“Doing Business As” or simply known as DBA is a legal process that small business owners in Georgia like you should know about.
Although not a requirement when starting a business, a DBA can help you if you’re trying to cut costs, looking for a temporary solution or even an effective marketing strategy.
In this article, we’re going to discuss what, why and how to register a Georgia DBA. It’s important that you learn all these ahead of time so that when the need arises for you to file a DBA, you’ll be able to do the process without any glitches.
Starting off with what a Georgia DBA is, below is a detailed explanation.
A Georgia DBA is an official registration of your chosen business name before the state of Georgia. DBA stands for “Doing Business As” otherwise known as fictitious or assumed business name; it allows you to use an alternative business name other the name of your mother business.
When you file a DBA, you can accept money or payments under your official business name. It is also important as most banks will require a DBA when you create a bank account for your business.
Upon completing your Georgia DBA, your personal name as well as your DBA name will be circulated in all official publications in the community where you’re conducting business. The reason this is done is for customers to know the identity of the business owner, what type of business it is, and where the business operates.
If you’re running your business under sole proprietorship, you must know by now how uncomfortable it is to use your personal name as your business name. Under sole proprietorships, you must use the personal name of the business owner as business name.
Some entrepreneurs prefer this structure, but most find it uncomfortable to have their privacy exposed. If you feel this way, you can file a DBA to use other names. Don’t let your entity limit you from using other business names that will help improve the image of your Georgia startup.
While you may find it unreasonable, it’s quite a common practice in the industry to require a DBA. Professionals who are working independently or those who are freelancing may also require a DBA.
While this can be a hassle on your part, just think of the company or person hiring your services without any assurance, would you feel safe if it were you? Any individual or business which runs unincorporated must have a DBA for the sake of their clients as well as for themselves. This is a security blanket for both your client and yourself.
If you’re planning to build another business but you don’t want to incorporate right away, file a DBA. This will allow you to test the waters and still use a business name. Starting a business with the use of a DBA is cheaper than incorporating so you can save a lot of money.
Take for example: your mother business is an ecommerce site that sells classic timepieces to women; it’s doing well and you are actually making quite a lot of profit from the site alone.
Knowing that men would never purchase women’s watches other than giving them as gifts, you decide to branch out. You make a sister website that caters specifically to selling watches to men. With this new website, you have to name it differently, so you need to file a DBA to be able to do so.
As I mentioned before, unincorporated businesses who open business bank accounts are required to file a DBA. If you apply for a bank account without this requirement, your chances of getting rejected are very high. Following with this requirement will allow you to open your business bank account without any glitches.
Here is the step-by-step guide to filing a DBA in Georgia based on state guidelines.
Filing a Georgia DBA is easy and the first step that you need to do is obtain the DBA Registration Form. File the DBA in the county where you intend to start your business. You should check before the Clerk of the Superior Court office if they have a copy of the form.
Although there are counties that have websites containing a downloadable DBA form, some might require you to personally visit their office. You should do a little research before filing for a DBA.
Filling out the form is the next step to complete your DBA registration. Before placing the information into the form, you may want to review it first and prepare the needed information to avoid mistakes. Some of the information that the form may ask includes the following:
Before proceeding to the next step, make sure to verify all the information by rechecking it. Don’t forget to sign the form and place the application date then have it notarized.
The final step to completing your Georgia DBA is to mail the filled out form to your local County Clerk of the Superior Court’s Office. You need to prepare for the filing fee. Once you’re done with the submission, you simple have to wait when your DBA application is approved.
For many Georgia businesses, a DBA is not necessary to start or continue their operations. However, there will always be instances when you may need to file one. When your Georgia business does well and succeeds in the future, you might want to think about filing a DBA if you want to start something new or branch out.
Also, there are entrepreneurs who want to start a Georgia business to use a business name without spending lots of money. They might also want to test the waters first before fully incorporating their startups; both should file a DBA.
Different businesses have different needs so before you decide to file a DBA, make sure that you need it. A DBA can serve many purposes; however, you also need to understand that it has its own set of disadvantages. For one, it can’t protect you and your business 100% and you don’t have a trademark to your business name, in other words, it can be used by anyone.
This article is an informational guide and as such should only be used as a reference when filing an GA DBA, and it should not be used as legal advice. Your lawyer is still the best person to talk to if you want more details on the legalities of filing a ‘Doing Business As’ in Georgia or bringing a business idea to life in general.