Choosing a limited liability company’s name is one of the most important tasks an owner needs to perform when starting a business. The company name is not just a formality but the foundation of your future brand. It determines the first impression the company will make on potential clients and partners. A well-chosen name will distinguish LLC from its competitors, attracting attention and giving it an advantage at the start-up stage.
If you want to change the name or register an additional name so your LLC can do business, getting a DBA is a good solution. Compared to the alternatives, filing a “doing business as” name application has a low cost and quick turnaround time.
However, the appropriateness of filing a Colorado trade name depends largely on what goal you want to achieve. Although a DBA is often used for branding purposes, this is not the only reason. LLC company name is usually limited in its flexibility, and having an additional DBA opens up new horizons and opportunities for companies.
In this article, we’ll look at the process of registering a DBA for a Colorado LLC, as well as the main advantages and disadvantages of using a fictitious name.
What Is a DBA?
A DBA is an add-on feature of sorts that allows you to run your business under a name other than the one listed in the Articles of Organization. However, registering a DBA does not create a new legal entity, but merely expands the capabilities of an existing business.
Each company can have as many fictitious names as it wants, as long as its registration procedure is followed. But, unlike an LLC’s official business name, a DBA does not qualify as an exclusive business name and receives no legal protection in the state of Colorado. This means that any other company can legally use your fictitious name for itself. It is also considered available for official registration, as the primary name for an LLC or Corporation. Therefore, if you want to do business under a unique name, it’s best to consider forming a separate LLC.
According to the laws of the state of Colorado, the validity of alternate business names depends on the reputation of the company. As long as the LLC is in good standing with the state, it can use the DBA without restrictions. However, if the company is not in good standing, the alternative name expires after 1 year. To prevent this, it is sufficient to restore the reputation within the specified period.
Who needs to register a DBA?
Most often, a DBA is used for sole proprietorships and partnerships, allowing them to operate under a fictitious name rather than the owner’s name. It tends to be more memorable for customers and better suited to the chosen field of business.
However, for corporations and LLCs getting an alternative name also has its advantages. Among them are the following:
- The ability to operate under a name other than the official name used without registering a separate LLC or making changes to the Articles of Organization. For example, this is convenient if when you expand into Colorado, it turns out that your name is already occupied. In this case, registering a Trade Name in Colorado is the quickest and cheapest way to start a business without changing the company name.
- Highlighting a product line for marketing or accounting purposes.
- Adapting a company name that refers to a specific city or state to make it more relevant for expansion into another locality.
To summarize, the range of entities to register for a DBA is quite wide. However, before deciding to use a fictitious name, you should weigh the pros and cons and consider the consequences of choosing this option.
How to Register a Colorado Trade Name?
If you’re confident that getting an alternative name is the best option for your company, it’s time to get down to business. The process of obtaining a DBA for an LLC in Colorado is simple. Below, we’ve prepared a list of steps that you can follow to get a DBA quickly and easily:
- The first thing to do is to searching for your desired trade name to make sure it is available. Matching your desired option with the trade names of other companies is acceptable. However, if there is already an LLC or corporation registered in the state using that name as the official name, your application will be rejected;
- The next step is to fill out the Statement of Trade Name of a Reporting Entity document, which is publicly available on the Secretary of State’s website. You can only submit the application online. This will require company information such as:
- LLC Name;
- LLC’s business purpose;
- chosen DBA designation;
- LLC’s Colorado Secretary of State ID number;
- name and Email address of the applicant;
- a section describing the business that you want to use the DBA name for.
- Before an online filing, check the completed form and pay a $25 fee with a credit or debit card.
The Secretary of State’s office will usually process incoming filings immediately.
If necessary, you may also decline the use of an alternate name by filling out the appropriate form and paying a $10 fee.
Should You Hire a DBA Service?
Hiring a business services company is a convenient and quick way to register your DBA if for some reason you don’t want to do it personally. Perhaps you prefer to focus on planning and managing your business. Or maybe you don’t want to spend time searching for and preparing the necessary government forms. Either way, a professional online company will take care of all the formalities.
If this option sounds interesting to you, consider hiring one of the services we will briefly review below. These are the fastest business services companies with excellent reputations and the same low price point of $99 for a DBA registration service.
- IncFile: This company is one of the best business service providers available, deservedly at the top of the industry. They receive excellent and numerous customer feedback, and they have extensive experience. By trusting IncFile’s DBA registration, you are guaranteed to receive high-quality service and excellent customer care;
- LegalZoom: unlike most competitors, they offer 2 packages for DBA services, supplementing the $119 Premium set with features such as:
- 30 days of a trial business consulting plan that includes legal advice;
- 3 months access to QuickBooks Online accounting service.
In addition, LegalZoom offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This means that not only will they file a DBA application on your behalf but they will also refund the money you spent on hiring them if you are dissatisfied with the quality of service.
The laws governing the doing business as (DBA) name can vary greatly from state to state. This applies to the length of validity, availability of exclusive rights, price, and other specifics. Therefore, it is important to do research or consult with a professional before making a final decision on whether to obtain a DBA.
Please note that Colorado is one of those states that do not provide any special guarantees for DBAs. Although you have the right to register multiple names for your business, only the official name listed in the Articles of Organization will get legal protection. In other words, registering DBAs in this state does not give exclusive rights, allowing other companies to use your fictitious name. So if uniqueness and brand recognition are important to you, forming an additional LLC is a better choice. Of course, it will require more time and money than forming a DBA, but you will get all the exclusive rights to your business name.
At the same time, there is no denying that when used wisely, a DBA can be a convenient and cheap way to expand a company’s capabilities. Due to the low cost and quick process of obtaining it, this option attracts many entrepreneurs.
It is up to you as the business owner to make the final decision on whether to register a separate LLC in Colorado or get a DBA. Each of these avenues has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is impossible to say definitely which one is better.
Frequently Asked Question
The DBA is not an independent business entity and offers no legal protection in case a lawsuit has been filed against your company.
Unlike some states, Colorado law does not require the publication of a DBA report.
Since the DBA is not a business entity, the requirement to have a registered agent does not apply to it. However, each LLC is responsible for designating and maintaining a functioning registered agent.
You can make changes or corrections to your DBA name by filling out the online form. The price of the service is $10.