Step 1) Start with a DBA Name Search
The first step to getting a DBA is choosing the name and making sure it’s available. Your name can be similar to other business names, but it’s still a good practice to create a unique name.
Before you file your DBA, you will be required to search state and county records to make sure your exact name isn’t already taken. You will also need to consider any naming rules.
In Georgia, your business name should not include:
- Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp., etc unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, etc.
- Any variations on the word “bank” or related words without approval from the state’s Department of Banking and Finance.
- The words “insurance,” “assurance,” “surety,” “fidelity,” “reinsurance,” “reassurance,” or “indemnity” without approval from the state’s Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.
You can view more information about Georgia’s business naming rules here.
Next, a quick search on the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System will tell you whether someone else has already trademarked your name.
Now would be the perfect time to make sure there’s a web domain available for your DBA as well.
Step 2) Register Your DBA with the County Clerk of Superior Court
In Georgia, you register your trade name with the county where your principal place of business is located.
DBA regulations are very similar from county to county, but they do vary. We will give you step-by-step directions to get a Fulton County trade name.
If you need to file in a different county, you’ll need to contact the correct County Clerk of Superior Court for instructions.
These links will lead you to the trade name websites for some of the more populated counties:
- Fulton County Clerk of Superior Court (full instructions below)
- Gwinnett County Clerk of Superior Court
- Cobb County Clerk of Superior Court
- DeKalb County Clerk of Superior Court
You can find the complete list of county contact information here.
A DBA does not offer any protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For more information on setting up a limited liability company, visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.
How to File a Fulton County DBA
At this point, you should’ve already chosen a name for your business and completed the name searches in Step 1 above. You will need to fill out the below form and then submit it to the Fulton County Clerk of Superior Court office.
Trade name applications are processed within four weeks. Fulton County recommends filing the application in person if you need a time-stamped copy immediately. If filed at an annex location, Fulton County cannot immediately provide a book/page.
Submit Your Trade Name Application
136 Pryor Street
Atlanta, GA 30303
- $172 registration fee (varies slightly by county)
- Publishing fee of $20 per 100 words per insert (with 2 inserts required), plus a $5 affidavit fee
Manage Your Fulton County DBA
DBA Questions. For general questions about filing a trade name application in Fulton County, you can call the Clerk for Superior Court at 404-613-5371.
Renew Your DBA. Your Fulton County trade name does not need to be renewed.
Change Your DBA. To make changes to your trade name, you need to fill out a new registration form with the appropriate amendments. The fee is $174 ($172 plus a $2 cross-referencing fee).
Withdraw Your DBA. To withdraw your trade name in Fulton County, fill out the Affidavit to Cancel Registered Trade Name form and submit it to the Clerk of Superior Court. The fee is $174 ($172 plus a $2 cross-referencing fee).
Step 3) Publish a Notice for Your DBA
You must publish a statement in a newspaper in the county where your principal place of business is. You must publish once a week for two weeks.
Publication is easy and when you call the newspaper to run your ad, they will be familiar with the process.
You should direct any questions about publication to the Clerk of Superior Court office that you registered your trade name with.
You can find the complete list of county contact information here.
Can I file a DBA online in Georgia?
You will need to contact the county of your principal place of business to find out if online filing is available, but it is generally done in person or by mail in Georgia. You can find the complete list of county contact information here.
How do I withdraw my Georgia DBA?
You will need to file an Affidavit to Cancel Trade Name form with the county office that you registered the trade name with.
How do I change my DBA in Georgia?
The process of making changes to your trade name in Georgia can vary state to state, but you may be required to file a new registration form that includes the amended information.
How often should I renew my Georgia DBA?
Your trade name does not expire in Georgia.
When is a DBA required in Georgia?
A DBA is required whenever a business is operating under a name other than its legal name.
How do I transfer my DBA in Georgia?
To transfer ownership of a trade name in Georgia, you will need to fill out a new registration statement.
How many DBAs can I have?
You can have as many DBAs as you can afford to create and are able to keep track of. However, more isn’t necessarily better. Each one will come with additional incremental expense and paperwork, so you will want to make sure you have a good reason for each one you have.
Is my DBA protected from being used in other places?
There are some state-level laws that prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but this varies from state to state. It is possible to trademark a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.
Can a DBA get an EIN or Tax ID?
DBAs aren’t required to have a separate EIN because DBAs aren’t a business entity. The business entity that the DBA is under would have an EIN if an EIN is required.
To learn more about EINs and when you would need one for your business, read What is An EIN from our friends at TRUiC.
Can a DBA become an LLC?
Your DBA is just a name. A DBA is often confused with a sole proprietorship. If you mean “can my sole proprietorship become an LLC?” then the answer is “Yes. Absolutely.”
To learn how to form an LLC, visit our Form an LLC state guides.
Can a DBA have "Inc." in the name?
A DBA can only have "Inc." in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is incorporated. Incorporated businesses include LLCs, corporations, and Limited Partnerships to name a few.
How do I set up a DBA for a Rental Property?
It’s always best to consult an attorney. Usually, the best option is to form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. Holding the rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection.