File a DBA in Ohio in 4 Simple Steps – 2024 Guide

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    Are you interested in gaining an understanding of the importance and process of DBA registrations in Ohio? Look no further.

    Referred to as “Doing Business As,” an Ohio DBA allows individuals or businesses to operate under a different name for various purposes, such as marketing, sales, and legal matters. In certain jurisdictions, this designation may be known as a fictitious name, assumed name, trade name, or similar terms.

    Unlike a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a DBA doesn’t establish a formal business entity and doesn’t provide comparable advantages. Many entrepreneurs in Ohio find registering an LLC more beneficial due to its tax advantages and legal protections.

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    What Is an Ohio DBA?

    Businesses seeking to operate under an alternate name apart from their legal entity name require a “Doing Business As” (DBA) designation. Typically, DBAs are utilized by businesses aiming to establish a distinct brand, introduce new product lines, or pivot their operations. 

    Franchise businesses also commonly utilize DBAs; for instance, if one owns a UPS Store, while the legal business name may be “Quick Ship Ohio, Inc.,” acquiring a DBA is necessary to incorporate the UPS branding.

    In Ohio, there are two classifications of DBAs: trade names and fictitious names. Both permit businesses to operate under a name different from their legal one, yet they vary in certain aspects.

    An Ohio trade name must be unique within the state, granting exclusive rights to its use within Ohio. On the other hand, an Ohio fictitious name doesn’t necessitate uniqueness but doesn’t provide exclusive usage rights within the state.

    Both trade and fictitious names involve a $39 fee, have a validity period of 5 years, and are processed through the same Name Registration form.

    DBAs Can Be Used To:

    • Establishing websites and social media profiles
    • Advertising initiatives
    • Facilitating the opening of a business bank account
    • Configuring a point-of-sale system
    • Managing vendor payments

    It’s essential to note that a DBA solely represents a name and not an independent business entity. Therefore, tax filings still require the use of your legal business name and the existing Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number (SSN) for most sole proprietors.

    Is Registering a DBA Required in Ohio?

    Indeed, Ohio doesn’t permit the use of a DBA without proper registration, unlike certain other states. According to Ohio law, if a business intends to operate under a name that’s different from its legal business name, it must register the DBA with the Secretary of State. 

    This requirement ensures compliance and transparency in conducting business operations within the state of Ohio.

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    Can I Sign a Business Contract With My DBA?

    By itself, a DBA doesn’t constitute a legal entity; it’s simply a name. When entering into and signing contracts, you must use the legal name of your business. It’s also important to inform the other party that your business operates under a DBA. 

    To illustrate, if you’re a sole proprietor using a DBA, you would sign the contract as “Annie Smith, DBA Annie’s Big Bagels.” Conversely, for formal entities such as LLCs and corporations, an authorized representative of the company would sign the contract using the legal name of the business, followed by the DBA.

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    Why Hire a Professional Service to File a DBA in Ohio?

    Filing for a DBA in Ohio involves several important steps that are crucial for a smooth and successful registration. It’s essential to ensure that these processes are carried out accurately, as any errors can lead to the rejection of your application or even more serious consequences. 

    The state authorities in Ohio have the power to impose fines or even shut down your business if you improperly use a name within legal or business contexts.

    To address any concerns and uncertainties related to the DBA process, professional services can be extremely helpful. These services have extensive knowledge of Ohio’s specific requirements and can assist you in selecting an appropriate name before starting the paperwork. 

    Additionally, they offer various services, such as LLC filing, which can be invaluable as your business grows.

    After conducting comprehensive research, we have identified the top professional services that cater specifically to your DBA needs in Ohio:

    How to Register a DBA in Ohio

    In order to register your DBA (trade name) in Ohio, it’s essential to verify the availability of the name beforehand. Allow us to guide you through the process of checking and registering for a DBA in Ohio.

    1. Check Your Trade Name Availability

    To begin, you’ll need to engage in some investigative work. Initiate by utilizing Ohio’s Business Name Search tool to confirm that your desired trade name hasn’t been registered by another business. 

    Additionally, ensure that your chosen DBA name complies with Ohio’s naming regulations outlined in Ohio Rev. Code § 1329.02. Essentially, your trade name must not:

    • Incorporate a corporate identifier (such as LLC, Inc., Corp., Limited, etc.) if the entity isn’t officially registered
    • Resemble previously registered trademarks, service marks, or other business names too closely

    2. Complete a Name Registration

    To finalize Ohio’s Name Registration application, you must provide the following details:

    • Specify whether you’re registering a trade name or a fictitious name
    • Indicate the date of initial use or planned usage for the trade name/fictitious name
    • Provide the trade name/fictitious name intended for registration
    • Include the legal name of the business or the name of the business owner
    • If applicable, furnish the entity number issued by the Ohio Secretary of State
    • Describe the nature of your business (e.g., “plumber”)
    • Provide the business address
    • If different, supply a mailing address
    • Conclude with the signature of the owner or an authorized representative

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    3. Submit Your Application and Pay the Filing Fee

    To register your name, you have the option of submitting your application online or through mail. However, if you prefer to file in person, it’s necessary to schedule an appointment with Ohio’s Client Service Center.


