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Get a DBA Name for Your Louisiana Business Today

If you’re establishing your business in Louisiana, you may choose to register a “doing business as” (DBA) name. A DBA name allows you to operate your business using a moniker other than the full legal name registered with the state. It can be useful for marketing purposes, among other reasons.

Louisiana DBA

Louisiana has strict legal requirements surrounding the application, maintenance, and use of DBA names. This guide provides an introduction to creating and maintaining a Louisiana DBA name for your new business.

What is a Louisiana “doing business as” (DBA) name?

When you register your Louisiana business, you must meet strict naming requirements. For example, when establishing your Louisiana limited liability company (LLC), state law requires you to include some version of the words “Limited Liability Company” (such as “L.C.” or “L.L.C.”) at the end of the business name.

A DBA allows you to conduct business without having to use the full legal name, simplifying your branding and marketing efforts (among other benefits). In Louisiana, a DBA name is referred to as a “trade name.” You might see other terms for DBA names elsewhere, such as “fictitious name,” “assumed business name,” or “assumed name.”

Regardless of the terminology used, a DBA name is essentially just an alias for a business. It is not a type of business entity (like an LLC or corporation), and it won’t change operational aspects like your tax and reporting requirements. A DBA name also is not copyrighted or trademarked.

There are two primary types of businesses that benefit from using DBA names:

  • Sole proprietorships and partnerships: These structures often use a DBA name to delineate the business entity from the owner or owners. Without a DBA name, the business will simply be referred to by the owner’s/owners’ legal name(s). 
  • Corporations and LLCs: These business entities may establish a DBA name for marketing purposes. Say, an LLC’s full name is “Caroline’s Cakeshop, LLC,” for example. A concise abbreviation like “Caroline’s Cakes” is easier to incorporate into menus, ad flyers, and more.

Regardless of the entity type, if you plan to use a name other than your legal business name — for example, for your company business cards or website — you need to formally register that name. Whether you have to file at the state or parish level in Louisiana depends on the type of business entity (more on that below).

Additionally, there are distinct business benefits to formally registering a Louisiana trade name:

  • Marketing opportunities: Using the full business name, including legally required addendums like “L.L.C.,” isn’t ideal for marketing purposes. You want marketing messages that are snappy, catchy, and easy to remember. A concise DBA name helps and gives you more versatility. 
  • Privacy protection: As mentioned, if you are a sole proprietorship or partnership entity, your business will simply be referred to by the owner’s/owners’ name(s). This can infringe on your personal privacy. A DBA name is a simple, efficient, and low-cost solution. 
  • Legal compliance: If you plan to do business under any name other than the official name registered with the state, Louisiana requires you to register a trade name. It might seem like a technicality, but you could face backlash if you operate a business under a nonregistered trade name.
  • Simplified banking: To keep your business and personal finances separate and protect your personal liability, it’s imperative to open a business bank account. Formally registering a trade name makes it easier to register a business bank account under that name.
  • Enhanced exclusivity: Finally, registering a trade name prevents other businesses in Louisiana from using that same trade name. This further enhances your business brand, making it easily distinguishable from competitors.

If you want to take advantage of these benefits, it’s well worth your while to establish a Louisiana trade name. This guide provides a step-by-step overview of what it takes to register your Louisiana DBA name.

How do I choose a Louisiana DBA name?

When discussing the benefits of a DBA name above, one important point that probably jumped out at you was the marketing opportunities. Choosing the right business name now will make future marketing endeavors easier. Select something that reflects your services and products, isn’t too long, and is easy to remember.

Louisiana also has certain legal requirements for trade names:

  • The name must use English letters or characters.
  • The name can’t include language implying that your business is a state or parish administrative agency, or any kind of federal governmental agency (like the FBI).
  • The name can’t suggest your business is any kind of entity other than the one it’s registered as. For example, if you’re a sole proprietorship, you can’t include the word “Corporation” in your trade name.
  • You can’t include the name of public facilities, including parks and playgrounds, in your trade name without written consent from the relevant government authority.

