What is a “doing business as” name and how do you register one?

A “doing business as” or DBA name is an alias for a company.  Within the state of Wisconsin, sole proprietors and general partners can do business under their own name but if you want to do business under another name, you must file a Registration of Firm Names with the county Register of Deeds.

Need an illustration of what I am talking about?  Let us say that I want to operate a business as a sole proprietorship.  Within the state of Wisconsin, “no legal formalities are required to bring this form of business structure into being, and there are no particular formalities necessary for operation” (source).  I am Joe Steinbring, doing business as myself.  I own everything, have liability for everything, and am treated that way by the law.  Let us say that I want to start calling my business “Steinbring Engineering”.  Within the state of Wisconsin, the government wants to know who is behind that.  The above mentioned submission is the way of telling the state that you want to do that.  You can browse the state’s Corporate Registration Information System, to see names that people have already been granted.

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