DBA or LLC or Both?

When filling out an Articles of Organization form, should I fill it out as Company XYZ, LLC doing business as Joe Smith Roofing or should I do the DBA separately?

Answer

A DBA and LLC formation are two separate things, and which you use (or if you use both), depends on the circumstances. Here are three scenarios and the right response for each:

1. You want to do business as a sole proprietor under the name “Joe Smith Roofing”.

In this situation, you’d simply form a DBA and not form an LLC. You have the disadvantages of personal liability, however, as a DBA is legally no different than doing business under your own personal name.

2. You want to form an LLC named Joe Smith Roofing, LLC.

In this case, you’d form an LLC, and fill out the Articles of Organization with the name as Happy Go Lucky, LLC.

3. You want to form an LLC named Joe Smith Enterprises, LLC, but do business as Joe Smith Roofing.

In this third situation, you’ll need to form an LLC called Joe Smith Enterprises, LLC. Then, in a separate form (with a separate fee to the state), you’ll need to file a DBA for Joe Smith Enterprises, LLC d/b/a Joe Smith Roofing. The second scenario is the most common way people name their LLCs, though there are situations like yours where you are seeking the third option.

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