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Georgia DBA / Trade Name Registration In 5 Easy Steps

Georgia DBA / Trade Name Registration In 5 Easy Steps

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Georgia DBA / Trade Name Registration In 5 Easy Steps

If you’re planning to start a business in Georgia using a specific name, you may need to register for a business name. Business name registration is commonly referred to as a Georgia DBA or “Doing Business As,” but is officially called a Trade Name. To see if you need to register for a Georgia Trade Name and steps on how to register, check out our guide.

Related: How to start a business in Georgia


Who Needs to Register for a Georgia Trade Name?

Within 30 days of starting a business, Georgia state law O.C. G.A. 10-1-490 states that a business using a fictitious name must register its Trade Name.1 The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name vary depending on the type of business entity. 

A sole proprietorships and general partnership are the most common business structures to register for a Georgia DBA. By default, the name of a sole proprietorship and general partnership is the owner(s) legal name, but if the small business owner wants to operate under a specific name, they will need to complete the Trade Name registration.

For example, if Peter Smith starts a small business tuning pianos and won’t operate using a business name, he doesn’t have to register.  If Peter decides to name his business Peter’s Piano Tuning Service, then he will need to register for a Trade Name. 

Related: How to register a Georgia sole proprietorship

A corporation and Limited Liability Company won’t typically register for a Georgia 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 Georgia corporation or Limited Liability Company without having to form another entity.

Steps to Register a Georgia Trade Name

Step 1: Obtain the Trade Name Registration Form

Obtain the form from the County Clerk of Superior Court in the county where the business’s activity occurs or the primary office is located.  Some counties have the form available for download on their website, while others require the form to be picked up in person.

List of Georgia County Clerks

Step 2: Fill out the Trade Name Form

The Trade Name application is pretty straightforward to fill out. While every county is different, common information needed includes:

  • Trade Name being requested
  • Contact information of the owners
  • Principal place of business
  • What the business does

Step 3: Notarize the Form

The form must be notarized before filing with the county. Most Clerks’ offices have a notary available at no cost.

Step 4: File the Form

File the form with the county. Some counties allow online submissions, while others require them to be mailed or delivered in person.

Trade Names are required to be published in a newspaper within the county where the name is being filed.  The legal notice of your trade name registration will run once a week for two consecutive weeks.

The County Clerk will provide which publication(s) are approved in that county.  Publication fees vary but expect to spend $30 – $75.

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.


Georgia DBA FAQs

How much does a Georgia Trade Name cost?

The filing fee to register a Trade Name varies by county, however, it typically ranges between $150-$200, plus publication costs.  This is a one-time expense.

Are there any words you can’t use in a Trade Name?

While the state of Georgia does not require a name search to ensure a name is unique, certain words are restricted.

Trade Names in Georgia can’t be registered using words that are related to banking, savings, or insurance unless the business is licensed to provide those services.  The words College or University are also not allowed unless the entity is approved to provide such services.

The business entity suffix “Corporation, “Corp.,” “Inc.,” “LLC,” or “Limited Liability Company” should only be used for an entity that is registered with the Georgia Secretary of State as a corporation or LLC.

Does a sole proprietor need a business license in Georgia?

It’s very likely that a sole proprietor (or any business entity) in Georgia will need a business license.

Business license requirements vary depending on where the business is located and what the business does. While there isn’t a state business license, many cities require one. In addition, it’s common for a business to register for a sales tax number and Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Related: What business licenses and permits are needed in Georgia?

Sources

  1. O.C. G.A. 10-1-490 ↩︎

Author

  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

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Georgia DBA / Trade Name Registration In 5 Easy Steps

Georgia DBA / Trade Name Registration In 5 Easy Steps

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