How Do You Get a DBA?

Interested in filing for a DBA? Follow these easy steps and helpful tips to help you get your DBA hassle-free.

How do I get a DBA?

You are not limited to a single method on how to get your DBA. There are two paths available to you. Deciding which one will depend on the individual situation of the business. The two options are:

  1. Do it yourself
  2. Hire a professional service
  • NB: The most important factor to remember is that, when filing for your DBA, you must comply with all the legal requirements specific to your state

The most common steps required have been laid out. 

Option 1: Do it yourself

This option will require more work on the owner’s part. However, it is not difficult to complete. It is ideal if the owner is looking to keep costs down for the business. (And if you have some spare time on your hands to file for one). The most common steps required are:

  1. Complete name searches:
  2. Register your DBA
  3. Publish a statement confirming your DBA
  • Chosen your option already? Skip the rest and file a DBA now. 

Complete name searches:

Creating a name that epitomizes your business’s brand can be quite a challenge. A good option is to use naming guides to assist you with the process. DBA’s can be acronyms, shortened versions of the business’s name, or something brand new. For example, a machinic “Friends with Machines” can register for a DBA of “FWM”. This is subject to the name’s availability as it might be registered already. Therefore, you must check with your county’s records to confirm whether or not your name is free to use before you proceed.

  • Tip: Do not settle on a name before you ensure that the domain for your business’s website is still available. Even if it is not something you are considering for your business presently, without doing so may cause regrets later. 

Register your DBA

As a general rule, registration of your DBA is done in the main county where you operate your business. As an example, if you conduct your business from Virginia predominantly in Richmond county, that is where your DBA needs to be registered. As previously mentioned, there are different rules depending on the state. Therefore, you must contact the correct county clerk to get all the proper information regarding the regulations and documentation required. There will be a fee to pay for registration, but it is not too expensive as it typically costs between $10-$100. That being said, registration may need to be conducted with the secretary of state instead of the county clerk. It is dependent on the state’s individual requirements.

Publish a statement confirming your DBA

This step is not required for all states. Therefore, you may have your DBA after step two. However, publishing a notice of your confirmed DBA in a newspaper in your county may be a set requirement to complete the process. Most often enough you are afforded thirty days from registering your DBA to publish this notice. It is possible that you will need to do this for four weeks before acquiring your DBA. 

  • Tip: Ask the newspaper you are publishing your notice in to send the correct template. Half the work will be completed for you and you have the assurance that your notice complies with the legal requirements. 

Option 2: Hire a professional service

If you do not have any free time to file a DBA yourself, there are professional services out there who will do it for you. This will be for a fee that is usually between $50-$150. Choosing this option does grant you certain advantages (other than additional free time). These services will assist with publishing your newspaper notice (if required) and keep you up to date with DBA renewals. 

  • Note: DBA’s need to be renewed every 5-10 years. 

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