DBA in Louisiana
Company names always reflect the identity of the business they are associated with. Food-related businesses, for example, will always have a name that refers to food preparation, packaging, or dining. The right business name will always attract customers looking for certain services.
Some business structures, however, can prevent SMBs from using the name they want. For example, owners of sole proprietorships are forced to use the name of their owners as business names. On the other hand, corporations and LLCs might have names that do not accurately reflect services and products—especially when they have plans to expand the line of products that they provide. One thing that can help such businesses have a name that meets their needs is something called a DBA.
If you plan to open your own business in Louisiana, here’s what you need to know about DBAs.
What Is a DBA?
A DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” is a fictitious name you can use for your existing business. It’s not another entity that you have to manage. Instead, it’s an alternative title you can use if you don’t want to use your business’ legal name. In Louisiana, DBAs are commonly referred to as trade names.
For example, if you have a renovation business named “Freedom Builders LLC” but you want to use another name for a separate but related venture like supplying home furnishings, you can register a DBA such as “Freedom Builders Furnishings.” This new business will still be under Freedom Builders LLC.
Registering one for your business allows you to enjoy certain benefits. Sole proprietors, LLCs, and corporations will all benefit significantly from having a DBA.
What Are The Advantages Of A DBA In Louisiana?
Here’s a quick look at the benefits of having a registered trade name for your business in Louisiana.
It simplifies naming for SMBs
Sole proprietors who want to use another name for their business can file a DBA instead of opening a Louisiana LLC. Doing this removes the paperwork required to form an LLC and also won’t cost them as much.
It provides added privacy for sole proprietors
A DBA lets you use an alias. With them, sole proprietors won’t have to worry about their real name being placed on marketing ads for their business. A DBA is perfect for SMB owners who want more privacy while doing business.
It makes banking easier for your business
Louisiana doesn’t require sole proprietors to have DBAs, but most banks do. This is so the sole proprietor and their business will have separate bank accounts. Separating personal and business bank accounts allows sole proprietors to protect their personal assets and credit scores.
It helps you establish your brand
A trade name helps you establish your brand easier than when you use your own name (in the case of sole proprietorships) or a company name (as in the case of LLCs and corporations). For example, “John’s Food Catering” is better than “John Raymond” if your business is a sole proprietorship.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A DBA In Louisiana?
While DBAs have many advantages, they have some limitations that could be considered disadvantages for those who do not know them. For instance, DBAs are not separate entities. Business owners who want to expand and set up other business types cannot use a DBA for this purpose. They have to set up another company.
Another disadvantage would be that DBAs do not provide personal asset protection in the event of a lawsuit. A DBA can be used to open a separate bank account for the business, but it cannot prevent courts from mandating SMB owners to pay fines due to debts and losses using their personal property. Only corporations and LLCs have protection from that.
Lastly, DBA names have to be unique to get approval from the state of Louisiana. It must not be similar to names other businesses use. Using a name similar to another business could result in confusion and even lawsuits.
How To Get A DBA In Louisiana
Now, let’s discuss how you can get a DBA in Louisiana. The state doesn’t require new businesses to get DBAs, but those who intend to use another name must file one before opening a shop. Failure to do so means these businesses will operate using their company names.
Check for availability
First, search for your preferred trade name’s availability on the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website. You can also call the office if you prefer. If the trade name is available, you can reserve it for up to 120 days by filing an Application for Reservation of Trade Name, Trademark, or Service Mark.
File your trade name with the Secretary of State
Next, file your trade name with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office. You can download a form from their website, fill it up, then return it to the office along with paying the filing fee. The form will include details about:
- The type of business your trade name is used for
- The date when you first used the trade name
- The date when you first used the trade name in Louisiana
Keep in mind that the DBA name you choose must be unique and meet state requirements (we will talk about naming restrictions in the FAQs section). Once registered, your new DBA will last for ten years from the date of filing. You will need to repeat the filing process to renew it once it expires.
How Much Is A DBA In Louisiana?
The filing fee for reserving a trade name in Louisiana costs $25. Filing a DBA in your state costs $75 for each DBA. The Secretary of State’s office can expedite your filing within 24 hours, but this will cost you an additional $300. You can file as many DBAs as you want as long as you can pay for filing and renewal.
Having a DBA allows you to use the alias you prefer instead of your actual business name. The filing process is easy, affordable, and brings you many benefits, especially if you are a sole proprietor in Louisiana. It doesn’t require a lot of paperwork and won’t require you to pay additional taxes per year. File your own DBA in Louisiana today.
Frequently Asked Questions About A DBA
Here are some frequently asked questions about Louisiana DBAs and the answers to them.
Trade names, as DBAs are called in Louisiana, are different from one another. The former is an intellectual property registration used to protect your business’s brand both on a national and state level. The latter is an alias used as a legal alternative to your business name. The former provides protection to your IP. The latter doesn’t provide any legal protection for personal assets.
Yes, as long as it is unique and meets the state requirements. Louisiana trade names must not contain any of the following:
- Words implying that your business is used for unlawful purposes. These include deceptive, scandalous, or immoral terms.
- Words wrongly suggesting that your company is a charity, nonprofit, or government organization
- Business entity suffixes such as LLC, Corp, LLP, and the like
- The terms “Casualty,” “Redevelopment Corporation,” and “Electrical cooperative”
- Unless you have permission from the Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board, you must not include words like engineer, surveyor, or any similar term.
The state of Louisiana does not require sole proprietors to file a DBA. LLCs in Louisiana, on the other hand, must file a DBA with the state. Also, most banks in the state require businesses to have DBAs. If you want your business to have a separate bank account, you must file a DBA.
Yes. You can file as many DBAs as long as you can pay the necessary filing fees and the renewal fees every time they expire. The DBAs you file must each be unique and meet the state requirements. This means you can use as many business trade names as you need as long as they’re approved by your state.
The Louisiana Secretary of State’s office typically completes DBA processing in 2-3 business days. The state also offers a 24-hour expedited processing service for an additional fee of $300. If you’re not in a hurry, you can skip paying the extra fee.
Yes, you can make changes to your DBA in Louisiana. You can also withdraw or cancel it at any time if you need to. Contact the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Commercial Division for help in changing or withdrawing your DBA.