How to Get a DBA Name For an LLC in Pennsylvania – 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.

All Posts by Steve Goldstein →
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Staff
Last updated: 
LLCBuddy™ offers informative content for educational purposes only, not as a substitute for professional legal or tax advice. We may earn commissions if you use the services we recommend on this site.
At LLCBuddy, we don't just offer information; we provide a curated experience backed by extensive research and expertise. Led by Steve Goldstein, a seasoned expert in the LLC formation sector, our platform is built on years of hands-on experience and a deep understanding of the nuances involved in establishing and running an LLC. We've navigated the intricacies of the industry, sifted through the complexities, and packaged our knowledge into a comprehensive, user-friendly guide. Our commitment is to empower you with reliable, up-to-date, and actionable insights, ensuring you make informed decisions. With LLCBuddy, you're not just getting a tutorial; you're gaining a trustworthy partner for your entrepreneurial journey.
Get a DBA Name in Pennsylvania

Are you looking to establish a business in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania, 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.

Pennsylvania, popularly known as The Keystone 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 Pennsylvania.

What is DBA Name in Pennsylvania?

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 Certificate 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 Pennsylvania. 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 Pennsylvania under a name other than your personal name or an existing corporate name, you must submit a DBA name with Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania, 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 Pennsylvania

To get a DBA in Pennsylvania, you must first check if any other business is already using the name before filing a DBA in Pennsylvania. You can then submit the Pennsylvania business name reservation form after it has been confirmed that no other company is already using the chosen name. You can search the Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania, you must check with Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania.

  • In Pennsylvania, 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 Pennsylvania Banking Commissioner’s Office, or any insurance-related words without a letter from the Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Insurance Department.
  • 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania LLC name search guide to see how you can find the availability of your desired LLC name in Pennsylvania.

Before you may register your Trade Name in Pennsylvania, 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 Pennsylvania.

Register the Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania
  • Application’s name, title, signature, and date Email address

Submitting the Pennsylvania DBA Name Application

To file the Pennsylvania DBA Name, you must apply to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State. In Pennsylvania, you can file the DBA name in two methods, by mail and in person.. The cost of filing the Fictitious Name (DBA name) in Pennsylvania is $70.

  • Online filing: There is no online filing available
  • Offline filing: For filing offline in Pennsylvania, you must send the accomplished DBA filing form to the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations, P.O. Box 8722, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722 or drop it off in person at 401 North Street, Room 206, Harrisburg, PA 17120.

Using the Pennsylvania Trade Name

Three “specimens” demonstrating the Trade Name used must be submitted to Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania

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 Indefinite in Pennsylvania.

How to Change a Trade Name

You can change your Trade Name (DBA or Fictitious Name) by applying to the Pennsylvania 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 Indefinite; after then, you can change or renew your DBA if needed through the Pennsylvania SOS.