    Ohio Business Filings

    Standard Processing by Mail:

    Ohio Secretary of State

    P.O. Box 670

    Columbus, OH 43216

    Expedited Processing:

    Ohio Secretary of State

    P.O. Box 1390

    Columbus, OH 43216


    22 N Fourth St

    Columbus, OH 43215

    The regular fee for filing is $39, and there are also faster filing options available. By adding an additional $100 to the fee, you can expedite the processing time for a DBA to just two days.

    4. Manage Your Ohio Trade Name

    Update Your Trade Name Registration With the State

    Your Ohio trade name requires renewal every five years, with a fee of $25 for renewal. You have the option to complete this process either online or by mailing the Renewal of Trade Name or Fictitious Name Registration form to the following address:

    Secretary of State

    P.O. Box 670

    Columbus, OH 43216

    Modify Your Trade Name

    For any alterations to your trade name, please fill out the Change of Registrant Name form. You can submit this form online or send it via mail to the address provided above.

    Cancel Your Trade Name

    To withdraw your trade name, complete the Name Reservation/Transfer/Cancellation form, accompanied by a $25 fee. This form can be filed electronically or sent by mail to the Secretary of State at the address listed above.

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    Best DBA Filing Services to Register Fictitious Name in Ohio – Oh DBA

    Explore top-tier services for registering a fictitious name in Ohio.

    Business Rocket logo

    When it comes to filing a Doing Business As (DBA) in Ohio, individuals can rely on BusinessRocket as an invaluable resource. This platform is specifically designed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and business owners, providing a seamless and user-friendly experience. 

    By simplifying the often complex paperwork involved in DBA registration in Ohio, BusinessRocket offers online tools and comprehensive guidance at every step.

    The main goal of BusinessRocket is to streamline the entire process for users. It guides them through legal requirements and ensures that their chosen business name complies with Ohio’s regulations. 

    With features such as document preparation assistance and filing support, BusinessRocket facilitates a smooth DBA registration process, making it easy for individuals to establish their presence in Ohio.

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    Northwest Registered Agent logo

    Northwest Registered Agent is a trusted choice for a range of legal services, including handling DBA filings in Ohio. As a registered agent service, Northwest provides businesses with a physical address in the state that meets the specific requirements for operating under an alternative name.

    In addition to DBA filings, Northwest Registered Agent offers comprehensive compliance services like submitting annual reports and forwarding mail. 

    This all-encompassing approach ensures that businesses remain in good standing with the state, relieving business owners of administrative responsibilities and enabling them to concentrate on nurturing their companies’ development.

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    ZenBusiness is a comprehensive platform for business services that aims to support entrepreneurs at every stage, including the process of filing a DBA in Ohio. 

    With a focus on simplicity and affordability, ZenBusiness provides an easily accessible online platform that guides users through the necessary steps to register their DBA in Ohio.

    This service not only helps users check name availability but also assists with preparing the required documentation and submitting filings to the relevant authorities in Ohio. 

    Furthermore, ZenBusiness offers ongoing assistance with compliance matters, making it an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs who want to establish their business identity in the state without any hassle or non-compliance issues.

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    DBA vs. LLC in Ohio

    Although both DBAs and LLCs are registered at the state level, there is a fundamental difference between them. LLCs provide legal separation between the owners (known as members) and the business itself. 

    In Ohio, an LLC offers protection for personal assets such as savings, vehicles, and homes by safeguarding them from being seized in lawsuits or bankruptcy proceedings. On the other hand, a DBA doesn’t offer any legal protection; it’s simply an alternative name for a business.

    Choosing to operate under a DBA is appropriate if you’re looking for an alias or title for a new product line. However, if you’re a sole proprietor who wants to protect your personal assets, it’s necessary to establish a separate business entity with liability protection, like an LLC. BusinessRocket can assist you in obtaining an LLC if needed.

    File a DBA in Ohio – Frequently Asked Questions

    If you’re still uncertain about the process of filing a DBA in Ohio, keep reading to discover the information you need.

    Conclusion – File a DBA in Ohio 

    In conclusion, the process of successfully filing a DBA in Ohio can be made easy and efficient by following our detailed guide consisting of four steps. If you’re looking for an even more streamlined and effective approach, consider utilizing the services provided by BusinessRocket. 

    As a trusted service specifically focused on simplifying the DBA filing process, they can be your reliable partner in establishing and strengthening your business identity. By partnering with BusinessRocket, you not only save valuable time but also guarantee precision at each stage of the registration procedure.

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