Finally, the DBA name must be unique. Louisiana will only approve a trade name and issue a certificate of registration “if the Secretary of State finds that the trade name is distinguishable from or not the same as a trade name, limited liability company name, or corporate name already in use in this state.”

Luckily, there are resources available that you can use to make sure your selected DBA name is available before you file the paperwork. Simply search Louisiana’s business filings (by entity name) on the Secretary of State website.

Decoration

While you’re brainstorming names, check the availability of corresponding domain names. A domain name is how potential customers find you on the internet. You want your trade and domain names to align so that you can present a cohesive brand identity to the world. ZenBusiness also offers Domain Name Registration services that cover name research and registration.

How do I register a Louisiana DBA name?

If you decide to register a trade name in Louisiana, there is a series of steps you should adhere to. You can file online or by mail. Below, you can find guidelines for either option.

By mail

1. Download and print the form “Application to Register Trade Name” from the Secretary of State website.
2. Provide the required information, including business name (the full legal name), your name and contact details, the full street address of the business, and your desired trade name.
3. Designate the types of goods or services associated with the business trade name.
4. Specify the date the trade name was first used both generally and within the state of Louisiana.
5. Specify the relevant state and parish you are filing in. Note that only sole proprietorships and partnerships need to file at the parish level (get parish clerk details here).
6. Obtain the required notary signature.
7. Pay the $75 filing fee. You can request expedited 24-hour processing for $30 or two- to four-hour processing for $50. Do not send cash. Checks can be made payable to the Louisiana Secretary of State.
8. Send the document and filing fee via mail to:

Secretary of State

Commercial Division

P.O. Box 94125

Baton Rouge, LA, 70804

If you have any questions, call the Secretary of State’s Commercial Division at 225-925-4704.

Note that if you come up with a brilliant trade name idea but are still in the process of formally establishing your business, you can preemptively reserve a trade name. The name will then be reserved for 120 days from the point that your application is processed.

Simply complete the form “Application for Reservation of Trade Name” and pay the $25 filing fee. You can complete the form online or submit it via mail to:

Secretary of State

Commercial Division

P. O. Box 94125

Baton Rouge, LA, 70804

Online

1.
Visit Louisiana geauxBIZ, the state’s one-stop shop for establishing a local business. Create an account if you don’t already have one. You just need a valid email address.
 
2.
Once you have your account, access the application for registration of a trade name online.
 
3.
Provide the required information, including business name (the full legal name), your name and contact details, the full street address of the business, and your desired trade name.
 
4.
Designate the types of goods or services associated with the business trade name.
 
5. Specify the date the trade name was first used both generally and within the state of Louisiana.
 
6. Specify the relevant state and parish you are filing in. Note that only sole proprietorships and partnerships need to file at the parish level (get parish clerk details here).
 
7. Louisiana law requires a Louisiana notary to print or type their name and notary or bar roll number on the document.
 
8. Pay the $75 filing fee. You can save payment information, like credit card details, in your geauxBIZ profile master account. For an extra $30, you can request 24-hour processing. For an extra $50, you can request two- to four-hour processing.
 
 

How do I manage ongoing DBA name compliance in Louisiana?

With the above process done, all you have to do is wait on the Secretary of State to confirm your document submission and approve your trade name. Louisiana doesn’t require you to publish your trade name like some states. However, a Louisiana trade name isn’t something you register for once and never think about again — because the trade name isn’t valid forever.

Your Louisiana trade name expires automatically after 10 years. Before it expires, make sure to renew it. You simply complete the trade name registration form again and pay the filing fee of $75. You can pay an extra $30 for 24-hour processing or an extra $50 for two- to four-hour processing.

