How to Get a DBA Name For an LLC in California – An Easy Guide


Steve Goldstein
Steve Goldstein
Business Formation Expert
Steve Goldstein runs LLCBuddy, helping entrepreneurs set up their LLCs easily. He offers clear guides, articles, and FAQs to simplify the process. His team keeps everything accurate and current, focusing on state rules, registered agents, and compliance. Steve’s passion for helping businesses grow makes LLCBuddy a go-to resource for starting and managing an LLC.

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Get a DBA Name in California

Are you looking to establish a business in California and need to get a DBA (Doing Business As) name for your venture? You’re in the right place! A DBA, also known as a Trade Name, Fictitious Name, or Assumed Name, allows you to conduct business under a name that’s different from your legal business name. This can be advantageous for branding, marketing, and overall business operations.

In California, if you’re willing to use a different name other than the legal name for your business, you must file the DBA (Doing Business As). The public (specifically your potential customers) knows your business by its registered legal name. Instead of using your formal business name, you may use the trade name or DBA in marketing and sales to reach a wider audience.

California, popularly known as The Golden State, has some regulations when it comes to filing your DBA name. However, the regulations can vary depending on the type of business structure you have. In this article, I will share the basic steps to get a DBA Name in California.

What is DBA Name in California?

Whenever you form an LLC or any business structure, you must get a name for it. Every company has a legitimate name. For instance, a partnership or sole proprietorship might function under the legal name of the company’s owner or owners. The name specified in the Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization may be used by any business entity, including corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and others.

However, there are situations when you may decide against using your company’s registered legal name in California. This is due to a variety of factors. For instance, the legal name of your company can be unrelated to it or no longer accurately describe it. Or perhaps you want a new name without altering your documentation for incorporation or registration.

If you intend to run your business in California under a name other than your personal name or an existing corporate name, you must submit a DBA name with California state regardless of the type of business entity you have incorporated as (single proprietor, partnership, corporation, or LLC).

No restrictions exist on how many DBA names you can use to do business. However, each DBA name must be filed with the state where you conduct business. This is necessary because the general public has a legal right to know whether a specific individual or company is operating under a name other than their legal name.

In California, changing your business name is a risky factor. It can bring positive and negative effects on your business. Hence, before you file and change your legal business name, analyze all the risks and advantages.

LLCBuddy Editorial Team

How to Get a DBA in California

To get a DBA in California, you must first check if any other business is already using the name before filing a DBA in California. You can then submit the California business name reservation form after it has been confirmed that no other company is already using the chosen name. You can search the California Government Records Inquiry System and confirm that the name you chose is not already in use. However, getting a DBA is not mandatory in many states. If you open an LLC in California, you must check with California Secretary of State whether you need to file DBA or not.

Guideline for choosing a DBA name

You must choose a name to register, which is the crucial step. There are a few straightforward LLC name guidelines to follow (if you’re forming an LLC) while choosing a name in California.

  • In California, fictional names cannot be the same or similar to one another. A DBA cannot deceive the public by appearing to be confusingly similar to any other business name.
  • Unless the company has been incorporated as an LLC or corporation, a DBA name cannot contain a corporate indication, such as Corp or LLC, or any other words that imply an entity type. This will stop a lone proprietor from passing for a legitimate corporation.
  • Any banking-related words without a letter from the California Banking Commissioner’s Office, or any insurance-related words without a letter from the California California Department of Insurance.
  • Any words that could confuse your corporation with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • A professional designation in the name (i.e., engineering, attorney) without a copy of the license of one officer/member or a letter from the governing agency allowing the use of the name without licensing.
  • Any words that indicate or imply that the corporation is engaged in a business that is not authorized by law to pursue.

How Can You Tell if a DBA Name in California is available?

Once you have selected a name that complies with the requirements mentioned above, there are a number of methods you can use to find out if the name is open for registration. One simple strategy is to look up other companies in California with the same name on Google.

It is a simple technique to clear out any already taken names, even though it may not guarantee that the name you want to register is accessible. As it is likely that you will require a website domain that matches your business name, you may also check to see whether the web domain for that name is accessible. For example, you can check California LLC name search guide to see how you can find the availability of your desired LLC name in California.

