DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” refers to the legal operating name of a business when it differs from the name of the owner, owners, or parent corporation. Commonly referred to as “operating-as” or “trading-as” names, DBA names are registered through the government to protect consumers from negligent, fraudulent, or deceptive business practices. It also provides the business’s owners with flexibility if they decide to expand their operations or change the company’s name in the future. Regulations and processes regarding DBA names vary depending on the province where a company operates. Brainstorming and choosing your new company name is always the first step. A sole proprietor or partnership in Ontario must search the existing database to be sure the name is available before registering the name and obtaining a Master Business License. In British Columbia, business owners seek approval for new company names by submitting online name requests, and then they register the approved name through the government’s one-stop business registry website. A sole proprietor or general partnership that conducts business under a name other than the legal name of the owners must register that name with the appropriate province. Some location may not require John Smith to register “John Smith’s Plumbing Service,” but most small business owners and independent contractors need a DBA. A limited liability partnership or corporation may also register DBA names. A registered DBA allows a business to:
- Operate multiple product lines or operations under different trade names.
- Distinguish itself from a corporate brand as a franchise.
- Change or update its name if needed.
More often than not, your small business needs to register a DBA name through your local province. DBA names build consumer trust and protect the public while providing you with the flexibility you need to grow your company.