Step 1) Secure Name & Get Registration Form
First things first, verify that the name you want is still available. Do a business entity search through the PA Department of State, and use the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office TESS System to see if there are any trademark conflicts.
Once you’ve verified that the name is available and free of conflicts, download a copy of the Registration of Fictitious Name form.
Now would be the perfect time to make sure there’s a web domain available for your DBA.
Step 2) Properly Fill Out Form
Complete filing instructions can be found in the form itself. Make sure to read the fine print on the form and have all essential information in-hand, including your:
- Complete desired name
- Primary business address
- Business contact information
Leveraging the help of a professional filing service is also a great option here, as they can take care of a ton of the legwork for you!
Step 3) Submit Your DBA Form
Now it's time to file your Registration of Fictitious Name form (along with the filing fee) online, in-person or by mail. If you choose one of the latter two options, submit the form to the address below:
Pennsylvania Department of State
PO Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722
Processing of the application can take 7-10 business days. Once you’re given a "go" signal, you can officially start using your fictitious business name!
Quick Note: Publication of notice is required for fictitious business names in Pennsylvania.
Step 4) Open a Bank Account
Mixing business and personal finances is a terrible idea that opens you up to IRS audits. Make sure to keep these streams of financial data totally separate and to sync your business account with accounting software ASAP!
Need Help Filing Your DBA?
A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.
- LegalZoom ($99 + state fee) for the most popular DBA filing service available.
- MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) for a more personalized DBA filing service.