I am going into business with a friend of mine and we’ve encountered an issue that we can’t seem to find a resolution to…
We’ve been thinking of a name for our business when she told me that it’s cheaper to use your name for the business instead of a DBA. What I’m wondering is if it’s still considered a name if we use our first names together (ex: Alice Lori Cleaning) if my name is Alice and hers is Lori. OR do we need to pick one of us to have our whole name (Alice Doe Cleaning or Lori Johnson Cleaning) ? We’d like to have both our names, so if we want it that way, do we need to have a DBA?
You’re definitely going to need to register a DBA though. Since you are either forming a true partnership or a LLC or S-Corp, your going to need to register a DBA regardless because it’s an entity owner by more than 1 person. Registering a DBA is easy and fairly cheap. You generally need to go down to, or file online with your secretary of state. Your bank will most likely require your DBA certificate before they allow you to open a checking account in the name of your business.
You can name it anything you want. You could also name it something like: A.L. Cleaning. You might take a poll of friends and family once you come up with a few name candidates.
I agree that the DBA shouldn’t be a factor in the cost of doing business, and you aren’t going to need a DBA unless you are operating under a different name than your business or yourself.
If you are operating as sole proprietor, you can accept checks in your own name and operate the business under that name, too.
If you are incorporating, you can accept checks and operate the business under that name, too.
If you are not using your natural name and not using your corporate name, but instead are ‘doing business as’ another name then you need to file a DBA (doing business as) which simply tells the world who you are and that you are doing business under another name. If you accept checks using that name, the bank will usually require a DBA so that they can see that you are, in fact, the recipient of the check.
But, a DBA only costs a small fee and it shouldn’t really be a cost consideration when you are starting up. At the beginning, you should be thinking about convenience, cashflow, liability, and taxes, not to mention taxes and also taxes!