Choosing a business name or trade name is part of the start-up process of growing businesses in many states. In essence, many states would want you to file a business trade name under a different name from your legal business name for compliance reasons. Since the requirements to register with the secretary of state at the state level or a county official at the county level vary, you may need an online filing service to relieve you of the hassle of registering fictitious name documents..
When it comes to filing business names with an online service, the best DBA filing services would do. ‘Half-baked’ online DBA filing companies can do more harm than good, delaying your plans and impeding your trade name registration progress. That is why we are taking an initiative to walk you through a brief tour of industry top options. But before we get deep into the reviews, let’s clarify what a DBA really means.
best options DBA Filing Services on the market in 2021
- ZenBusiness – Editor’s choice
- BetterLegal – Top Pick
- Harbor Compliance – Best for beginners
- Inc Authority – Best for forming business
- Swyft Filings – Best for those in a hurry to file a DBA
- MyCompanyWorks, Inc – Most convenient
- Incfile – Best on a budget
- BizFilings – Best representative experience reassurance
- LegalZoom – Best ongoing legal service
- CorpNet– Best personalized service
What Does DBA Mean?
The abbreviation DBA stands for ‘doing business as’. You may file a DBA if you want to do a business under a name of your choosing other than your legal business name.
For instance, a sole proprietor, Titus Anns operating a donut business can register his business as Titus Anns, doing business as Donut Unlimited. However, it is not limited to sole proprietors. A trade name registration is applicable to all types of businesses, including a nonprofit business, LLC or corporation.
With that being clarified, here are our top pick online DBA ‘doing business as ‘ name registration services:
In A Hurry? Here’s The Winner
Why is it better?
- Industry-best charges
- Excellent customer service
- Faster fictitious name registration
- Domain name privacy
The Lineup At A Glance
- Quick turn around
- User-friendly interface
- Overwhelming positive reviews
Best for beginners
- Compliance representative
- Learning resources
Best for forming business
- No charges when forming a business Knowledgeable support team
- User-friendly interface
Best for those in a hurry to file a DBA
- User experience
- Satisfaction guarantee
- Positive reviews
- Unlimited name search
- Quick filing
Best on a budget
- No charges when forming a business
- Cheap pricing
- User experience
Best representative experience reassurance
- Quick turnaround
- Valuable resources
- Experienced support team
Best ongoing legal service
- Legal support
- Excellent features
Best personalised service
- Satisfaction guarantee
- Excellent customer support
- Quick turn around
10 Best DBA Filing Services [Year]
Here is a provider that guarantees best overall value to small business owners looking to file a DBA with the state agency or at the county level.
- Impressive features for filing a DBA at affordable charges
- Excellent customer service
- Overpriced agent renewal fee.
- The company is fairly new
Zenbusiness guarantees one of the cheapest ways to get started yet dedicated to providing top-rated DBA registration and establishment services afterward. Generally, Zenbusiness will handle the preparation and filing of your DBA documents, name availability search, free registered agent services and free accounting at a very low charge plus state fee.
Other features key to assumed name establishment include a worry-free CPA evaluation, automated annual filing, rush filing, Federal Tax ID number or employer identification number (EIN), and registered agent service. These are offered in their higher tiers which are otherwise very affordable.
Besides, Zenbusiness allows you to subscribe to their program with confidence knowing that your money is 100% refundable. Most importantly, their stellar interface has earned them a lot of positive online reviews and a BBB rating of A+. For queries, the customer support team is always happy to chat or talk to you via phone number 1-844-4-ZENBIZ from Monday to Friday 9 am to 8 pm Central time and Sunday 10 am to 7 pm Central time.
For a user experience that is fast and painless, better legal would be a great fictitious name registration option.
- Excellent customer experience
- Just 10 minutes to file a fictitious business name
- Doesn’t provide attorney support or any other legal advice
- Contact info not listed promptly
Better legal will augment your current assumed name registration services with additional resources to fill any gap through a shared trade name model. The provider is capable of doing thorough research on your name availability in the state where you wish to register. If your name is missing, the customer service team will help you find an alternative.
Their precision file preparation coupled with expedited filing options make the company set a higher bar when it comes to customer service. Generally, the provider boasts 4.6 stars rating on average out of 2, 364 clients on TrustPilot[2 .
Their other biggest win is a user-friendly interface. They ensure there are no upsells or advertisements on their website to delay you as you file a DBA name. In regard to that, it only takes users 5-10 minutes to complete a business name application. In return, their service team only takes 3 business days to clear with the secretary of state.
They have a compliance expert to walk you through the assumed name registration process.
- Offer a compliance specialist to every client to help you file a DBA
- They have an information center full of learning resources
- Their prices are at the end of the industry
- Not as experienced compared to most of their competitors
Harbor compliance offers you an opportunity to have direct access to skilled DBA resources at any time. In essence, the compliance expert navigates registration requirements across state lines, prepares and files a DBA registration, conducts a name check availability, and tracks, prepares & file renewals.
