Congratulations, you’ve decided to start a business and along with the decision come a few legal requirements with the local city, and state levels of government. Officially the business needs to be recognized as a legal entity by acquiring the proper business permits or licenses to conduct business and charge for services or products. The first action is to research the state and local area where the business will be registered and review the requirements. The second decision is selecting the form of the business entity. If you elect to be a sole proprietor or use a company name other than your legal personal name, you’ll need to file a “Doing Business As” (DBA) with the local city office. There are online services that can do this initial DBA filing process for a fee – it’s really up to you on the method of filing.
DBA is most likely the easiest method of setting up a registered business to legally do business according to the law. The use of a DBA allows the business owner to create a legal entity that’s separate from personal titles, yet still managed by the business owner. Typically, new or emerging businesses chose to be sole proprietors instead of filing as Limited Partnerships or Incorporations. These two business entity forms have other registration requirements with the state and federal governments.Once the business name has been selected, an application with the company’s and the owner’s information needs to filed with the local city or county agency’s office. Most offices are computerized and the process takes less than an hour to complete with all of the information needed.
When you have an approved application and the fees are paid, you are ready to do business as a registered DBA, able to accept payment for services in the name of the business. The next process is usually banking; most financial institutions require proof of DBA registration before opening a bank account under the DBA’s business name.
Next, within the DBA package received from the city’s office, there’s a listing of the local DBA or fictitious business publications. Traditionally, there’s a time frame requirement to post the DBA listing as a registered business. Today, this service can be coordinated over the phone or online to expedite the posting requirement.
As a DBA the cost and preparation time is minimal, but the opportunities to do business are endless. Depending on the type of business, most larger businesses prefer to do business with a business entity rather than a person.