Doing business as, or DBA, is an important concept that can be advantageous for entrepreneurs in Vermont. Whether you’re starting a new business or expanding an existing one, understanding the basics of registering a DBA in this state can help ensure your success.
In this article, we’ll discuss what it means to do business as a DBA in Vermont and how to go about getting registered.
What Is a DBA?
A DBA is a legal designation that’s also known as a “fictitious name.” It’s the name a business owner chooses to use for their company, even if it differs from their legal personal name.
For instance, an individual might own multiple businesses that they want to operate with different names, such as “Bob’s Bakery” and “Bob’s Marketing Services.” In this case, the business owner would register two DBAs: one for each company.
What are the Advantages of a DBA in Vermont?
There are numerous advantages in getting a Vermont DBA:
Establish brand identity
Creating a DBA in Vermont is an effective way for businesses to create and maintain their brand identity. It allows companies to choose a distinct name that matches their business’s mission, goals, and values — making it easier for customers to identify the company and its services or products.
A brand identity is a representation of a company’s values and mission. It tells customers what your business is about in an instant without them having to read through detailed information or take the time to research who you are.
As such, it’s important to create a brand identity that is distinct and recognizable. A DBA in Vermont can help you do this, as it allows you to choose a unique name for your business that accurately reflects what your company stands for.
Afterward, you can then use that name for all your business’s marketing and promotional materials, such as logos, email signatures, website banners, etc. This way, customers will be more likely to remember your company and its services or products.
Simplify the registration process
It’s easier to register for a Vermont DBA than other types of business entities. That’s because it’s a simpler process, and there are fewer requirements than with other business types.
For example, you don’t need to be an attorney or have a board of directors to register for a DBA in Vermont. All you need are the following:
- A completed application form
- An approved dba name
- Payment of fees
This makes registering for a DBA in Vermont less time-consuming and more cost-effective than other business entities.
Lower filing fees
Starting a business entails significant capital. You have to consider the costs of rent, office equipment, and other business expenses.
Fortunately, the cost of filing a Vermont DBA is minimal. This way, you can save money and use it for other important aspects of your business.
Decreased administrative burden
Another advantage is the decreased administrative burden that comes with registering a DBA in Vermont. Other legal designations, such as LLCs and corporations, require various forms to be filed with the Secretary of State. This involves a lengthy process that requires additional paperwork and fees.
With a Vermont DBA, you just need to file a simple form and pay a small filing fee. This can be done quickly and easily, giving you more time to focus on the business itself.
Moreover, over the course of doing business, you will be required to submit additional paperwork. For example, Vermont LLCs must file annual reports, and corporations need to provide evidence of a corporate meeting.
With a DBA, however, you just have to renew every five years, which is far less time-consuming.
Legally operating under a registered DBA in Vermont can help to boost the credibility of your business. A DBA will create an official identity for your business, which will offer potential customers more assurance of your legitimacy.
Credibility is crucial for attracting new investors, customers, and suppliers. It also gives your business the ability to open bank accounts in its own name and receive payments from customers without using personal funds.
What are the Disadvantages of a DBA in Vermont?
On the other hand, as with any business decision, it’s crucial to understand the drawbacks of a Vermont DBA to ensure that you make an informed choice for your organization:
A DBA doesn’t offer the same level of protection as a corporation or limited liability company. As a business owner, you remain personally liable for any debt your DBA incurs and can be sued in your own name if anything goes wrong.
This means that if your business is sued or fails to pay its debts, your personal assets are at risk. It also means that you could be held personally liable for any negligence or wrongdoing committed by your employees.
A DBA in Vermont also doesn’t provide any protection in case someone else is using a name that’s too similar to yours. As such, it can cause customer confusion and lead to lost business.
In addition, you may have difficulty protecting your trademark rights in other states if someone has registered a DBA with the same or similar name as yours in another state.
The state of Vermont is also strict when it comes to what names an entity can use when filing for a DBA. The name must not infringe on the rights of another legal entity, and it must be distinctive and not too similar to other business filings in the state.
Vermont DBA names can’t contain:
- Entity suffixes (LLC, Incorporated, Inc.) unless it’s your business structure
- Names of banks, insurance companies, etc., unless they are registered to do business in Vermont
- Words that could imply the business is affiliated with the government
- Phrases that defame other businesses or individuals
Business area limitations
The most significant disadvantage of registering a Doing Business As (DBA) in Vermont is that it limits the business activity to a single geographic area. This means that if you are based in Burlington and decide to register as a DBA under the name “Smith’s Paintings,” then you will only be allowed to do business within the city limits of Burlington.
How to Get a DBA in Vermont?
Here’s what you should know about getting a DBA in Vermont:
Confirm name availability
Before you file your DBA, you’ll need to make sure the name is available. You can search the Vermont Secretary of State for existing business names here.
File your DBA application
Once you’ve found an available name that works for your business, download and complete the certificate of assumed name application from the Vermont SOS website.
Afterward, you just need to pay the filing fee. You may also need to submit additional paperwork, such as a business registration form.
Publish your DBA
Under Vermont law, you’ll be required to publish your assumed name in two weekly newspapers for six weeks in a row. The cost of publication will vary depending on the newspaper you choose and the size of the announcement.
You may also have to include an affidavit from one of the newspapers proving that it was published properly.
How Much Does a DBA Cost in Vermont?
The filing fee is $50 per entity type (corporation, limited liability company, or partnership). Additionally, as mentioned, you’ll have to publish your DBA in a newspaper of general circulation in Vermont for four consecutive weeks.
The cost of publishing varies depending on the newspaper you choose, so be sure to do your research and get price quotes from multiple sources.
Frequently Asked Questions About A DBA
Here are the most commonly asked questions about forming a DBA:
An assumed business name is a legal alias that allows businesses to operate under a name different from their legal name. By registering a DBA, entrepreneurs can create a unique brand identity while operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership, without the need to establish a formal legal entity like a corporation or LLC.
Yes, Vermont is considered a business-friendly state with a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The state offers various incentives and resources to promote economic growth and business development.
In fact, in CNBC’s Top States for Business 2022, Vermont ranked higher than New Hampshire and New York. As such, it’s relatively safe to say that Vermont encourages entrepreneurs to start their own businesses in the state.
Yes, as an entrepreneur, you have the creative freedom to make your own business name. Selecting a unique and meaningful name is crucial for establishing a distinctive brand identity. However, before finalizing your business name, it’s essential to conduct thorough research to ensure that the name is not already in use by another registered business entity in Vermont.
Yes, you can start a business using your own name as long as it doesn’t conflict with any existing business names or trademarks. Operating under your legal name is considered a sole proprietorship, which is one of the simplest and most common business structures.