One of the most important parts of any business is its name. Your limited liability company’s name is your first impression with prospective clients, whether they hear about your business by word of mouth, drive past a billboard advertising your business on the freeway, or if they stumble upon your business as a result of a Google search.
One way to change your business name — or to add an additional name that your LLC can use interchangeably — is by filing a “doing business as” name application, commonly known as a DBA. There are many reasons to get a DBA — from marketing a new product line to granting a sole proprietorship the ability to use an assumed name.
Unfortunately for entrepreneurs in the state of New Mexico, this state does not allow business owners to register DBAs. If you want to create an additional assumed name for your LLC, we’ll give you an idea of two different methods for registering new names.
Keep in Mind: A DBA does not provide you with asset protection. However an LLC does and allows you to operate under the business name of your choice as long as it is not already claimed. Plus, it is fairly straightforward to file through an LLC formation service (like ZenBusiness) or on your own.
This state’s lack of DBAs is a bit of a mixed blessing. In many states, registering a DBA does not give you exclusive rights to the use of your new assumed name. This means that if another business wants to start using your DBA name for themselves, they’re allowed to do so. However, there are also some states that do provide exclusivity for DBA names, which makes this a highly convenient way to register an additional assumed name for your business.
Either way, this simply isn’t an option in New Mexico, so we’ll need to come up with a different way to register a new assumed name for your business. If you want to change your name entirely, and you’re not interested in using your current official business name any longer, you could amend your Articles of Organization to permanently change your business name. Again though, this is only an option if you don’t want to use your original name anymore.
The other route is to form a new LLC for your additional name. This is much more of a hassle than registering a DBA, and it’s usually more expensive too, but you do get some benefits that a DBA doesn’t provide. Namely, for states that don’t provide name exclusivity for DBAs, we would almost always recommend forming a new LLC anyway — name uniqueness is that big of a deal, in our eyes. In addition, if you’re creating a separate product line, it might be more convenient to form an LLC because it’s easier to keep your finances separate.
Of course, forming an additional LLC means you’ll have to deal with double the fees, double the paperwork, double the hassle, etc. Still, it’s the best way to register a second name for your business in New Mexico, and there really aren’t any other options if you want to keep using your original name.
Overall, the lack of DBA registration in New Mexico is unfortunate. On the other hand, there aren’t many states that provide name exclusivity for DBAs, so we don’t often advise our readers to register DBAs anyway. In New Mexico — just like in states that don’t provide unique name protection for DBAs — your best option is to simply form another LLC.
It’s not exactly convenient and it will cost more money than registering a DBA in nearly any state, but the name exclusivity and flexibility make it worthwhile.
The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
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