FAQs

What is a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
DBA (which stands for “doing business as”) is a legal designation for a business in Pennsylvania. It is an alternate name for a business, allowing the business to operate under a different name than the legal owner’s name.
How do I file a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
Filing a DBA Name in Pennsylvania can be done by submitting an application with the County Clerk or Register of Wills in the county where the business is located. The application must include the name of the business, the owner’s name, and any other information required by the county.
Is a DBA Name required in Pennsylvania?
A DBA Name is not required in Pennsylvania, but it is strongly recommended if the business is using a different name than the legal owner’s name.
Is a separate business license required to file a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
A separate business license is not required to file a DBA Name in Pennsylvania, but a business may be required to obtain certain licenses or permits depending on the type of business.
How much does it cost to file a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
The cost to file a DBA Name in Pennsylvania varies by county, but generally ranges from $20-$50.
How long does it take to file a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
It typically takes 1-2 weeks for a DBA Name to be filed in Pennsylvania, depending on the county.
What documents are required to file a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
Generally, the documents required to file a DBA Name in Pennsylvania include an application, the name of the business, the owner’s name, and any other information required by the county.
What is the process to file a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
The process to file a DBA Name in Pennsylvania is submitting an application with the County Clerk or Register of Wills in the county where the business is located. The application must include the name of the business, the owner’s name, and any other information required by the county.
What are the benefits of filing a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
The benefits of filing a DBA Name in Pennsylvania include protecting the owner from personal liability, making it easier to open a bank account, and allowing the business to use a different name than the legal owner’s name.
Is a DBA Name required to open a bank account in Pennsylvania?
A DBA Name is not required to open a bank account in Pennsylvania, but it is strongly recommended in order to protect the owner from personal liability.
How long does a DBA Name stay active in Pennsylvania?
A DBA Name remains active in Pennsylvania until it is cancelled or renewed.
Is it necessary to renew a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
Generally, a DBA Name must be renewed in Pennsylvania every five years.
Is there a fee to renew a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
The fee to renew a DBA Name in Pennsylvania varies by county, but it typically ranges from $20-$50.
Is a DBA Name required to sell goods or services in Pennsylvania?
A DBA Name is not required to sell goods or services in Pennsylvania, but it may be beneficial to do so in order to protect the owner from personal liability.
Is there a fee to cancel a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
Generally, there is no fee to cancel a DBA Name in Pennsylvania.
Is there a form to cancel a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
Yes, there is a form to cancel a DBA Name in Pennsylvania. It is available from the County Clerk or Register of Wills in the county where the business is located.
Is a DBA Name the same as a trade name in Pennsylvania?
A DBA Name is not the same as a trade name in Pennsylvania. A DBA Name is an alternate name for a business, while a trade name is a name used to identify the goods or services of a business.
How do I change the owner of a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
To change the owner of a DBA Name in Pennsylvania, you must file a new application with the County Clerk or Register of Wills in the county where the business is located. The new application must include the name of the new owner and any other information required by the county.
Is a fictitious business name the same as a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
A fictitious business name is not the same as a DBA Name in Pennsylvania. A fictitious business name is defined as any name other than the name of the person or entity registering it, while a DBA Name is an alternate name for a business.
Can I file a DBA Name online in Pennsylvania?
Generally, filing a DBA Name online in Pennsylvania is not available. The process must be done in person at the County Clerk or Register of Wills in the county where the business is located.
Is a separate tax ID number needed for a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
Generally, a separate tax ID number is not needed for a DBA Name in Pennsylvania. However, a business may be required to obtain a separate tax ID number depending on the type of business.
How do I check if my DBA Name is available in Pennsylvania?
To check if your DBA Name is available in Pennsylvania, you must contact the County Clerk or Register of Wills in the county where the business is located. They will be able to confirm if the name is available.
Are there restrictions on the name I can choose for my DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
Yes, there are restrictions on the name you can choose for your DBA Name in Pennsylvania. Generally, the name must be distinguishable from the names of other businesses registered in the county.
Do I need to publish my DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
Generally, you do not need to publish your DBA Name in Pennsylvania. However, some counties may require the name to be published in a local newspaper.
Is a DBA Name the same as a corporation in Pennsylvania?
No, a DBA Name is not the same as a corporation in Pennsylvania. A DBA Name is an alternate name for a business, while a corporation is a separate legal entity.
Is there a fee to transfer a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
Generally, there is no fee to transfer a DBA Name in Pennsylvania.
Can I use my DBA Name in other states?
Generally, a DBA Name filed in Pennsylvania can only be used in Pennsylvania. To use the name in other states, you must file a DBA Name in those states.
Where can I find more information about filing a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
The County Clerk or Register of Wills in the county where the business is located can provide more information about filing a DBA Name in Pennsylvania.
Is there a fee for filing a DBA Name in Pennsylvania?
Yes, there is a fee of $70 for filing a DBA Name in Pennsylvania.
How long is a DBA Name valid in Pennsylvania?
A DBA Name filed in Pennsylvania is valid for five years from the date of filing.
Do I need to file a DBA Name in every county in Pennsylvania?
No, you do not need to file a DBA Name in every county in Pennsylvania. The DBA Name registration only needs to be filed with the Department of State in order to be valid in Pennsylvania.

Also Read

Why Pennsylvania DBA Filing is So Important

One of the primary reasons why Pennsylvania DBA filing is so important is that it helps businesses establish a clear and distinct identity in the marketplace. When a business operates under a DBA, it can choose a name that reflects its brand, products, or services more accurately than its legally registered name. This can help businesses stand out from competitors and attract more customers. Additionally, a DBA allows businesses to create a strong brand image that can build customer trust and loyalty over time.

Moreover, Pennsylvania DBA filing is crucial for legal and financial purposes. By registering a DBA, businesses ensure that they comply with state laws and regulations regarding fictitious business names. This can help prevent legal issues and protect businesses from potential lawsuits or penalties. Additionally, having a registered DBA can make it easier for businesses to open bank accounts, obtain financing, and enter into contracts under their chosen business name.

In addition to these practical benefits, Pennsylvania DBA filing can also help businesses enhance their professionalism and credibility. Customers are more likely to trust and patronize businesses that operate under a professional and well-established name. By registering a DBA, businesses show that they are committed to their brand and values, which can positively impact their reputation and image in the eyes of consumers.

Furthermore, Pennsylvania DBA filing can help businesses avoid confusion and disputes with other entities using similar names. When a business registers a DBA, it can easily distinguish itself from others operating under similar names and prevent any confusion among customers, suppliers, or partners. This can help businesses protect their brand and avoid potential legal battles over the unauthorized use of their business name.

Overall, Pennsylvania DBA filing is a critical step for businesses looking to establish a strong brand identity, comply with legal requirements, and enhance their professionalism and credibility in the marketplace. By taking the time to register a DBA, businesses can protect their brand, attract more customers, and ensure their long-term success. Therefore, every business operating under a name other than its legal entity name should prioritize Pennsylvania DBA filing as a fundamental part of its operations.

In Conclusion

A DBA name in Pennsylvania 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.

Leave a Comment