DBA for South Dakota LLCOne 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 South Dakota LLC.

Keep in Mind: A DBA does not provide you with asset protection. However an LLC does and allows you to operate under the business name of your choice as long as it is not already claimed. Plus, it is fairly straightforward to file through an LLC formation service (like ZenBusiness) or on your own.
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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 a South Dakota-based plumbing business called “Sioux Falls Plumbing,” and you want to expand beyond Sioux Falls, you can register a DBA for “Rapid City Plumbing” and use that name in the Rapid City market.

The state of South Dakota does not provide exclusive rights to a business name when you register it as a DBA. This means that if another business likes your DBA name and wants to use it for themselves, they are legally allowed to do so.

Due to this lack of uniqueness, we are not typically fans of registering DBAs in South Dakota. If you want the exclusive rights to an additional business name, you can form another LLC instead. This is more expensive and more hassle, but we think the exclusivity is worth it.

That said, if you still want to get a DBA for your South Dakota LLC, we’ll discuss how the process works below.

How to Get a DBA for a South Dakota LLC

The process for obtaining a DBA in South Dakota begins with a business name search to make sure your desired name hasn’t already been registered by a formal business entity. Once you’ve determined the name’s eligibility, you can fill out the state’s DBA registration form.

This document requires the following information: your LLC’s official business name, the DBA name you’re registering, your South Dakota Secretary of State Business ID, the names and signatures of your LLC’s member/owners, and your LLC’s business address.

When you’re ready to file the form, you can submit it online, along with your $10 filing fee. Your filing will be processed immediately.

In Conclusion

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 fictitious name. However, South Dakota specifically says that registering a DBA name in this state grants you no exclusive right to use that name. 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 than 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 South Dakota, a DBA might not be the best idea.

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