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Delaware DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

Delaware DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

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Delaware DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

If you’re planning to start a business in Delaware using a specific name, you may need to register for a business name. Business name registration is commonly referred to as a Delaware DBA or “Doing Business As,” but is officially called a Trade Name. 

To see if you need to register for a Delaware Trade Name and steps on how to register, check out our guide.

Related: How to start a business in Delaware

Who needs to register for a Delaware DBA?

Any individual or business entity engaging in or transacting business within the State of Delaware must do a Trade, Business, and Fictitious Name Registration, pursuant to Delaware Statute Title 6 Del. C. Chapter 31 § 3101 and § 3103.1

A business is required to register with the Office of the Prothonotary in every county where they are operating.  For example, if you are starting a business and have a retail store in Kent County, you would only need to file with the Prothonotary office in Kent County.  On the other hand, a landscaper servicing clients in multiple counties would need to register with the Office of the Prothonotary in each of those counties.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common entities to register for a DBA.  The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the owner’s full first and last name, which doesn’t get registered in Delaware.  Using the owner’s name for the business name works for many self-employed business owners, however many entrepreneurs want to operate under a distinct and brandable business name. In addition, some banks will require one in order to open a business bank account.

Related: How to form a sole proprietorship in Delaware

A corporation and Limited Liability Company won’t typically register for a Delaware DBA since a unique entity name is created during the entity formation process. However, some will want to register for a DBA if they have another business or brand name they want to operate in addition to the legal name of the business. This can allow multiple businesses to operate with the liability protection of a Delaware corporation or Limited Liability Company without having to form another entity.

Steps to Register a Delaware Trade Name?

Step 1: Verify Name Availability

Every name registration must be unique and not too similar to other names on record.  Before filling out the form, do a Delaware business name search on the Delaware Department of State’s website to see if the name you want is available. 

Step 2: Complete the Form

After verifying the business name you want is available, the registration form needs to either be filed online or downloaded and submitted by mail or in person.

Information that is needed on the form includes:

  • The County where the name is being registered
  • Proposed DBA name
  • Business address
  • Phone number
  • Names and addresses of all owners, members, or partners
  • Date of formation
  • What the business does

The form has to be filled out and notarized, so don’t sign before signing in front of a notary!  Notary services are available in each of the Prothonotary’s Offices.

Step 3: Submit the Form

The Fictitious Name Certificate can either be delivered in person or mailed to the Prothonotary’s office for the county where you do business in Delaware.

Addresses for each Prothonotary office:
New Castle County
Leonard L. Williams Justice Center
500 North King Street, Suite 500, LL1
Wilmington, DE 19801-3746

Kent County Courthouse
38 The Green
Dover, DE 19901

Sussex County Courthouse
1 The Circle, Suite 2
Georgetown, DE 19947

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Bizee and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

Delaware DBA FAQs

How much does a Delaware Trade Name cost?

The state filing fee for a Delaware Trade Name is $25 for each county where the business operates.

Are there any naming restrictions when filing a Delaware DBA?

DBAs can’t be registered using words related to banks, trusts, and savings unless the business is licensed to provide those services.

Additionally, a DBA filing can’t use a business entity suffix that is different from the type of entity. For example, a sole proprietorship can’t use LLC or Corp in its name.

What is the difference between a Delaware Trade Name and a business license?

These are actually two different business registrations. In addition to the Delaware Trade Name registration, most businesses will also need a business license. The licenses a business will need vary depending on what the business does and local registration requirements.

Related: What business licenses are needed in Delaware?

Sources

  1. Title 6 Del. C. Chapter 31 § 3101 and § 3103. ↩︎

Delaware DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

Delaware DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

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