Picture this scenario: you have had a life-long hobby of making specialty desserts and have decided to start a business. You’ve done all of the proper steps… you’ve sat down and written out a business plan which has helped you think over all the details of running a business, you have the perfect name for your new business, and maybe you even have a few clients lined up who have previously tasted and enjoyed your desserts. You have vendors lined up to provide you with supplies at the best cost, and have a kitchen space ready to use. You feel like you’re ready to take on the world and are on your way to becoming the next specialty dessert genius, but something nags at the back of your mind. You feel like you are forgetting something, and then you remember, you haven’t registered for a DBA yet!
What is a DBA? A DBA is also known as a “Doing Business As” or Fictitious Business Name, and can be thought of as a “nickname” for the business. If you are starting a new business by yourself or with partners, are not planning on incorporating, and plan to use a name for your business other than your legal name, you must register for a DBA within the county you live in. In California, DBA’s must be filed within 40 days of starting your business. Once you receive your filing back, you must begin publishing your DBA in a local newspaper within 30 days for a period of 4 successive weeks.
Filing a DBA is your way as a business owner to let authorities know you are using a “fictitious” name to do business, and publishing lets your community know that you intend to do business under that name. It must be done before you sign any contracts using your fictitious business name, before you open a business bank account, and before you accept checks made out to your new business name.
Once you have filed and published your DBA, you are covered for the next 5 years. However, at the end of those 5 years, you will need to file a renewal to continue doing business under your chosen name. When renewing, if all of your business information remains the same you only have to file, you are not required to repeat the publishing. If you change your address after filing, you are required to re-file and re-publish within 40 days of your change of address.
Going back to the earlier scenario: imagine that you are ready to file for your perfect fictitious business name, but where do you start? There are a couple of options available to you… you could either fill out the paperwork on your own, drive down to the county clerk’s office, stand in line and file it yourself, or you could utilize a third-party service provider such as Signature Filing. Signature Filing makes the filing process easy with their online questionnaire available 24/7, which saves you a trip to the county clerk’s office and means you don’t have to waste time standing in line to file your paperwork. They even take care of the publishing for you as well, saving you the hassle of trying to find a newspaper to use.
To finish off the scenario: you opt to save yourself the time and hassle and use Signature Filing’s DBA filing service, proceed to get your perfect business name filed and published, and launch your business. It takes hard work and learning as a new business owner, but this story has a pleasant ending as you live happily ever after becoming the specialty dessert genius you aspired to be.