How to Get a DBA in Georgia | Register a Georgia Trade Name
If you’re starting a business in Georgia and plan to operate under a name that’s different from your legal business name, you’ll need to file for a Georgia DBA (“doing business as”) name. In Georgia DBAs are formally referred to as a “Trade Name”. In this guide, we’ll go over what a Georgia Trade Name is, who’s required to get one, and the step-by-step process to file for your Trade Name.
Important Note: It’s a common misconception that a DBA is a type of business structure. However, this is not accurate – A DBA (Trade Name) is simply a registration to use a name different from your legal business name. Since a Trade Name is not a separate legal entity, it does not provide limited liability protection for business owners or taxation flexibility, as an LLC does. If you want to know more about the differences between the two, visit our DBA vs LLC guide to learn more.
- What is a Georgia DBA?
- How to File a DBA (Trade Name) in Georgia:
- Georgia Trade Name FAQs:
DBA is an acronym for “Doing Business As” and refers to a filing that allows a business to operate under a different name from its legal name. Georgia DBAs are officially referred to as “Trade Names” by the office of the Clerk of Superior Court, the government body that manages the filing process in Georgia. Trade Names are used by all types of businesses in Georgia but are most commonly used by sole proprietorships and partnerships.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships are informal business structures that don’t require legal formation paperwork to get started. As a result, their legal names are either their personal name (for sole proprietors) or must include the partners’ last names (for partnerships). As a result, most sole proprietors and partnerships opt to file a Georgia Trade Name so that they can use a more credible and brandable business name.
Any business that will operate under any name that is different from their legal name must file for a Georgia DBA (Trade Name).
The first step is to develop a business name that is unique, memorable, and easy to find in a web search. For some helpful hints and guidance on making sure your DBA name is as good as it can be, check out our useful guide, How to Come Up with a Business Name.
Once you have determined what you’d like to use as your business name, follow these steps to complete your Georgia Trade Name filing.
To get a Georgia DBA, you want to start with a business name availability search. While it’s not required, you will want to ensure that no other business uses the Trade Name that you wish to use and that your business name is unique.
Why Having a Unique Trade Name is Important
Your business name is the foundation of your strategic marketing strategy. Choosing a name similar to other businesses can get you lost in the white noise of competition. One massive benefit of a Georgia Trade Name is that it provides you the one chance to break away from the pack.
Without the unique Trade Name, you could be handicapping the best marketing and sales efforts to get your name out there. Worse yet, you could be sending business to others using a similar name.
To recap, we suggest that you do an extensive search to ensure the following:
- The Trade Name is not currently in use nor too similar to other businesses
- The business name has never been used previously
Note: If the business name is available and has been used before, it is probably not all that unique. Also, the fact that the name is no longer in use could imply a lack of success on the part of the previous owners.
Searches to Complete
- Search the Georgia Online Database:
Verify that your desired Georgia Trade Name is available to register and is not currently used by an existing business. You can complete this by using the Georgia Secretary of State Business Search.
- Check the US Patent and Trademark (USPTO) System:
Once you have verified that your name is available for registration, you’ll also want to ensure that the name is not trademarked. Since the trademark process is at the federal level, it supersedes any level registrations. You can search USPTO Trademark database here.
- Website Domain Search:
You will also want to complete a domain name search to check if the .com version of your business name is available. If you don’t plan to create a business website, you should still consider registering the domain name to prevent others from using it. Since you can register a new .com domain for less than $10 with namecheap, it can serve as a very cheap form of insurance against someone using the domain.
Once you have completed all the required name availability searches and confirmed that your name can be used, it’s time to complete your Trade Name registration. The office of the Clerk of Superior Court issues Trade Names (DBAs) in Georgia.
Information to complete a Georgia DBA (Trade Name) Filing
To complete your Trade Name, you’ll need the following information:
- Your desired Trade Name
- Name of the business owner, which can be a person or a legal entity
- Date when you started or formed your business
- Description of the nature of your business, including services and value
- A signature of a notary to authenticate the registration
How to Submit your Georgia DBA (Trade Name) Application
To complete your filing, download the Trade Name form from your county’s office of the Clerk of Superior Court website. For contact information for your local Superior Court Clerk use the “Find my Local Superior Court” tool. Your application can be filed by mail or in person. When submitting your application you will also need to pay a filing fee. The filing fee varies by county, with the average being about $165.
Once your Georgia Trade Name has been filed and approved, you must also publish a notice of your trade name with a newspaper that is approved for legal advertisements in your county within 30 days. The notice is a copy of the trade name filing and must run once a week for 2 consecutive weeks. Generally, if you contact the newspaper they will provide advice and a template for your notice to run.
If you would like more information on the business registration process for all four main business types in Georgia visit our guide, How to Register a Business Name in Georgia.
To get a Georgia Trade Name, you need to pay a filing fee of $25-$214 (fee varies by county), with the average being around $165.
After submitting your Trade Name application and filing fee, it will take four weeks to receive your approved application.
Once your Georgia Trade Name filing has been approved, it does not need to be renewed – Georgia Trade Names do not expire.
You can file for as many Trade Name names as you need – there is no limit to the number of Trade Names you can be issued.