Harbor compliance is very supportive and will let you know what is required in every state in order to file a DBA. The company support team also lets you know about their affordable fees when handling such services.
For instance, some states may require that you submit your initial report and publish evidence of your assumed name. If that would be the case, the company support team will identify the authorized newspaper, prepare and submit the required notices, and obtain affidavits for your business record on your behalf.
Besides, Harbour Compliance consolidates fictitious name registration features in a user interface. For that reason, they boast a 5-star customer rating and a BBB rating of A+.
If you want to file a DBA on a budget, Inc Authority is a shot. You will start a business without paying any fee and then pay for their otherwise cheap trade name registration features as add ons.
- You only need a state fee to form a business
- Offer agent service for a year without any fee involved
- Have several upsells that are rarely charged by other fictitious business name registration services
- The premium package is too expensive for a business name registration
Inc Authority offers business formation for free and you will only pay the state fee. With their free package, you get useful trade name registration features like company name search, preparation, filing and submission of documents to the state, a year free registered agent service, as well as storage and document delivery.
For that reason, you will only have to opt for their expensive higher packages when you need services like rush filing and Employer Identification Number. In addition, the company will help you set up a bank account in your name with a lot of ease after registering a DBA thanks to their partnership with the Bank of America.
Out of 4,881 reviewers on TrustPilot at the time of our reviews, the provider had overwhelmingly positive comments. The clients’ average rating stood at 4.8 stars.
In a hurry to register a fictitious business name? You only need 10 minutes to fill a DBA form then wait for only a week to get their feedback.
- Guarantee a faster-assumed name registration
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- They don’t provide publication services
Swift Filing lives up to their name with a quick turnaround. In just 2 weeks, the company carried out research on various databases for your name availability, preparation and filing of documents, submission of the documents to the county clerk or state secretary and offered you feedback. In addition, you will only need 10 minutes to fill out their form from start to finish.
Their biggest win is customer service. Every client receives a personal business specialist to guide them. Meaning, instead of calling an anonymous call center, you will be directly dealing with representatives every time. Besides, their site is well equipped with learning resources making it ideal for entrepreneurs who have never dealt with filing companies. In addition to all the perks, you are guaranteed an affordable fictitious name registration.
Even more, you can take advantage of the 100% money-back satisfaction to give their services a try in all 50 states. However, Swift filing will not deal with publishing your assumed name in the states that will require you to do so. You will have to find out the publication requirements and do the publication on your own.
For entrepreneurs who want all the essential DBA registration services at a fair price, this is a great option.
- They offer business name registration at affordable charges
- Guarantee quick turn around
- No registered agent services in their basic package
- No agent service with lower package
MyCompanyWorks is not on the expensive end in the industry. Their formation package is affordable and offers vital fictitious name registration features like name search to verify if your business name is available for DBA formation. Another key feature in this package is the preparation and filing of your articles of incorporation..
However, if you feel you will get value on additional features to their core DBA features you will have to subscribe to their higher tier. The two top tiers offer EIN Tax ID number (social security number), registered agent service, document library and 4 shipping options.
The best part is their 100% satisfaction guarantee which ensures that if you have issues with their services, they will either correct the problem or refund your money. Unlike its competitors that will allow 30 days money-back guarantee, MyCompanyWorks allows up to 90 days.
In addition to the Startup Wizard filing checklist that will guide you on a step-by-step journey of trade name registration, the customer service team is always readily available. They respond to emails within 10-20 minutes of business hours.
IncFile provides great business name registration services in their free formation package.
- They provide a user-friendly online dashboard
- A year of a registered agent without fees involved
- Several upsells that may increase the price
- They don’t create legal documents
Just like Inc Authority, InFile has a free business formation package that will only cost you some state fees. The only difference, IncFile tends to offer more features in this package than its counterpart. For instance, in addition to unlimited name search, filings and submissions of documents to the secretary of state/county clerk, a year free registered agent and storage & document delivery, you get other features like a day processing speed and lifetime alert.
Besides, their higher packages are affordable and come with some other important features key to your fictitious name establishment. For instance, if you are in a hurry, you can subscribe to the Platinum Package that offers expedited filing. In short, IncFile will offer you one of the cheapest DBA registration services in all 50 states.
Lastly, Incfile ensures you get the information and the customer service you need. In addition to their website learning resources, the company has invested in a group of business formation specialists which offer the guidance you need to help you file your DBA name appropriately.
BizFiling boasts a quick turn around to spare you the long wait if you could have registered with the secretary of state by yourself.
- Quick turn around of 2 weeks
- Offer valuable resources including compliance, tax, and business formation topics
- Charge extra fees for name check and publication
- Lack enough positive feedback online
BizFiling has an industry-standard base fee except that they charge extra for DBA registration features like name search, which most of its competitors offer for free. On the good side, they offer one of the cheapest expedited filing charges. With the rush filings, you can have your documents filed in as quick as 2 weeks.
Their biggest win is the customer support services. In addition to an extensive free online DBA help centre, you can count on their customer representative to provide good support when filing a DBA and afterwards. The experts boast an average of 4 years of experience and therefore are knowledgeable on trade name registration requirements.
