How to Add a DBA to an LLC in Colorado (And Other States)

September 8, 2020

This article is for educational and entertainment purposes only. This is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Every case is different. Consult a licensed professional in your state. Viewing this website or its content does not create an attorney-client relationship with Lyda Law Firm or any of its lawyers.

This article is for educational and entertainment purposes only. This is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Every case is different. Consult a licensed professional in your state. Viewing this website or its content does not create an attorney-client relationship with Lyda Law Firm or any of its lawyers.

If you want to change your business name for marketing reasons or operate under a name entirely, you don't have to register a new LLC and start from scratch.

A business can add a DBA and use the new name. The process is surprisingly simple (and affordable). In many instances, you don't even need to hire an attorney and you can do it on your own.

Let's take a look at how it's done.

What is a DBA?

First of all, what is a DBA? DBA stands for "doing business as." It is sometimes referred to as a fictitious business name or a trade name. In other words, it is an alternate name for your business. In Colorado, the phrase “trade name” is used on the official application. 

Why Add a DBA?

Why would you want a different or alternate name for your business? There are several reasons.

For one, in Colorado, every LLC must have the letters "LLC" in its name. Whether it's LLC, L.L.C., Limited, or Ltd.; it's got to have some variation of limited liability company in the name. So if your business is registered as "Awesome Business LLC" and you want to operate as just "Awesome Business," you'll need to add a DBA.

Another common reason is that you just want to change the name of your business entirely. Maybe you had a change of heart and you no longer love the name of your business. If that's the case, you can add a DBA and continue business operations with the new name. This is much easier than registering a new business name, getting a new EIN, and everything else that comes with starting a business.

A similar reason is if you want to have an LLC with a specific legal name for your checks and for your taxes but a different, more customer-friendly name that's consumer-facing.

How to Add a DBA to an LLC

Adding a DBA to an LLC is surprisingly simple. In this section, we will outline how to add a DBA to an LLC in Colorado, but the process doesn't change much from state to state.

The first thing you need to do is select your new name and check if anyone else is using it. To see if another business in Colorado is already using your name (or a similar name), enter the term in the Business Database Search on the Secretary of State website.

Now that you know your new trade name and have confirmed that it isn't already in use, navigate to the Colorado Secretary of State homepage.

Scroll down and click the link for "Businesses, trademarks, trade names."

Now go to “File a business document.

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Since you already have an established LLC, you’ll now want to “File a form for an EXISTING record.

Next up, search for your current business name and click on the ID number to view your business.

From there, confirm that you are authorized to make changes.

This is where we get the most questions. After you have confirmed that you are authorized to make changes, you'll see a list of documents available for filing. To add a DBA to your LLC, look for the one listed as "Statement of Trade Name of a Reporting Entity."

After clicking that link, you'll finally see the form that you need to complete. All of the information is very straightforward. Just remember that Colorado uses the term "Trade Name" instead of DBA, so enter your desired name in the "Trade Name" field.

After you click submit, you’ll be prompted to enter payment. At the time of writing this, the cost of adding a trade name to a business in Colorado is $20.

Once you’ve sent in your payment information, all you have to do is wait. The review process can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. As long as the name isn’t already being used, you’ll more than likely be approved. You’ll receive an email and, depending on your state, a letter in the mail approving your applications.

Congrats, you’re now the proud owner of a new trade name for your business! Now you can order new business cards, change your letterhead, and start operating under your new trade name.

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