Are you an Arizona business owner who wants to be able to operate your company under an assumed name? If so, consider acquiring a doing business as (DBA) name.
How do you obtain a DBA name for your Arizona company, and how are you allowed to use your new name? In this guide, we’ll walk through every detail of the DBA acquisition process in this state.
What is an Arizona DBA?
For sole proprietorships and general partnerships, a DBA enables you to use a name other than the owner’s personal name. For limited liability companies and corporations, DBAs allow you to use multiple names to officially refer to your business activities.
There are many different reasons for Arizona companies to acquire ‘doing business as’ names.
- For sole proprietorships and partnerships, they can make your company sound more professional than simply using your own name. You can also open a bank account using your DBA, which can not only help you keep your business and personal assets separate, but customers often have a higher comfort level writing out a check to a business name rather than to an individual’s personal name.
- For corporations and LLCs, DBAs are frequently used to give the company the option of using different names for separate product lines. Another common usage of a DBA is to distinguish satellite businesses from your main company. Restaurant owners love to do this, as for example it can help a fine-dining establishment open a fast-casual spin-off restaurant without affecting customers’ perceptions of the original location. Whether you want to create this separation for marketing or accounting purposes (or both), a doing business as name gives companies options that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
In short, a DBA in Arizona allows businesses to communicate their image and express themselves in different ways without having to actually form a new business to do so.
How Do I File an Arizona DBA?
In Arizona, it is easy to acquire a DBA, also known as a “Trade Name,” for your business. The process is the same as reserving a name for any business in the state, insofar as you will need to check the availability of your desired name and reserve it via the Secretary of State’s website.
This ensures that your desired business name is available, and hasn’t already been claimed by another business in the state.
While you do not have to register a trade name to use it for your business, you are not allowed to put a trade name on certain official documents without reserving and registering it first. You are also not allowed to use any name that is already in use by another business. In order to reserve your DBA or trade name, you will need to fill out the Arizona Trade Name Registration Application. This form must include the following information: 1700 W. Washington Street, FL. 7,
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2808
Once you have provided the necessary information, you will need to include a check for $10 made payable to “Secretary of State [first and last name of current SOS]” Then, you can mail the form and the check to the Secretary of State’s office, which is located at:
1700 W. Washington Street, FL. 7, Phoenix, AZ 85007-2808
How Long Does an Arizona DBA Last?
An Arizona DBA lasts for 5 years from the date of receipt. If you want to continue using the same trade name for longer than 5 years, you will need to file a Trade Name Renewal form with the Secretary of State’s office within six months of the expiration date. For more information on Arizona DBA/trade name renewals, consult the Secretary of State’s website.
Should I Hire a Professional DBA Filing Service?
If you’d rather not fill out the paperwork and register for a DBA yourself, there are plenty of reputable companies offering a service. For a fee, these services will assemble the relevant paperwork and submit it to your state, and all you have to do is supply them with some basic information.
Arizona does not make the process for acquiring a DBA or trade name complicated. While hiring a DBA service can save you the trouble of filling out a few forms, there are probably better ways to use your budget. In other states, the process can be confusing, but Arizona makes it fast, cheap, and relatively painless. From the date that you file the application, the entire process usually takes 2-3 weeks, though this can be expedited for a $25 fee. So, for most businesses, it is best to save your money and file the paperwork yourself. That said, if you already have too much on your plate, most service providers (Ex: LegalZoom) charge a fair rate to handle DBA applications and renewals.
The doing business as name, or DBA for short, is one of the most simple business filings for Arizona entrepreneurs. The process to acquire one is quite straightforward, and you can begin using your new assumed name as soon as the state completes your filing.
We hope this article answered your questions about how to file an Arizona; DBA!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does a DBA provide any legal protections?
A: No, registering a DBA does not legally protect you or your business. If you’re seeking personal asset protection, you might want to look into forming a corporation or a limited liability company rather than just acquiring a DBA name.
Q: Does a DBA need a registered agent?
A: A registered agent is not a legal requirement for sole proprietorships or general partnerships that acquire DBA names. However, limited liability companies and corporations do require a registered agent whether they have a DBA or not.
Q: Can someone else register a business using the same name as my DBA?
A: Filing a DBA does not give your business exclusive rights to your assumed name. If someone wants to use the same name, and they form an LLC or corporation with it, they are legally allowed to take your name for themselves.
Q: Does the state of Arizona require publication of a DBA name?
A: Yes, Arizona requires that all corporations and LLCs publish legal notification of formation in a qualified newspaper within 60 days of the business name or DBA registration.