Before you may register your Trade Name in California, you must have used it for business purposes. Therefore, you must use a Trade Name as soon as possible if you want to register and protect it in California.

Register the California DBA Name

Once you have established that the name is available for registration, you must finish the file using the forms your county has provided. You must register your DBA name in the county where you intend to conduct business. In most California counties, the following fundamental information is needed-

  • Name of the company, its phone number, city, state, and street address
  • The organization type under which the business is incorporated
  • List the partners’ names and addresses (if applicable)
  • Describe the items, services, or business that will be delivered under the Fictitious Name in the registration form
  • Use of the Fictitious Name in the marketplace
  • Both the classification type and number
  • Make a mark (pick Trade Name)
  • Date and state of the first use of the trade name
  • When the Trade Name first appeared in California
  • Application’s name, title, signature, and date Email address

Submitting the California DBA Name Application

To file the California DBA Name, you must apply to the California Secretary of State. In California, you can file the DBA name in two methods, online and by mail. The cost of filing the Fictitious Name (DBA name) in California is $26 for filing and $5 for each additional business name..

  • Online filing: Check the California SOS website for the forms or city/county sites for the same
  • Offline filing: Check California Secretary of State website for the PDF Form

Using the California Trade Name

Three “specimens” demonstrating the Trade Name used must be submitted to California Secretary of State. The following are some instances of acceptable specimens:

  • Business cards
  • Booklets,
  • Flyers,
  • Labels, and
  • Stickers

How to Renew a Trade Name in California

You can renew your DBA name after a stipulated time. In most states, the renewal of the DBA name follows the same process as filing a fresh DBA name. You need to get the DBA renewal form, fill it up with the correct information, and submit it to the state online or offline. The renew time for DBA name filing is five years in California.

How to Change a Trade Name

You can change your Trade Name (DBA or Fictitious Name) by applying to the California SOS. The process is similar. You can search for the name you want to have after changing the old Trade Name. If the name is available, make sure it follows other guidelines. You can reserve your DBA name for five years; after then, you can change or renew your DBA if needed through the California SOS.

