Oregon is one of the best states for businesses in America. One standout advantage is that there is no sales tax, benefiting both businesses and customers. Additionally, Oregon offers low corporate income taxes for businesses that sell their goods and services outside the state. The state also takes pride in its well-educated and skilled workforce, providing businesses with access to a talented and capable pool of workers.
However, businesses looking to grow their clientele and earn a lot of profit need more than just a good location and excellent products and services. They need to have good names that will attract customers at first sight and stay in their minds for a long time as well.
Sadly, once a business is registered with the state, it becomes limited by the name it chose during registration. Thankfully, there’s a way for businesses to break free from this mechanic and use the name they want: DBAs. If you’re starting or already running a business in Oregon and want to use another name for your venture, the answer is a DBA.
What Is a DBA?
A DBA, short for “doing business as,” is an alternate name that businesses can use in addition to their registered name. Think of it as a nickname or alias that companies adopt for various purposes, including creating a distinct brand identity. Oregon also refers to DBAs as “assumed business names.”
DBAs are aliases that can be used to help a business establish its own brand, among other reasons. What they are not, however, are separate entities. DBAs are merely alternative names and do not replace a business’s registered name.
What Are The Advantages Of A DBA In Oregon?
Oregon DBAs provide you with several benefits to help your business grow. These advantages make your business more attractive and easier to manage.
Used for branding
DBAs are essential when it comes to establishing your chosen brand. They allow you to use a name that fits your business’s identity and offerings more accurately. By operating under a name that aligns with your identity, you can build your reputation more effectively and gain recognition from your target audience.
If you run a sole proprietorship, for example, your business is required to use your real name as its legal name by default. Applying for a DBA lets you choose an actual business and/or brand name that can create a good first impression among potential customers.
Adds more privacy
DBAs add a layer of privacy that can help you hide your personal information from the public-facing aspects of your business. This is most evident among sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Without a DBA, these businesses will have to put their owners’ names in their promotional materials like posters, flyers, and so on.
If your business is an Oregon LLC, corporation, or other incorporated type, DBAs can help you use a name that the public will find more attractive or approachable than your business’s legal name. Take, for example, Umpqua Holdings Corporation based in Portland, which operates under the more accessible DBA “Umpqua Bank.” Using a DBA allows them to present a name that is easier to understand and remember, making it more attractive to the public and potential customers.
Helps you diversify
If you’re looking to expand your offerings or try something new, DBAs can be a great solution. Instead of forming another business company, you can simply apply for a DBA and use it for your new venture. You can then list this new venture under your existing business, saving you time and resources that would otherwise be spent on forming a new company.
It helps you when you’re franchising
If you’re planning on purchasing a franchise from a well-known company, you will need a DBA for it. This is because franchises are registered using a name different from what they place on the signages due to copyright.
When you buy a franchise from Portland’s Little Big Burger and set it up in Salem, for example, it will be registered using a name like “Little Big Burger Franchise 39 Salem.” You need to apply for a DBA to use the name “Little Big Burger.”
Used in banking
Most banks require businesses to get DBAs to open business bank accounts. It helps you manage your money more effectively and prevents mixing personal expenses with business expenses.
Plus, if you have several ventures, having a DBA for each of them allows you to open separate bank accounts for each venture. This way, you can keep the finances of each venture completely separate, which is important for tracking profits and expenses accurately.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A DBA In Oregon?
DBAs do not have any downsides that could put your business at a disadvantage. They do have some limitations, however, that you should know about.
First, DBAs do not provide any protection for your personal assets if your business faces a lawsuit and ends up losing the case. In such situations, if someone sues your business for valid reasons like negligence or breaching contracts, the court has the authority to require you to sell your personal properties and assets to pay the penalties or debts. You’ll need insurance to protect yourself.
Next, you cannot use just about any name you can think of as your DBA. While your DBA name must be as unique as possible, it must abide by Oregon’s business naming requirements which prohibit the following:
- Words normally used for or related to financial institutions such as “bank,” “banc,” “loans,” “savings,” “trust,” and so on.
- Words or suffixes indicating a business’s structure, such as “corporation,” “incorporated,” “corp.,” “inc.,” “LLC,” “limited liability company,” and the like. You may only use these if they are your actual business structure.
- Special characters such as @,#,+,-, and so on.
How To Get A DBA In Oregon
The process to get an Oregon DBA is pretty straightforward. In fact, the steps are the same regardless of your business’s structure. Here’s what you need to do:
Prepare a few names for your business
First, prepare several DBA names for your business. This is necessary in case the name you prefer is not available anymore. Your DBA name should be as unique as possible. It’s best to prepare several options before proceeding.
Search for your DBA name
Next, verify the availability of your chosen DBA name. Visit the Oregon Secretary of State’s website and search for your chosen DBA name. If the one you want isn’t available anymore, try searching for the availability of the other names you prepared.
Take note that Oregon does not forbid you from using an existing DBA name. However, if you want your business to stand out from the competition, having a unique name is crucial.
File your DBA
After verifying the availability of your assumed name, you need to file it. You can do this online via the Oregon Secretary of State’s website or can complete the Assumed Business Name Registration form and file it by mail
The form will require you to provide the following information:
- The assumed business name you want to register.
- A brief description of your business’s activities.
- Your business’s address
- The name of your authorized business representative and their address.
- The names of the owners of the DBA and their contact information.
- The counties where you want to use your DBA.
Make sure to pay the filing fee of $50. Once registered, your Oregon DBA will remain valid for two years unless you cancel it. You can then renew your DBA online.
How Much Does A DBA Cost In Oregon?
Oregon DBAs are more expensive compared to some states. When you apply for a DBA, you’ll need to pay a fee of $50, which covers a two-year period. After the initial two years, if you want to renew your DBA, you’ll need to pay another $50 every two years when it expires.
Frequently Asked Questions About A DBA
Here are the most commonly asked questions about forming a DBA:
When you apply for a DBA in Oregon, it usually takes about 5 to 7 business days for the process to be completed. The processing time starts from the moment the Secretary of State receives your application. Applying online is generally faster than submitting forms by mail, as delays may occur with mailed submissions.
No—unless you plan to do business using another name. DBAs are also used to establish your brand, making them an essential tool whether your business is new or not. You won’t lose anything when you apply for a DBA.
No. DBAs do not protect your personal assets, such as a house or car registered in your name, from court losses. LLCs and corporations provide such protection for their owners. If you run a sole proprietorship or general partnership, insurance is key to protecting your assets.
Yes. Oregon allows businesses to have as many DBAs as they need. Just make sure to go through the application process and pay the required filing fees. Also, make sure to renew them on time to continue using them.
Yes. You can make changes or amendments to your Oregon DBA. Complete the Assumed Business Name Amendment form and file it with the Oregon Secretary of State by mail.
Yes. You can cancel your DBA in Oregon by completing the Assumed Business Name Cancellation form and sending it to the Secretary of State’s office by mail. The state charges a $50 fee for canceling DBAs.
No. DBAs are not separate entities and are, therefore, non-taxable. You will only have to pay the filing fee upon registration, the renewal fees every two years, and other fees for amendments and cancellations.
No. DBAs are fictitious names you can use in place of your business’s actual name. They are not separate entities and do not replace your business’s original name. They also cannot protect your belongings or properties from lawsuits.
On the other hand, trademarks are intellectual property registrations used to protect your business brand on both the local and national levels. They safeguard your brand from unauthorized copying or imitation by others. If someone tries to use your registered brand without permission, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit against them.