Are you a Georgia 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 Georgia 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 a Georgia 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 Georgia 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 Georgia 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 a Georgia DBA?
DBAs or “Trade Names” cannot be filed with the Georgia Secretary of State. Instead, they must be filed with the clerk of superior court in the primary county in which your business operates. You can find a list of local superior courts on this website. After finding your county’s superior court, you will need to request and file the “Application to Register a Business to be Conducted Under Trade Name” form. The forms and fees will vary by county, and your signature must be notarized. Finally, ask the clerk of superior court which newspaper the local sheriff uses for official notices. You will need to publish notice of your DBA in the newspaper once a week for two consecutive weeks.
This ensures that your desired business name is available, and hasn’t already been claimed by another business in the state.
How Long Does a Georgia DBA Last?
A Georgia DBA expires after 5 years. If you want to continue using your DBA for more than 5 years, you will need to renew it by December 31st of the fifth year. The process for trade name renewal will vary by location, so you will need to request more information from the superior court in your county.
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.
The process for filing a Georgia DBA is pretty complicated compared with some other states, and finding the right forms and fees for your county can be time-consuming. Considering that you will also need to publish notice of your DBA in a local newspaper, it can be a fairly lengthy and stressful process. However, if you would like to save yourself the headache, 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 Georgia 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 a Georgia; 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 Georgia require publication of a DBA name?
A: Yes, Georgia does require publication of a DBA name. You will need to publish the name in a newspaper located in the county in which your business operates. This notice will need to run once a week for at least 2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper that is approved by the local sheriff.