own multiple businesses under a single sole proprietorship or tax ID is from the perspective of a tax return.
If you have two businesses, youll need to file multiple Schedule Cs one for each business. But, you can include all the forms and calculations with your personal income tax return under your TIN, which distinguishes your sole proprietorship.
For example, say you own a personal training business, but you also cut hair on the side. Youd fill out two Schedule Cs, entering amounts per line item on each dollar spent solely on that business.
Bottom line, you can have multiple businesses under one sole proprietorship. But, the business activities must be very different from each other.
TIP: When you have multiple businesses operating under one sole proprietorship, if one business gets sued, both businesses assets are at risk.
Also Check: How Many Solar Panels To Heat A Pool
How To File A Dba In Tennessee
A Tennessee DBA is called an assumed name. Tennessee assumed name registration allows a business to operate under a name thats different from its legal name.
DBA registration wont protect your personal assets like forming an LLC or corporation will. Learn why in our DBA vs LLC guide.
Use our How to File a DBA in Tennessee guide below to register a Tennessee assumed name yourself.
How to Use This Guide
To get started, choose your business entity type:
Doing Business As: How Many Can I Have
A DBA, or doing business as, is an official name for your business. Generally, people create DBAs for their sole proprietorship, since operating this type of entity doesnt involve creating a business name.
While you are required to choose a business name for an LLC, corporation, or partnership, you arent required to do so for the sole proprietorship. The reason for this is because this type of entity doesnt operate separately and distinctly from its owner. Rather, the sole proprietorship is an extension of the owner.
However, if you want to further separate your own personal name from your work as a sole proprietor, you can create a DBA. In fact, creating an official DBA can help you in the following ways:
If you want to create a DBA, youll need to file a form with your Secretary of States office. Therefore, before you can begin operating under a DBA, you have to submit an application and obtain approval beforehand. Once this document is filed with the Secretary of State, you have to put the public on notice of your DBA. The requirements for obtaining a DBA vary by state, but some states require that you also publish your DBA name in the local newspaper for a period of several weeks before formally using the DBA through business means.
Read Also: What Do I Need For A Grid Tie Solar System
Who Needs To Register A Dba
The Small Business Administration is a great resource for those who aren’t sure if they need to register a DBA, but if you plan on using a business name that differs from your given name or your business partner’s name, you’ll need to register one. Other reasons could be if your bank requires it to open a business account, if a prospective client requires a DBA to award your company a job, if your company is entering a new business area not reflected in your current name, or if your company operates more than one business or website.
It’s important to note, though, that a registered DBA doesn’t constitute a business in itself.
“It doesn’t set up a business entity, like a limited liability company or a corporation,” Hanlon said. “It simply identifies a name and notifies the public who is behind that name. A person or business entity could conceivably have many DBAs, each with a different product or service market.”
While a person can register as many DBAs as they’re willing to pay for, two LLCs cannot have the same DBA.
“A DBA, like any other business name that is registered, can only be registered once and only has one owner,” Hanlon said. “That said, there could be multiple LLCs who are all owners of the company that registered for the DBA. For instance, North LLC and West LLC are each owners of Northwest LLC, and Northwest LLC has a DBA of Compass Point Consulting.”
Writing a DBA is simple you would just write it out as the different name you’ve chosen to do business as.
How To Set Up A Sole Proprietorship Using A Dba
A sole proprietor is mandated by law to use his legal name to conduct business. Use of a DBA is always optional in every jurisdiction. If a sole proprietor does want to use a DBA, he must obtain permission from local authorities first. Registering a DBA with the state is just one step in officially forming a sole proprietorship. Here are few steps to consider if you want to set up sole proprietorships using DBAs
Table of Content
Read Also: Is Solar Worth It In Maryland
Dba Vs Llc: Similarities And Differences
Yes, a DBA and an LLC allow you to operate your business under a different name, but thats where the similarities end. Heres a closer look at where they differ.
An LLC limits your personal liability for business obligations. A DBA does not give you any additional liability protection.
The process of setting up a DBA is much more straightforward than an LLC. You pay a one-time fee and arent required to file business formation paperwork or comply with annual reporting requirements.
Registering a DBA does not typically give you exclusive rights to use your business name. Forming an LLC gives you more protection, because it ensures that another business entity cant be created in your state with the same name as your business. But neither an LLC nor a DBA gives your name the level of protection youd get with a federally registered trademark.
In addition, a DBA does not change the tax requirements of your company. If you register your sole proprietorship under a DBA, youll be subject to the same tax filings you were before registering your DBA.
As a result of establishing an LLC, you will also register your company under a separate name. For example, Sam could open up an LLC for his personal training practice called Living Well LLC. He would accept payment as Living Well LLC and he would operate under this name. As long as Sams LLC operates under its official name, he doesnt need a separate DBA.