FAQs

What is a DBA Name?
DBA stands for “Doing Business As” and is commonly referred to as an assumed name or a fictitious business name. It is an alternative name used by a business to conduct business operations and to identify itself to the public.
Is a DBA Name required in California?
Yes, if you are planning to operate your business under a name that is different from your own legal name or the existing corporate or LLC name, then you will need to register it as a DBA name in California.
How do I file a DBA Name in California?
You can file a DBA Name in California by submitting an Application for Registration of Fictitious Business Name (Form FBN-1) to the county clerk in the county where the business is located.
How much does it cost to file a DBA Name in California?
The cost of filing a DBA Name in California varies from county to county and typically ranges from $10 to $80.
How long does it take to file a DBA Name in California?
The processing time to file a DBA Name in California can vary from as little as 1-2 business days to a few weeks.
How long is a DBA Name valid for in California?
A DBA Name in California is valid for 5 years from the date of filing.
Do I need to publish a notice of my DBA Name in California?
Yes, most counties in California require that you publish a notice of your DBA Name in a local newspaper of general circulation.
When do I need to publish a notice of my DBA Name in California?
You must publish a notice of your DBA Name within 30 days of filing the DBA Name in California.
What is the purpose of publishing a notice of my DBA Name in California?
The purpose of publishing a notice of your DBA Name in California is to provide notice to the public that you are operating a business under an assumed name.
What are the consequences of not publishing a notice of my DBA Name in California?
If you do not publish a notice of your DBA Name in California, your DBA Name filing may be invalid and you may be subject to legal action.
Do I need a license or permit to operate my business under a DBA Name in California?
Depending on the type of business, you may need to obtain a license or permit from the state or local government in order to operate your business under a DBA Name in California.
Do I need to register my DBA Name with the California Secretary of State?
No, you do not need to register your DBA Name with the California Secretary of State.
Can I file a DBA Name online in California?
Yes, some counties in California allow you to file your DBA Name online.
Do I need an attorney to file a DBA Name in California?
No, you do not need an attorney to file a DBA Name in California.
Is a DBA Name the same as a trademark?
No, a DBA Name is not the same as a trademark. A trademark protects a business’s name, logo, slogan, and other branding elements, while a DBA Name simply gives a business an alternate name to operate under.
Can I use my DBA Name on banking documents in California?
Yes, you can use your DBA Name on banking documents in California.
Do I need to register my DBA Name in multiple counties in California?
No, you only need to register your DBA Name in the county where your business is located.
Do I need to register my DBA Name in both my county and the Secretary of State?
No, you only need to register your DBA Name in the county where your business is located.
Is there a time limit for renewing a DBA Name in California?
Yes, you must renew your DBA Name in California every 5 years.
Can I use a DBA Name to open a bank account in California?
Yes, you can use a DBA Name to open a bank account in California.
Can I use a DBA Name to buy and sell goods in California?
Yes, you can use a DBA Name to buy and sell goods in California.
Can I use a DBA Name to enter into contracts in California?
Yes, you can use a DBA Name to enter into contracts in California.
Do I need to register my DBA Name with the IRS in California?
No, you do not need to register your DBA Name with the IRS in California.
Do I need to register my DBA Name with the California Department of Revenue?
Depending on the type of business, you may need to register your DBA Name with the California Department of Revenue.
Can I use a DBA Name to hire employees in California?
Yes, you can use a DBA Name to hire employees in California.
Can I use a DBA Name to advertise my business in California?
Yes, you can use a DBA Name to advertise your business in California.
Do I need to register my DBA Name with the California Employment Development Department?
Depending on the type of business, you may need to register your DBA Name with the California Employment Development Department.
Can I use a DBA Name to open a retail store in California?
Yes, you can use a DBA Name to open a retail store in California.
Do I need to register my DBA Name with the California Franchise Tax Board?
Depending on the type of business, you may need to register your DBA Name with the California Franchise Tax Board.
Can I use a DBA Name to conduct business outside of California?
Yes, you can use a DBA Name to conduct business outside of California.

Also Read

Why California DBA Filing is So Important

One of the primary reasons why California DBA filing is so important is that it allows for easy identification of the business entity behind a particular name. This transparency is crucial for building trust with customers and stakeholders, as it demonstrates that the business is legitimate and accountable for its actions. Without proper DBA registration, consumers may be misled or confused about the identity of the business they are engaging with, which can lead to legal and reputation issues down the line.

Moreover, California DBA filing is essential for compliance with state and local regulations. By registering a DBA name, businesses ensure that they are operating within the legal framework of the state. This not only helps to avoid potential legal troubles but also enhances the credibility and professionalism of the business in the eyes of regulators, investors, and customers.

In addition, California DBA filing is crucial for protecting intellectual property rights. Registering a DBA name can provide legal protection against others using the same or similar business name, preventing confusion in the marketplace and safeguarding the reputation of the business. It also allows businesses to build a distinct brand identity and establish themselves as unique entities in the competitive landscape.

Furthermore, California DBA filing is essential for credit building and access to financing. Many financial institutions and creditors require businesses to have a registered DBA name to qualify for loans or credit lines. By complying with DBA registration requirements, businesses can build a solid credit history and improve their financial standing, making it easier to secure funding for growth and expansion opportunities.

Overall, California DBA filing is a critical process that should not be overlooked or underestimated by businesses operating under a different name. It provides transparency, compliance, protection, and credibility, all of which are essential for sustainable growth and success in today’s highly competitive business environment. By taking the time to properly register a DBA name, businesses can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they are operating within the boundaries of the law and building a strong foundation for future growth and prosperity.

In Conclusion

A DBA name in California is the best way to update your business name. Unlike the registered legal business name, you can have as many as DBA names. You can use your new assumed name as soon as the state has processed your filing, and getting one is a rather simple process. Whether you have an LLC or any other business structure, filing a DBA name is helpful for your business upgradation anytime.

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