Save Money Getting Your DBA - Doing Business As

As you know, I live in the state of Arizona. An acquaintance of Mr. A’s has been encouraging him to get a “DBA” and was even so kind as to print out an application he found on the Internet. “It’s only $115, Mr. A and, and, it’ll protect you!” Mr. A wondered what he would be protected from, and I wondered why he needed to have a DBA. As is his custom, he left it up to me to figure out if we really needed this.

When I saw the printout from Mr. A’s buddy, my suspicious nature kicked in once I spotted incorrect grammar and misspelled words. This happens more and more often, but it is one of the things that makes me suspicious.

I started doing some research. I asked a few people, googled a bit, and read a couple of the books we have bought for starting a new business. During my Google searches I mostly found the places like Mr. A’s acquaintance had given him the printout from. They are in the business to make a nice chunk of money from you, for something you could do yourself much cheaper, if you just know what to look for! It’s actually VERY difficult to find anything but those places when you search Google.

I first learned about these businesses when Mr. A and I were married the first time, in 1987. Within weeks of our tying the knot, I received an official looking envelope in the mail which said I needed to update my Social Security card. And it would cost me something. Now don’t expect me to remember 21 years later how much exactly. But something like $21.95 or $39.95. Something like that. For some reason, I knew that it was simply a matter of going down to the Social Security office and filling out paperwork to get my card updated. FREE.

And more recently, my boss gets these notices in the mail every few months about how she has to upgrade the employment posters. These people want $69.95 every few months to upgrade, when nothing has changed! I know because I have the numbers to call the government offices to see if a new poster is available, which they provide free of charge.

I just had a feeling this “DBA” thing would be the same; if not free, then definitely not $115. Most people I talked to weren’t even sure what a DBA was, or if we really had to have one.

Finally last week on Thursday, I decided to try again on Google. Mr. A thought the Secretary of the State’s office would be the place that would handle something like a DBA, so I located that site.

Here is what I found that answered both my questions at once:

Answer: The registration of trade names (business names, dba) is not legally required in Arizona but is an accepted business practice. Business names, also known as DBAs, can be filed with the Office of the Secretary of State.

So legally in the State of Arizona we don’t even need a DBA; however, it is what people typically do when they go into business. I guess the “protection” part comes in because someone else could take your name, if you don’t reserve it first. I’m sure there are other things it protects us from, I’m just not sure what else.

Mr. A went down to the Secretary of State’s office with the two applications I’d filled out and printed, after I’d made sure his business names weren’t already taken.

Total cost: $20 for both his businesses

Mr. A was impressed that we didn’t have to pay $115 for EACH business due to my research. I’m just glad he’s patient with me because it took me almost three months to finally figure it out!

The lessons I learned is that DBA, which I know means “Doing Business As”, means registering a tradename, which also means registering a business name (at least in the state of Arizona).

I know you must have a business name registered in order to open a business checking account, so we will now be able to do that. This will make things much nicer, since some clients automatically write the check to the company name, instead of to Mr. A, which is of course standard practice.

And now you know, too.

Yours Truly,

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5 comments to Save Money Getting Your DBA – Doing Business As

  • Funny about Money

    That’s amazing! Good for you for dodging a clear and present scam!

    sigh! I guess I’m just not devious enough… I would never think of cooking up a scam like that. Maybe if I were just a little more creative I could get rich ripping off the naive. 😉

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    Dave Ramsey, Dave Ramsey, Dave Ramsey. Get mad and get those debts paid off – don’t get MORE credit cards – they are EVILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

    [Reply]

  • Mrs. Accountability

    @Funny – thank you! I was so tickled that we only paid $10 for each business.

    @Anonymous – I don’t actually think credit cards are evil. They are at the moment providing the opportunity for my husband to fulfill his life dream of owning his own business. We don’t have enormous student loans, our mortgage is around $51K, both our cars are paid in full. We aren’t getting credit cards to buy more things we don’t need, I’m rolling over the current debt and avoiding the interest fees. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

    [Reply]

  • Frugalchick

    I’m in the process of registering an LLC and your post reminded me to check if I also need to file a DBA. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • jennydecki

    Lucky duck! I live in Cook County, IL and going directly through the courthouse with no middle man is a cool $200.

    Even more if you use one of those shyster services that charge you to file paperwork.

    I don’t know what’s worse, that people sleep at night when that’s the company they’ve chosen to have or that people keep them in business.

    We haven’t had credit cards in years, but I agree with you – I don’t think they are inherently evil. They’re only pieces of plastic…not demons!

    [Reply]

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