Related:Best LLC Services
What Is A Business Suffix
The ending suffix informs people what kind of company this is. For example, DBI Global, Inc. has the suffix Inc. which is an abbreviation of Incorporated. Likewise, DBI Global, LLC has the suffix LLC which is an abbreviation of Limited Liability Company. An LLC is a different type of entity than a Corporation.
Also Check: How To Put Solar Panels On Your Rv
How Do Income Taxes And Legal Liability Work In A Sole Proprietorship
A Sole Proprietorship is considered the same legal and tax-paying entity as its owner.
The owner is personally liable for the legal and financial debts of the business. So, if a Sole Proprietorship doesnt pay its bills or gets sued by a customer or vendor, the owners personal assets might be seized to settle those debts.
Sole Proprietorships are pass-through entities for income tax purposes. Business profits and losses flow through to the owners personal tax returns. Also, all of a Sole Proprietorships profits are subject to self-employment taxes thats because the owner doesnt receive a paycheck from which those taxes are deducted. Generally, Sole Proprietors must make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS, state, and local tax authorities throughout the year.
Searching The County Database
In many areas, you’ll be instructed to search the county or state database of registered fictitious business names before submitting your statement to make sure no one else has already registered the name you want to use. Typically, you can search a county’s database for free if you go to the office in person. Sometimes you can pay a fee for a staff person to do the search for you. If you want the clerk’s office to do the search, you must usually submit the request and fee by mail.
Remember, searching your county database won’t tell you if a name is trademarked. Someone in a different county, state, or even country might own trademark rights to that name. If so, and you go ahead and use that name for your business, you may well run into legal trouble, depending on your geographical scope and the products or services you sell. To avoid being accused of unfair competition or trademark infringement, it is wise to check neighboring counties’ FBN databases, look into state registries of corporate and LLC names, or even do a full international trademark search. Failing to do an appropriate search puts you at risk not only of lawsuits, but also of having to change your name down the line when you already have stationery, business signs, and invoices printed.
You May Like: Can I Get Solar Panels If I Rent
Open A Business Bank Account
Its important to keep personal and business expenses separate when running a sole proprietorship . Opening a business bank account ensures a certain level of protection for your business funds, allows customers to pay with a credit card and make checks payable to your business, and allows your business to build a good credit history.
You want to be able to prove to the IRS youre running your business to make a profit. This ensures the losses you experience during the first few years will remain tax deductible.
Its also wise to build a good credit history before starting your business. While credit cards can help you out in your companys early days when cash flow is low, the interest adds up quickly and can easily become overwhelming.
A personal loan is often a better option, and a good credit history is necessary for securing a loan of this type.
What Is The Difference Between A Dba And A Sole Proprietorship
Doing business as is referred to as a DBA. An organization that does business under a secondary name isnt a business structure but rather an arrangement between two companies. DBAs are required in such cases. You will be automatically categorized as a sole proprietorship if you do not register under a particular business structure.
Recommended Reading: How To Check Solar Panel
Does My State Require A Dba
Almost every state requires that a business file a DBA if it wants to conduct business under a name that is different from their currently registered one. This usually applies to all companies. Even if your local county or state doesnt require a DBA for a business to operate under a fictitious name, wed always recommend filing one, as DBAs can provide other benefits. The following states do not require DBAs to operate under a fictitious name.
|Businesses arent required to file a DBA in order to operate under a different name.|
To Establish A Sole Proprietorship In New York Here’s Everything You Need To Know
In New York, you can establish a sole proprietorship without filing any legal documents with the New York State Government. There are four simple steps you should take:
To find out how to establish a sole proprietorship in any other state, see Nolo’s 50-State Guide to Establishing a Sole Proprietorship.
1. Choose a Business Name
In New York, a sole proprietor may use his or her own given name or may use a trade name. If you plan to use an assumed name or trade name, state law requires that the name be distinguishable from the name of another company currently on record. It is also a good idea to choose a name that is not too similar to another registered business because of common and federal law trademark protections. To make sure your business name is available, run a search in the following government databases:
2. File a Fictitious Business Name
If you use a business name that is different from your legal name, New York requires you to file a certificate of fictitious business name. This is a mandatory requirement in New York. To file your fictitious business name, you must fill out an application available from the county clerk’s office in the location where you intend to do business. The filing fee will vary depending on the county.
Also Check: How Much Does It Cost To Install A Solar System
Your Name Defines Your Brand
Your brand name is the publics first impression of your business. Ideally, your businesss name should reflect your product or service, and give people a reason to become paying customers. If sole proprietor Laura Smith kept her businesss name as just Laura Smith, who would know what she offered until they walked into her shop? And why would they feel compelled to walk into that shop at all?
Choosing the perfect name for your business before youve even opened your doors can be hard, though. When your business is in its infancy, who knows where youll be in five years? If youre struggling to come up with an awesome name to file as a DBA, try a business name generator for a little inspiration.
Dont Miss: Are Solar Panels Worth Buying