You know what they say about assumed business names?

I hope that by discussing what an assumed business name is, I can prevent folks from thinking either of us is an ass.

So first off, people often hear these: Assumed Business Name, Fictitious Business Name, Doing Business As (DBA).. Do not be confused with the differing names. Know that these three things are all the same. Each state determines what to call this and in Oregon it’s called an “Assumed Business Name.”

If you are an LLC you have a choice of calling your business the same name as your public facing image/brand. For example, this firm’s LLC is “Rational Unicorn Legal Services LLC” and the public facing company is “Rational Unicorn Legal Services LLC.” If the LLC was called that but the firm presented itself to the public as “Magical Firm,” Magical Firm would be a dba of the LLC.

Clients often ask me how what they call their business relates to DBAs. If your business will be making several items, you may want to name your business something like “Sarah’s Business Enterprises LLC.” Sarah would then either operate as “Sarah’s Business Enterprises LLC” and not require an assumed business name or….she could operate as another (or several other) names and file one or several assumed business names. So she could be “Sarah Enterprises LLC ABN Sarah’s Toys and ABN Sarah’s T-Shirts, and ABN Sarah’s Smoothies.”

If you have several assumed business names (which is fine—-you can have none, 1, or several), this is a great thing and could be helpful for your business. However, it is important to know that all of the assumed business names tied to one LLC share the same liability, debt, assets, risks, etc. They are all related. You could also see how one of your new brands/assumed business names works and then later on cancel it and make it its own free standing LLCs.

One may ask well why doesn’t Sarah just make all of her businesses their own separate LLCs. She could do this but it would mean she’d have to file all of the LLCs/pay an attorney to, manage multiple business bank accounts, multiple tax filings, and multiple other processes.

It’s important to note that your assumed business name can be something different like a different brand (shirts vs. smoothies). Or, it can be close to your LLC name just slightly different (ie. Sarah who owns Sarah’s Business Enterprises LLC may have a dba that’s “Sarah’s Oregon Businesses.”

Now you know a little more about this topic. No assumptions assumed and nobody should make an ass out of you and me.

Michael Jonas