The application can be submitted online via your geauxBIZ account or by mail. If you’re submitting by mail, send it to:

Secretary of State

Commercial Division

P.O. Box 94125

Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Ten years is a long time, so it’s easy to forget renewal. Make a note of the expiration date now. If you fail to renew the trade name, and it expires, someone else can legally use it for their own business. You should complete the renewal by the date of the initial registration every 10 years. Keep in mind that this paperwork must be notarized before submission, so make sure to leave time for the process.

You may want to change your trade name before the 10-year period is up. You can transfer a trade name by completing the “Assignment of Trade Name” application. This is similar to the original registration form and allows you to assign the trade name to a different entity. As with the original paperwork, you must get the form notarized.

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More Louisiana DBA FAQs

How much does it cost to register a Louisiana DBA name?

To establish your Louisiana DBA name (or “trade name,” as it’s called in the state), you must complete the form “Application to Register Trade Name.” The filing fee for submitting this form is $75. You can submit it online or via mail. You have the option for expedited service if you’re facing time constraints: Pay an added $30 for 24-hour processing, or pay an added $50 for two- to four-hour processing.

There are also costs related to maintaining your Louisiana trade name. The name expires automatically after 10 years, and you should renew it before that point. The filing fee is again $75, and the same expedited options are available.

Finally, keep in mind that you may need certified copies of your trade name certificate, for example, if you want to open a business bank account. You can request certified copies from the Louisiana Secretary of State for $15 per piece.

What is the processing time to register a Louisiana DBA?

You can submit your Louisiana DBA name request online or via mail. Online processing will usually be faster since you eliminate the “snail mail” element. There is also the option to pay for expedited processing. You can request 24-hour processing for $30 or two- to four-hour processing for $50. This is on top of the base $75 filing fee required.

Do I need a DBA name for my Louisiana business?

The state of Louisiana doesn’t obligate you to establish a trade name. If you don’t mind using your formal company name for your business operations, you don’t have to get one. However, using the full legal name (including entity indications like “Corporation” or “Limited Liability Company”) can be cumbersome.

A DBA name gives you a more succinct and catchy label to work with. It will make branding and marketing easier. It also protects your privacy if you’re a sole proprietorship or partnership because you can refer to the DBA name instead of your personal name when doing business. Having a Louisiana trade name also simplifies practical matters, like opening a business bank account.

If I register a DBA name in Louisiana, can another business use the same name?

While a DBA name doesn’t offer the same level of protection as a trademark or copyright, it does offer some exclusivity within the state of Louisiana. Once you’ve registered a trade name in the state, other businesses are not permitted to use that same trade name. This is because the state requires that every business DBA name be distinguishable from others on the state record.

Can a business in Louisiana have multiple DBA names?

Yes, it’s possible to have different DBA names. This is helpful if you have a multifaceted business. Say you own an eveningwear store, for example. Part of your business focuses on wedding dresses and bridal gear. The other part of the business focuses on general evening wear, like prom and homecoming dresses. You can develop a distinct brand around either element when you have two distinct DBA names.

Is a DBA name the same thing as a fictitious business name in Louisiana?

There are different terms for a DBA name. In Louisiana, the legal term is a “trade name.” In other states, a DBA name may be referred to as an “assumed name,” “assumed business name,” or “fictitious name.” These terms generally all refer to the same concept — an alias for a formal business entity.

Do I need a DBA name in Louisiana if I use my own name for a sole proprietorship?

Sole proprietors are required to do business only under their legal name. You may find this infringes on your privacy or makes marketing difficult. By registering for a trade name, you open up the possibility to use your DBA name for all business purposes, from invoicing to opening bank accounts.

Will using a DBA name affect how my business is taxed in Louisiana?

A DBA name is only an alias — an alternative to your formal business name. It is not an official business entity (like a corporation or LLC, for example). Registering a Louisiana trade name will, therefore, not alter your business tax requirements.

Are you still feeling uncertain about the process of business formation in Louisiana? Trust ZenBusiness to help. Our experts will make sure that you get your business off the ground. We can even handle the registration and compliance oversight for you. With these tasks taken off your hands, you can enjoy focusing your attention on your Louisiana small business!

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