The Blaugg Blog Do you even Blaugg???

How to Get a DBA in North Carolina

A blue circle containing a yellow silhouette of North Carolina surrounded by light blue stars and the word “North Carolina.”


Q: I need to register a DBA for my North Carolina LLC. Can Northwest help me with this?

Thank you to a customer from North Carolina for this great question! DBAs in North Carolina are administered by the county where you do business. This means that in order to obtain a DBA in North Carolina, you’ll need to register it with the county or counties where your business is located. We’ll walk you through why you might want a DBA, the benefits of a DBA, and how you can register a DBA in North Carolina.

What is a North Carolina DBA?

North Carolina calls DBAs “assumed business names,” but they’re the same thing. Your legal business name for your LLC is the one you registered with the state. An assumed business name allows you to do business without using your North Carolina LLC name. Think of it as a nickname for your business. Assumed business names are often used by businesses that are branching out to new business activities, or by business looking to rebrand. It should be noted, however, that an assumed business name offers none of the protections of an LLC. The legal structure of the LLC is what gives you separation from your business, which in turn protects your assets, and those of any other LLC members. An assumed business name is merely an alias for your North Carolina LLC.

Why Get an Assumed Business Name in North Carolina?

Assumed business names can be used for any number of reasons. Here are two of the most popular:

You’re a sole proprietor. Sole proprietors do business under their own names. This can mean a lot less privacy in a world full of scammers. Using your own name for your business venture can also mean a your business won’t look as professional to potential customers. Registering an assumed business name in North Carolina allows sole proprietors to operate their business under a more business-friendly name. For instance, if Sally Smith runs a plumbing business as a sole proprietor, she might register an assumed business name so that she can operate under “Number One Plumbing” instead of using her name.

You’re looking to expand or rebrand your business. Let’s say you own an automobile repair business called “Tom’s Garage, LLC.” Business is booming and you want to dip your toe into selling used cars. An assumed business name will allow you to register “Tom’s Used Car Sales” under the umbrella and protection of your original LLC, without the hassle and cost of having to form a new business entity. Similarly, if you run Swillie’s Bakery, LLC, but find that your bags of coffee beans are also really popular, you can get an assumed business name for your coffee bean business while operating under the protection of your original LLC.

How to Get an Assumed Business Name in North Carolina

There are three steps to registering your assumed business name in North Carolina.

Step One: You’ll need to search North Carolina’s Assumed Business Name database to make sure no one else has registered your preferred name.

Step Two: Next up, search North Carolina’s Business Registration database to make sure no LLCs, corporations, or other state registered entities have already used your assumed business name.

Step Three: Once you’ve made certain that no other business in North Carolina is using your assumed business name, it’s time to register the name with the county, or counties where you do business. Assumed business name registrations are managed on a county-by-county basis, but they all use the same Assumed Business Name Certificate. You can find your county’s Register of Deeds office by searching the North Carolina Association of Registers of Deeds map. Most certificates can be filed online, by mail, or in person at the Register of Deeds office in your county. For example, North Carolina’s Dare County will allow you to file online, by mail, or in person.

Dare County Register of Deeds

Register of Deeds
P.O. Box 70
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

In Person:
Dare County Justice Center
962 Marshall C. Collins Drive
Manteo, North Carolina 27929

What does an assumed business name cost in North Carolina?

The cost to register an assumed name in North Carolina is $26, no matter the county you register the name in.

Are there any restrictions for assumed business names in North Carolina?

North Carolina state law N.C. Gen Stat. § 66-71.1 dictates that your assumed business name can’t include the following:

  • Business entity suffixes, including LLC, Inc., Incorporated, Limited Liability Company, or Corp, among others, can’t be included in your assumed business name.
  • Your assumed business can’t be deceptive and lead the public into thinking there’s an association with another business, or that the business engages in business that it does not.

How long does North Carolina take to process an Assumed Business Name?

Because you file your certificate on a per county basis, the wait times vary, but in most cases you’ll have your assumed business name in about seven business days if you file online or in-person. Mailed applications tend to take longer.

Do I need to renew by North Carolina Assumed Business Name?

No, as of 2022, assumed business names in North Carolina are perpetual.

If you have more questions about DBAs, check out Northwest’s guide on How to Get a DBA for Your Business.

This entry was posted in .