Are you a Washington DC 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 Washington DC 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.
How Do I File a Washington DC DBA?
In Washington D.C., the process for getting a DBA, also known as a Trade Name, is rather simple. The first step is to run a business name availability search here.
This ensures that your desired business name is available, and hasn’t already been claimed by another business in the state.
Next, you can either file your DBA online or by mail. In either case, you will need to fill out the Trade Name Registration Form, which requires the following information: Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090
Once you finish filling out this form, you’ll need to include payment for $55, made payable to the “Corporations Division.” If you’re filing by mail, you can mail the form and the check to the following address:
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Corporations Division PO Box 92300 Washington, DC 20090
Get Your Business Domain
To fully embrace the business name, register your URL. With GoDaddy you’ll be able to quickly build a company website so that nobody else can use or take it.
What is a Washington DC 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 Washington DC 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 Washington DC allows businesses to communicate their image and express themselves in different ways without having to actually form a new business to do so.
How Long Does a Washington DC DBA Last?
A District of Columbia DBA lasts for 2 years. If you would like to continue using your DBA name beyond the two-year point, you should file a renewal online with the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs. Each time you file a renewal, the DBA will be renewed for another two-year period.
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.
While hiring a DBA service can save you some time, there are probably better ways to use your budget. The requirements for obtaining a Washington D.C. DBA are so simple that by the time you finish giving your info to the DBA service, you could probably just file the paperwork yourself. That said, if you’re just too busy to handle any more tasks, most service providers (Ex: LegalZoom) charge a fair rate for this service.
The doing business as name, or DBA for short, is one of the most simple business filings for Washington DC 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 Washington DC; 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 Washington DC require publication of a DBA name?
A: No, you do not need to publish your DBA name in Washington D.C.