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 — so this article will walk you through the process of registering a DBA for your Oregon LLC.
A solid name goes a long way in establishing your brand in customers’ minds. Doing Business As (DBA) names give you increased customization, flexibility, and versatility with your business identity. Once you're ready to lock it down, have ZenBusiness file all the paperwork.
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What Is a DBA?
To begin, let’s quickly run down what exactly a DBA is. One point of confusion we often hear about is that a DBA is not a business entity, like an LLC, corporation, sole proprietorship, general partnership, etc. Instead, you can think of a DBA as an add-on feature of sorts.
The DBA allows you to create alternate business names for your entity, which you can then use interchangeably with your LLC’s official business name. In addition, for informal business entities that don’t have exclusive business names (like sole proprietorships and general partnerships), a DBA can be a great way to inject some additional professionalism into a business venture.
But let’s talk strictly about LLCs, shall we? Why would an LLC want an additional business name? There are several potential reasons, although they obviously vary considerably depending on what your business does. One popular reason is to differentiate a new product line from a company’s existing offerings.
Let’s say that you own a business called “Fine Footwear, LLC” that produces high-end shoes. If you decide to also start a new product line that sells inexpensive flip-flop sandals, you might want a way to differentiate this brand from your core business. In this circumstance, you could register a DBA for “Flip-Flops by Fine Footwear,” and you can use this name to market your new products, while your original product line remains unaffected if your sandal side business fails.
It could also be helpful if you decide to expand your local business into a new market. For instance, if you own an Oregon-based plumbing business called “Portland Plumbing,” and you want to expand beyond Portland, you can register a DBA for “Corvallis Plumbing” and use that name in the Corvallis market.
The state of Oregon has confusing laws regarding DBA names. At first glance, it seems that the state provides exclusivity for DBA names — the state specifies that all DBA names must be “distinguishable” from all others on record. However, it doesn’t take long to figure out how toothless this regulation is (it’s actually more of a suggestion than a regulation).
Oregon notes that changing even one letter of a business name is enough to make it “exclusive” in the state’s eyes. Furthermore, DBA names are handled on the county level, meaning that each county has its own database of registered names, and searching the state’s database might not include those county databases.
The biggest issue of all is the fact that the state includes this foreboding sentence: “Registering your name does not give you the right to use it.” The state goes on to explain how they might allow you to register a business called “Starbucks Coffee” but the actual Starbucks could step in with legal action. Therefore, it’s pretty easy to see how registering a DBA in Oregon doesn’t really provide you any exclusivity, despite what the state says on the surface.
With this in mind, we’re not fans of registering DBAs in this state. If you want the exclusive rights to a unique additional business name in Oregon, you can simply form an additional LLC. This is certainly more work (and costs more money) than a DBA, but the exclusivity is worth it, in our opinion.
That said, if you still want to get a DBA for your Oregon LLC, we’ll outline the process in the following section.
How to Get a DBA for an Oregon LLC
First off, we’ll note that Oregon typically refers to DBAs as “assumed names,” but for the purposes of this article, we’ll continue to use both terms interchangeably because most states use the term “DBA.”
The process for obtaining a DBA in Oregon starts with a search of the state’s business database to make sure an LLC or corporation hasn’t already registered the name you want. However, keep in mind that this will not inform you whether or not your desired name has already been registered as an assumed name in one of Oregon’s 36 counties.
Once you’ve determined that your desired assumed name hasn’t been registered by a formal business entity, you can fill out the Assumed Business Name – New Registration form. This document requires the following information: your LLC’s Oregon business registry number, the assumed business name you’re registering, a description of your business, the name and address of your authorized representative, your LLC’s principal business address, the names and addresses of your LLC members, the counties within Oregon where your business operates, your name, your signature, and your phone number.
When you’re ready to file the form, you can submit it to the Secretary of State online, by mail, or by hand. Regardless of your filing method, this document costs $50 to file. You can check the state’s turnaround times by visiting this page and taking a look at the “Filing Waiting Times” box on the right-hand side. While the exact processing speeds may vary, at the time of this writing, the state was taking around five hours to process online filings, while mailed filings had a two business day turnaround.
The doing business as (DBA) name varies more from state to state than most other business filings. In some states, a DBA grants you exclusive rights to your new assumed name. However, even though Oregon says you need to register a unique DBA name, it’s more of a suggestion than an actual regulation. Due to this lack of exclusivity, we’re not fans of registering DBAs in this state.
Instead, it’s probably a better option to form an additional LLC if you want to be able to use multiple names for your business. This is certainly more of a hassle that registering a DBA, but at least you’ll have exclusive rights to your name.
If you’re looking for a new way to market your LLC in Oregon, a DBA might not be the best idea.
Get a DBA for an LLC in all States
We break down the DBA filing process in every state. View all of our guides below.
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Alabama
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Alaska
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Arizona
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Arkansas
- Get a DBA for an LLC in California
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Colorado
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Connecticut
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Delaware
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Florida
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Georgia
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Hawaii
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Idaho
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Illinois
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Indiana
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Iowa
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Kansas
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Kentucky
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Maine
- Get a Trade Name for an LLC in Louisiana
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Maryland
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Massachusetts
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Michigan
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Minnesota
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Mississippi
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Missouri
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Montana
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Nebraska
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Nevada
- Get a DBA for an LLC in New Hampshire
- Get a DBA for an LLC in New Jersey
- Get a DBA for an LLC in New Mexico
- Get a DBA for an LLC in New York
- Get a DBA for an LLC in North Carolina
- Get a DBA for an LLC in North Dakota
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Ohio
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Oklahoma
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Pennsylvania
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Rhode Island
- Get a DBA for an LLC in South Carolina
- Get a DBA for an LLC in South Dakota
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Tennessee
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Texas
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Utah
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Vermont
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Virginia
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Washington
- Get a DBA for an LLC in D.C.
- Get a DBA for an LLC in West Virginia
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Wisconsin
- Get a DBA for an LLC in Wyoming