Step 1) Verify Brand Name
Before doing anything else, make sure that the brand name, or trade name, you would like to file in Iowa isn't already taken or too similar to another business name already in the system.
Start with a Business Entities Search through the state, then if there are potential trademark issues conduct a search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office. There's no point in doing anything else until you've verified the name you want is available.
Now would be the perfect time to make sure there’s a web domain available for your DBA.
Step 2) Get The Correct Form
You're going to need to contact the specific county/city clerk's office where you intend on opening up shop to get the right form. Do note that fees do vary so make sure you have the right form!
If you need some help, be sure to contact the Iowa State Association of Counties if you're unsure which one to file with. Here's some basic information you can expect:
- Complete name
- Phone number
- The business name you wish to use (DBA)
- The address where your business will operate
Step 3) Notarize & Submit
Once you've double and triple checked your form (especially if you don't have legal representation and aren't working with a DBA filing service) have it notarized by an authorized individual to make it official and binding.
Note: Sole proprietorships and partnerships need to file with the local county recorder; corporations and LLCs with the Iowa Secretary of State. Then it's a matter of awaiting confirmation and making sure you have a copy for your records. Enjoy!