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 Wyoming LLC.
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 Wyoming-based plumbing business called “Cheyenne Plumbing,” and you want to expand beyond Cheyenne, you can register a DBA for “Jackson Plumbing” and use that name in the Jackson market.
The state of Wyoming provides no exclusivity for DBA names, meaning that if another business likes your DBA name, they’re free to use it for themselves. In fact, Wyoming specifically notes that the registration process itself is entirely optional. For these reasons, we’re not fans of registering DBA names in this state.
If you want an additional business name for your LLC, it’s probably a better idea to simply form another LLC. This is definitely more hassle and more money than a DBA filing, but we think the exclusive naming rights are worth it.
However, if you’re still interested in getting a DBA for your Wyoming LLC, we’ll discuss the process in the next section.
How to Get a DBA for a Wyoming LLC
First off, we’ll note that Wyoming often refers to DBAs as “trade names,” so 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 Wyoming begins with a search of the state’s business database to make sure no formal business entity (like a corporation or another LLC) has already registered your desired name as its official business name. Once you’ve determined the name’s eligibility, the next step differs quite a bit from most states, as you simply need to start using the name.
This is because, in Wyoming, trade names must already be in use before the registration process. Once you’ve started using the name to refer to your LLC, you can fill out the Application for Registration of Trade Name document.
To complete this form, you’ll need to provide the following information: the trade name you’re registering, the name of your LLC, your LLC’s official business address, an indication that your business is an LLC, the jurisdiction where you originally formed your LLC, a brief description of the nature of your business, the date you started using your new DBA name, your name, your title, your signature, your phone number, the date, and your email address. It’s important to note that this document also must be notarized.
When you finish filling out the form, you can submit it to the Wyoming Secretary of State by mail or by hand. This document has a $100 filing fee. Wyoming has some conflicting messages about turnaround times. On the application form itself, it says that the state usually takes 3-5 business days to process this filing. However, there is a section on the Secretary of State’s website where they mention which day’s filings they’re currently processing, and at the time of this writing, they were taking a full nine business days to process a document.
Should You Hire a DBA Service?
Would you rather pay a reasonable fee to a business services company and have them register your DBA on your behalf? While you can certainly save some money by doing it yourself, it’s nice to have the peace of mind that your new trade name was registered by a professional who really knows what they’re doing.
Here are a few of our favorite services for DBA registrations, all offering the same low price point of $99:
- IncFile: IncFile is one of the best business service providers available, and their DBA service is top-notch. IncFile receives tremendous customer feedback, with thousands of positive reviews all over the web. They also have plenty of experience, as they’ve been around since 2004 and they’ve formed more than 250,000 businesses.
- LegalZoom: LegalZoom actually has two different packages for DBA services, as their $119 Premium package includes a trial of their Business Advisory Plan. LegalZoom is one of the biggest names in the industry, and they’ve served millions of customers. It’s hard to argue with a track record like that!
- Swyft Filings: Swyft Filings really lives up to their name, as they’re one of the fastest business services companies you’ll ever find. Not only do they have some of the industry’s quickest turnaround times, but they also say that you can fill out their entire DBA application in “as little as 10 minutes.”
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 name. However, Wyoming specifically says that registering a DBA name in this state grants you no exclusive right to use that name, and they also note that the registration process itself is optional. 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 Wyoming, a DBA might not be the best idea.