DBA in Nebraska
Nebraska is one of the best places to do business in the United States. It has been hailed as one of the top ten business-friendly states for years now, and with good reason: it has low corporate taxes and offers tax incentive programs. Aside from these, Nebraska has a small population, which means there’s a lot of room for competition in business.
If you’re planning on starting a business in The Cornhusker State, however, you’re going to need more than just a good location and an enticing set of products and services. To stand out, you need a compelling business name—one that immediately attracts people’s attention and leaves a lasting impression.
What Is a DBA?
The acronym DBA stands for “doing business as.” It’s like a nickname or an alternative name for your business that you can use instead of its official registered name. By registering a DBA with the Nebraska Secretary of State, you can operate your business under this more suitable and attractive name, which better represents the products or services you offer.
DBAs are called differently depending on the state. Some states refer to them as “assumed names,” “assumed business names,” “fictitious names,” or “fictitious business names.” The state of Nebraska simply refers to them as “trade names.” Doing business As is not a separate entity, unlike LLCs. Nebraska doesn’t require all businesses to get DBAs unless they plan to operate using another name.
A DBA is primarily used in branding, but it has several other benefits you can take advantage of.
What Are The Advantages Of A DBA In Nebraska?
A DBA gives you and your business a couple of benefits that can make attracting clients and managing things easier. Here’s a quick look:
Branding made easier
Business names are often constrained by the type of business structure. For example, sole proprietorships and general partnerships use the owners’ names for their business, while incorporated businesses must stick to the legal name mentioned in their articles of incorporation. DBAs allow you to break free from this mechanic and use any name you want. This makes DBAs a valuable tool for creating and establishing your preferred brand identity.
A Nebraska coffee chain called Scooter’s Coffee serves as a great example. Originally known as Scooter’s Java Express, the company decided to change its name to better align with its identity and mission. In the company’s own words: “The name fits well with our mission to keep customers happy by helping them ‘scoot in and scoot out’ quickly.”
Privacy made better
Trade names offer an extra level of privacy for businesses, allowing them to keep their owners’ personal information hidden. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships more obviously benefit from this because of how they are named by default. Without DBAs, these businesses will have to put their owners’ names on promotional materials like posters and flyers. But with a DBA, they can use that instead, keeping their owners’ names confidential and making their business look more professional and approachable.
Helps you diversify
If you want to introduce new products or expand your business’s offerings, DBAs can be a great solution. Instead of creating a new business entity for that purpose, you can simply file a DBA for that new venture and list it under your existing business. This way, you won’t have to go through the tedious and costly process of starting a new company and maintaining it.
Helps in franchising
If you plan to purchase a franchise from a well-known brand and take it to Nebraska, you’ll need a DBA to use the company’s original name. For instance, if you buy a franchise from Omaha-based pizza chain Godfather’s Pizza and take it to Kearney, you will first need to register it using a name like “Godfather’s Pizza Franchise 468 Kearney.” After that, you can file a DBA to use “Godfather’s Pizza.”
Makes banking easier
The state of Nebraska does not require businesses to get DBAs. Most banks, however, do. When you open a bank account for your business, you will need to use your DBA name. If you have multiple ventures, each with its own DBA, you can even open separate bank accounts for each of them. This allows you to separate your personal finances from your business’s. It also allows you to segregate the profits your ventures have.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A DBA In Nebraska?
DBAs do not have downsides that could put your company at a huge disadvantage, but they do have limitations. Here’s a quick look at them:
No asset protection
DBAs do not provide your business with any personal asset protection. What this means is that if ever your business gets sued for a valid reason, such as negligence or breach of contract, the court can force you to pay penalties and compensation using your personal assets.
If you run a sole proprietorship or general partnership, getting insured is the only way to prevent this from happening. If you run a Nebraska LLC or corporation, on the other hand, there’s nothing to worry about in this area.
Won’t shield your business
Using a trade name for your business does not provide any additional protection for your business itself. DBAs are just aliases or alternative names businesses can use to operate. They are not separate entities. So, while a DBA can help you operate under a different name, it won’t shield your business from potential legal liabilities.
Lastly, you won’t be able to use just about any name as your DBA. While your DBA has to be unique and creative, it also has to meet Nebraska’s naming requirements, which prohibit the following:
- Words or terms used for financial institutions such as “bank,” “banc,” “banking,” “trust,” “trust company,” and so on.
- Words or terms implying or indicating that your business is engaged in illegal or unlawful practice
- Words or suffixes referring to business structures, such as “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Corp.,” “Inc.,” “LLC,” “Limited Liability Company,” “LLP,” and so on. You can only use these if these are your business’s actual structure.
- The word “geologist.”
How To Get A DBA In Nebraska
The process to get a DBA in Nebraska is simple and straightforward. Although, we will note that you will be required to do a bit more compared to other states. Here’s a brief rundown.
Search for your DBA name’s availability
First, verify with the Nebraska Secretary of State if the DBA name you want is available. To do this, come up with a few potential names for your business. Then, visit the Secretary of State’s Business Name Search website to check if any of your preferred names are already in use.
File your DBA with the Nebraska Secretary of State
After verifying your DBA name’s availability, file it with the Nebraska Secretary of State either online or by mail. If you plan to do it by mail, complete the Application for Registration of Trade Name first, then send it to the Business Services Division (Corporations) of the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office.
You will then be required to provide the following information when you apply for your DBA:
- Your preferred trade name
- Your business’s actual structure (if it’s a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, and so on)
- The nature of your business
- The date when you first used the trade name for your business.
Don’t forget to pay the filing fees for your DBA to be registered. Nebraska DBAs cost $100 to register.
Publish a notice of your Registration
Lastly, the state will require you to publish a legal notice of your DBA registration in a local newspaper within 45 days of filing it. The newspaper must circulate in the city where you will do business.
Take a duplicate copy of your DBA application to the newspaper so they will publish the notice with all the accurate and complete information. If the published notice contains any mistake or missing details, you will have to republish the notice, which means extra fees.
How Much Does A DBA Cost In Nebraska?
As stated, Nebraska DBAs cost $100 each, regardless of the business structure that uses it. Once registered, it will expire after ten years. To renew a DBA, you must contact the Nebraska Secretary of State for renewal forms. Renewals also cost $100 each.
Frequently Asked Questions About A DBA
Here are the most commonly asked questions about forming a DBA:
The Nebraska Secretary of State completes the processing of DBAs in four (4) business days.
Yes. Nebraska allows you to have as many DBAs as you need as long as you can pay the filing and eventual renewal fees.
Yes. Complete the Application to Amend Trade Name Registration form and submit it by mail, along with a $10 fee. Changes are limited to the owner’s name, contact details, and state of incorporation.
Yes. Call the Nebraska Secretary of State to request for cancellation of your DBA.