Given the customer service representatives’ experiences, and outstanding features, you can never go wrong with this provider if you need to file a business name. Also, the offer to expedite your order is hard to come by among the providers you will come across out there. BizFilling developers are also generous and will offer affiliate commissions on referrals.
If you want a trade name registration service that allows an ongoing attorney consultation, look no further than LegalZoom.
- Its popularity is a reassurance
- Ensure regular attorney consultations
- Doesn’t have great customer reviews
- Not ideal for those in a hurry to file a DBA
For an entrepreneur who is unsure which trade name registration service to go for, Legalzoom being one of the most popular names in the industry guarantees trust. In the last 18 years of existence, they have served over 3 million businesses in various ways, particularly registering an assumed name.
Their packages come with intriguing features that you don’t often see with other DBA filing top names. Though it is not a law firm, the provider offers a 14 days trial of the Business Advisory Plan which offers an ongoing attorney consultation, legal advice, annual business evaluation, and document reviews which are unique to the provider.
In addition to the above-mentioned perk, LegalZoom offers other DBA name registration vital features like name availability search and filing of your DBA documents in their formation package. Since the company is very large and popular, they handle many clients and this could be the reason their processing speed is not as fast. However, you can pay for expedited filing which is not very expensive.
The provider also boasts excellent customer support services and user-friendly interface.
If you need to file a business name without additional bells and whistles, this family-owned provider gives you everything you need; nothing you don’t need.
- They boast excellent customer reviews
- 100% satisfaction guarantee for fictitious business name registration.
- The basic package cost after shipping and handling is high
- Not as popular as most top providers like LegalZoom
Though it is not among the cheapest out there, the two packages offer you all the essentials to file a DBA including, preparation and filing of your documents plus a name search. You are guaranteed one of the most comprehensive name searches to confirm if your assumed name is available for DBA registration. Other features include organization of documents, documents submission and feedback.
Besides, CorpNet has a 100% guarantee. If you are not pleased with their service, you can cancel and either have the situation corrected or have your money refunded.
The couple, Philip and Nellie Kalp’ organization have a good reputation when it comes to customer service. They have helped more than 100,000 businesses in various ways particularly in establishing an assumed name. Being a family business, the provider boasts the best personalised service with a smaller feel. Their strongest area is satisfaction guarantee and reliable customer feedback.
DBA Filing Service Pros
- DBA sets up your business in a relatively inexpensive way.
- DBA names are very versatile and once you establish a business entity, you can create fictitious business names for each of your new businesses.
- Registration of a fictitious business name also helps protect your privacy.
- DBA allows form businesses in the state where the legal name of the business is already being used.
- It helps keep in compliance with the law and you can legally use a business name without having to incorporate it or form an LLC
- It also makes it easier to set up a business bank account in your name.
- Applicable to all business structures, i.e from sole proprietorships to LLCs or Corporations.
When To File a DBA
You should file for a fictitious name if you want your company to transact business under its domain name. This is very useful in a situation where you want to operate a business in addition to your existing one. Your new business will need a different name from the legal name of your business entity.
Which DBA Filing Service Should You Choose?
The best service for fictitious name registration should offer an affordable package yet packed with features. With that said, Zenbusiness which boasts excellent customer service, intriguing DBA filing features like rush filing, worry-free guarantee and many other aspects of fictitious business name registration is the best choice.
DBA Filing Service Cons
- It is geographically restricted i.e. you will need to file individual fictitious name in each new state
- The assumed name doesn’t protect your personal assets, i.e. will not separate your business and personal assets as LLC would.
- They don’t offer trademark protection, i.e, registering a DBA does not prevent others from using your assumed name.
Frequently Asked Questions
DBAs are not restricted to a sole proprietorship and general partnership. If you have formed a limited liability company and want to do a business under a name other than the name its official name, you need to register a DBA in order to do so.
Changing your DBA to an LLC is possible and doesn’t take much time particularly when you seek the help of an official online provider. Changing your DBA to LLC guarantees company assets and trademark protections.
A fictitious name is the same as a DBA name. The difference in names is brought about by how different states describe it. For instance, in California, it is a DBA name, Colorado, it is a trade name, in the state of Illinois, it is termed as an assumed name, Florida it is popularly referred to as fictitious name.
The charges for filing a DBA name varies depending on the filing service used, business structure, state, county, and city requirements. However, it generally ranges from $5 to $100.
These will depend on the jurisdiction and the provider used. But in general, registering trade names for new businesses in most states only takes a week to four weeks.
It helps keep your assumed name official and keep in compliance with the state regulations. Another key benefit is that it enables you to expand your business in a state where your official business legal name is established.
Some states make it official that after your trade name is approved, a business must publish their business names in a proven newspaper or any other recognized publication. These states include California, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Illinois & Nebraska.
A sole proprietorship is a legal structure just like an LLC or corporation while a DBA is a legal requirement by the state or county authorities to be able to operate your business with a different name from the official business entity name.