How To Set Up A DBA In Illinois

If you wish to establish a secondary name for your Illinois-based business, you need to file a DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” with your local county or the State of Illinois. Creating a secondary name may be important if your company is set up under a different name than what you want customers to call the business. Creating a catchy trade name that accurately describes your services can be vital to your company’s success. The information provided here is for general information only and should not be used as legal advice.

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Basic Steps To Set Up A DBA Registration in Illinois

  1. Create your secondary name. Do research to determine if the name is already being used by any other businesses in Illinois.
  2. Register the name with the proper government entity. For this, you will fill out a Certificate of Assumed name form, which asks for your business’ secondary name, your name and address, your signature, and the date. You will be charged a fee, the amount of which varies based on the agency with which you are filing. If your company is a sole or general proprietorship or professional services corporation, register in the county where your business operates. If your business is a corporation or limited liability company, register the name with the Illinois Secretary of State. Note that some counties require notarization of your filing paperwork. Many local bank branches provide this service.
  3. Publish a notice if required. Some counties require you to place a classified ad in a local newspaper announcing your filing. Once this has been completed, the newspaper will provide you with documentation as proof for the county. In some cases, the newspaper will provide the paperwork directly to the county.

What is a DBA?

A company is “doing business as” (DBA for short) when it operates under a different name from its registered legal name. State and county laws govern the rules regarding such secondary names. Registering a DBA lets both the government and consumers know who is running a business. Often a company will create a DBA name that is more marketable to customers than its legal name. An example would be if “Midwest Sausage Co.” wished to operate under the name of “Chicago’s Best Red Hots.”

What is the difference between a DBA and an LLC?

An LLC (short for “Limited Liability Company”) is set up to protect business owners from losing their own personal assets (like home, savings, and vehicles) if the business were to go into debt. A DBA, on the other hand, offers no such legal protection, as it is set up for an entirely different purpose.

Do I need a lawyer to register a DBA in Illinois?

You do not need a lawyer to register your DBA with your county or the State of Illinois. If you tap into valuable resources like those provided on this page, you should be able to get started and perhaps complete the process of filing your DBA in Illinois. However, there may be special circumstances under which you want to work with a lawyer with business experience. Working with such a knowledgeable advisor provides both peace of mind and more time to focus on what you do best – running your business.

In Depth

Creating a catchy name that accurately describes your business may be of vital importance to your company's success. Likewise, having a forgettable company name or one that gives the wrong impression can be fatal. Creating a second name for your Illinois-based business may sound like a daunting process, but if you know what government office to visit and what documents are required, the process can be much simpler than it seems. Here we'll go through the steps.

Creating your new name involves more than just hanging up a sign with the new name or changing the name on your website. You need to file for what is called D.B.A. registration. This acronym stands for "doing business as".

In Illinois, all businesses that wish to go by secondary names, also known as trade names, need to register them. The trade name does not replace the original name of the business. Both are legal names for the company. An example of a company whose secondary name eclipsed its original name is the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company. When its founders decided they wanted a name that sounded more innovative, they needed to look no further than the company's nickname of 3M.

In Illinois, all businesses that wish to go by secondary names, also known as trade names, need to register them.

Ezvid Wiki introduces five steps to setting up a D.B.A. in Illinois. The most recent updates to these steps are explained in our comprehensive guide, found right beneath this video. Let's get started with the steps that make up the process.

Step #1: Before you register your new business name, make sure the name isn't already taken by another company. To do this, visit the website of the Illinois Secretary of State at cyberdriveillinois.com. Conducting a search on the site will bring up a list of any companies already in business under the name.

We aren't lawyers, and this isn't legal advice, but litigation can ensue when businesses have similar names. For instance, when the Kardashian family sought to create a makeup line called Khroma, which means "color" in Greek, several businesses across the country fought to keep the Kardashians away from the name. These companies were already operating under similar names. The reality TV clan ultimately changed the name to Kardashian Beauty.

The reality TV clan ultimately changed the name to Kardashian Beauty.

Step #2: Once you have chosen your new business name, you must register the name with the proper government entity. This involves filling out a Certificate of Assumed Name form which asks for your business' trade name, your name and address, your signature, and the date.

The location where you need to file the form depends on which type of business you operate in Illinois. For a general proprietorship or professional services corporation, file the application in the county where your business is located.

Since lines can often be long in government offices, check your county's website to see if you can file online.

Since lines can often be long in government offices, check your county's website to see if you can file online.

On the other hand, if your business is a corporation or a limited liability company, you need to register the trade name with the Illinois Secretary of State at cyberdrive.com.

When you file the form with the government, you will also need to pay a registration fee. The amount varies based on where you are filing. For instance, Cook County charges a $50 fee. The Secretary of State filing fee varies from $30 to $150, depending on the year the form is filed. Access the application at cyberdrivelillinois.com/publications for specifics.

Note that some counties require the notarization of your filing paperwork. For this, a notary public will need to sign your form. Many banks offer free notarization services. If yours does so, just visit the local branch and sign the paperwork in the presence of the notary.

If yours does so, just visit the local branch and sign the paperwork in the presence of the notary.

Some people believe it is important to have any legal document notarized, whether it's required or not. Contract disputes happen all of the time and for a multitude of reasons. It's happened where one party on a business contract claims the signatures are invalid. Getting a business document notarized may protect you from such unfortunate situations.

Step #3: Publish your DBA registration, if required. Some counties require you to have a notice printed in a local newspaper announcing your filing. The publication needs to be within 15 days of your filing the D.B.A. paperwork. After the publication, the newspaper will provide a certification of publication and a copy of the ad. Bring these to the county clerk where you filed your paperwork.

In all, registering a D.B.A. can seem like a daunting process, but it really just requires a few simple steps. Be sure to check the website of your county or the Illinois Secretary of State for specifics on what is required, and don't hesitate to ask them questions if need be. For more business-related information, refer to our comprehensive guide found right beneath this video.

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