The term DBA is an abbreviated acronym that stands for ‘doing business as.’ A DBA is any registered name that a business or persona uses to do business under that is not the legal name.
The legal name of a business is different depending on its business structure. For a limited liability company (LLC), the legal name is the company’s name. And for sole proprietors, the legal name defaults to the owner’s own name.
DBA’s are often referred to as fictitious names, trade names, and assumed business names.
New Mexico does not require or permit you to register a fictitious business name.
However, if you open a business in most states, the legal name will be your personal name (e.g., Victor Jackson). Victor wants to open a paper and printing shop. He doesn’t want the business’s name to be his personal name. So, he files a DBA to change the name of his company to Vick’s Perfect Copy. That now becomes the business’s name—nothing else about Vick’s Perfect Copy changes.
DBA vs business name
- New Mexico does not require or permit DBA registration.
- In most states, companies in any industry can register a DBA. It includes sole-proprietorships, LLCs, corporations, franchises, and non-profits.
- The only difference between a DBA name and an assumed business is that a DBA is just an alias. It has to be associated with a legal business entity.
- DBA means the same thing as a fictitious name.
Who needs a DBA?
You cannot file a DBA in New Mexico. However, most states require you to file a DBA if you use a business name that is not its legal name.
- New businesses. In most states, new businesses that intend on using a name other than its legal name must file a DBA.
- Sole proprietors. A business and its owner are the same legal entity. It means that they share a name unless they file a DBA in the majority of states.
- LLCs. In many federal jurisdictions, registering a fictitious business name allows LLCs to expand and operate outside of the LLC’s legal name regardless of the line of business. New Mexico does not require LLCs to register a fictitious name.
- Corporations. Regularly, corporations own and operate different types of businesses in various industries. New Mexico does not require or permit corporations to obtain a DBA name.
- Franchises. Most franchises in other states utilize DBAs. For example, if you buy a Circle K franchise. Circle K is an LLC, and a new franchise would be listed as “5456 Business LLC”. To change the franchise from its numerical listing to just Circle K, you must file a DBA in the majority of states.
A DBA allows small business owners and startups the creative freedom to name their businesses. DBA also gives small businesses the benefit of avoiding the expensive and over-complicated process of forming a separate LLC just to change the business’ name.
Why do you need a DBA?
- DBAs eliminate the hassle of forming separate LLCs for small businesses. A DBA is just a business name. When a company files a DBA, they are eliminating the complex and expensive process of forming a separate LLC to simply change a company name.
- DBAs benefit your LLCs or incorporation. LLCs must file separate DBAs for each business they own if they don’t want it to default to the LLC’s company name. For instance, Adam’s Lumber LLC wants to open a building supply store and name it Your Perfect Build. The LLC must file a DBA to change the name in most states. However, they remain owned by Adam’s Lumber LLC.
- A DBA helps to protect the privacy of sole proprietorships and general partnerships. A DBA gives small business owners the freedom to use a fictitious business name on public-facing material rather than their personal legal name.
- A DBA makes business banking more accessible. Most banks require all businesses to file a DBA before opening a separate business bank account. New Mexico does not permit or require the registration of a DBA. However, they do have a process to reserve a business name for up to 120 days so that you can open a business banking account that is separate from your personal banking account to protect your personal assets and credit scores. A DBA does not offer legal protection or personal liability protection.
- A DBA simplifies branding. Your brand name is what catches the attention of your prospective audience. The company name listed on your signate alerts people about what you are offering. For example, had VIctor Jackson not filed a DBA for a new name, no one would know he opened a paper and printing shop.
New Mexico business name reservation
New Mexico does not require or permit you to register a DBA on a state level. However, for business purposes such as business banking, the state does allow you to reserve a business name for up to 120 days.
You will use the New Mexico Secretary of State Corporations and Business Services website.
How to protect your business name in New Mexico
The business name reservation process in New Mexico is not altogether viable because it only reserves the fictitious business name for 120 days.
Trademarking is a step you can take to protect your business name.
Another solution is to form an LLC or corporation to use a different name. However, you should consider consulting with an attorney or a registered agent before tackling the incorporating process to protect your business name.
DBA vs LLC
A DBA and an LLC are different things. The most significant difference between the two is liability protection. A DBA does not distinguish between the business owner and the business. It means that the owner is liable for all expenses that the company takes on.
A limited liability company (LLC) provides a business owner with limited liability protection. It means that your personal assets stay protected even if your business goes into debt.
Professional DBA filing services
- ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness is an affordable solution for entrepreneurs, such as affordable LLC formations, and incorporations. ZenBusiness does offer a stand-alone registered agent service for $99 a year.
- Swyft Filings: Swyft Filings is a quality DBA service. They assign a registered agent to every client, making them a customer favorite. Swyft Filings offers a DBA obtainment package that costs $99 plus state fees.
- LegalZoom: LegalZoom does it all. The purpose of its design is to be a “one-stop-shop” for small businesses and their legal needs.
- MyCompanyWorks: MyCompanyWorks doesn’t have the experience that other professional DBA obtainment services have. However, they’ve served thousands of businesses successfully. MyCompanyWorks offers one DBA filing package for $99 plus state fees. You can add a couple of extras for additional fees.
- CorpNet: Corpnet’s biggest draw is that they have the best customers. It is hard to find a bad review about their DBA obtainment services.
- MyCorporation: MyCorporation has served over a million businesses over the last 20+ years. Their customer reviews reflect their longevity and success. The cost of MyCorportation DBA services is $99 plus State Fees. The expedited rush service is an additional $100.
- BizFilings: BizFilings offers entrepreneurs and small businesses services, such as LLC filing and incorporation services. The starting price of $99 plus state fees for BizFilings DBA obtainment services is pretty standard. However, it doesn’t include a namecheck in states that require them. Alabama does.
The filing fee for an LLC in New Mexico is $50. New Mexico allows you to act as your own registered agent. However, services are available to ensure your compliance and guide you through a complicated process.
If filed by mail, New Mexico takes 4-5 weeks to process an LLC.
New Mexico processes LLC filings done online in 1-3 business days.
A DBA and a trademark are two different things.
A DBA allows business owners to use a fictitious business name that is not its full legal name in most states.
A trademark is a type of intellectual property registration that protects your business’s brand name.
New Mexico does not require or permit DBA registration, so you may want to consider trademarking your brand name to limit its use for others.