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Last updated July 27, 2021

Can you have two businesses under one LLC?

A person is confused about running multiple businesses under one LLCYes, you can have multiple businesses under one LLC. You can run two or more businesses under one LLC by either:

  • running all the business activities under one LLC name, or
  • registering DBAs (“doing business as”), also known as Fictitious Names.

Whether that LLC has any DBAs (Fictitious Names) is up to you. Meaning, you don’t have to file a DBA to run multiple businesses under one LLC, but you certainly can file a DBA (or multiple DBAs) if you’d like.

You’ll want to look at the pros and cons of one LLC versus multiple LLCs. It would also be advisable to speak with an attorney about the details of your situation and what you’re trying to accomplish.

Running multiple businesses under one LLC

Pros:

Cons:

  • liability risk could be larger (all liability under one “roof”)
  • non-separate finances and books could be confusing

Among our readers, we usually see people fall into two groups.

• The first is those who have little money, perceive their risk to be high, and are testing out business models and how to make money. They’ll often have multiple business activities under one LLC.

• The second is a more experienced business person. They’ve established profitability or are confident in what they’re doing. They decided to “do it right” from the start, form two LLCs, and keep the liability separate.

While there are more pros listed above than cons, we often see more experienced business owners choose to separate their liability exposure and set up a different LLC for each business.

Am I required to register a DBA for my LLC?

No, you don’t have to register a DBA/Doing Business As for your LLC.

Note: Depending on your state, a DBA may be called a Fictitious Name, Trade Name, or Assumed Name. They all mean the same thing though; think of it as a “nickname” for your LLC.

(related article: do I need a DBA for my LLC?)

If you want to have one LLC that has multiple businesses under it, sometimes people prefer to register a DBA for each type of business activity. Alternatively, the LLC could just do business under its true LLC name.

Again, the choice is up to you though. You’re not required to register a DBA for your LLC’s business activities, but you can if you’d like to.

Is it better to have 2 LLCs instead?

Many people prefer to limit the liability, and therefore would choose two LLCs instead of one.

If you have one LLC doing multiple different activities, the liability exposure could be increased.

For example, if your LLC sells products online and also has a small shop in town, if you’re sued because of an issue that happens with an online customer, that could jeopardize your physical store location.

Example of one LLC with multiple DBAs

Under this setup, there is only one LLC that runs several businesses (each under a different name).

Example: John’s Fresh Produce LLC runs a meat deli shop called “John’s Deli Shop” and a vegetable store called “John’s Fresh Veggies”. Note that there is only one LLC that does business under two different names.

Example of multiple LLCs running separate businesses

Under this setup, multiple LLCs run separate businesses.

Example: Dan’s Bike Shop LLC runs a bike shop while”Mike’s Motorcycle Store LLC runs a motorcycle store. Note that the two LLCs are entirely separate and unrelated entities that run their own respective businesses.

How does this affect my taxes?

For most people, whether you have one LLC or two LLCs, the amount you pay in taxes should be relatively the same. How you file your taxes may vary though.

One LLC:

One LLC with one line of activity or multiple lines of activity will be reporting all income and losses together.

• For a Single-Member LLC (taxed as a Sole Proprietorship) that means income/losses are usually reported on a Schedule C, as a part of your personal 1040 tax return.

• For a Multi-Member LLC (taxed as a Partnership) that means income/losses are reported on a 1065 Partnership Return and then each LLC Member will get a K-1 for their share of income/loss.

(related article: how is my LLC taxed?)

Multiple LLCs:

If you have multiple LLCs, the amount you pay in taxes will be more or less the same, but how those taxes are filed will vary from the above example.

• Multiple Single-Member LLCs (taxed as Sole Proprietorships) will report their income/loss on multiple Schedule Cs, however, the combined amount of Schedule C income/loss just “flows” to your personal 1040 tax return.

• Multiple Multi-Member LLCs (taxed as Partnerships) will report their income/loss on multiple 1065 Partnership Returns and the LLC Members will be issued K-1s (one from each LLC). However, all the K-1 income/loss will “flow” to the Member’s personal 1040 tax return.

Separate bank accounts

If you decide to form multiple LLCs, you’ll not only want to keep all business activity separated, you’ll also want to open separate LLC bank accounts.

Additionally, you’ll want to keep a separate set of books. That can be done via a spreadsheet or online software, such as QuickBooks Online.

We hope this article has been helpful in painting an overview of whether multiple business should be ran under one LLC or multiple LLCs.

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

160 comments on “Can you have two businesses under one LLC?”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. MATT – Thanks so much for all the invaluable information you and your team have put together for small businesses and LLC’s. It really helps to clarify a lot of questions. My brother owns two real estate properties in the Pittsburgh area and one in Ft. Lauderdale. He and I want to put the properties in one basket and start an import business (Amazon) and be able to deduct the expenses/costs of using the properties for inventory etc. Is this a viable idea? If so where can I get more information on how to do it? Thanks so much and here’s hoping you and your team have a great 2019.

    • Hi Greg, you’re very welcome. Thanks for the kind words. Something specific like this is best to run by an accountant, an attorney, and/or a tax attorney. Far too many details and variables to get into. Hope that helps and thanks for your understanding.

  2. Can you have a beauty shop and a small store together under the same roof but different areas of the building? or what is needed?

    • Hi Dee, yes, you can have an LLC that operates both a beauty shop and a small store, but they are in different parts of the building. Hope that helps.

      • Okay, Thank you, But also can you have a LLC that operates both a cleaning business and a small store. But it would be in a different part of the Beauty shop building?

        • Yes, that is also allowed. The LLC can do multiple things and they don’t have to take place at the same address.

  3. How many businesses can you operate under one LLC? And do they have to be related? For instance, can a clothing line and graphic design business operate under one LLC?

    • Hi Ray, you can operate as many businesses that you’d like under an LLC. And no, the industries don’t have to be related. Hope that helps.

      • So my husband and I have an LLC in TX. He does construction and facility maintenance and I do embroidery, heat transfer and sublimation of garments. (hand and hand because the oil and gas industry needs uniforms). Aside from that we offer printing service (business cards and creation of business card templates, logo design and label creations).
        Can this all operate under one LLC and one business account?

        • Hi Chrisalyn, yes, there is no limit to how many business activities an LLC can engage in. So if you’d prefer, you can keep it all under one LLC (as opposed to having two LLCs).

          • Thank you so much. How would you choose your NAICS code? Secondly, As I am a 100% disabled vet, in the state of TX , I would have to own 51% of the business in order to take advantage of the “veteran own business, woman owned business”, would I need to create my own LLC as my name is not on the business currently at all just my husbands as a sole proprietor llc?

            Or how do you do “umbrella company” or holding company?

            • You’re welcome Chrisalyn. Thank you for your service! Regarding NAICS, please see here: NAICS code for LLC. I believe the program you are referring to is different than the free Taxes LLC for veterans because Senate Bill 1049 was not renewed, so the free LLC is no longer available to Veterans in Texas. I don’t think you’re talking about that, but wanted to mention it just in case.

              We recommend checking with the program administration department. You may need to form a new Texas LLC or you might be able to have your husband transfer 51% of his LLC membership interest to you (which can be done via an Assignment of LLC Membership Interest form). Feel free to followup here if you gather more information.

              Regarding a holding company, can you provide more context around which company would be the Parent LLC and which company would be the Child LLC?

              • Thank you and you’re welcome…..the holding company would be my husband’s LLC which is already created and I was think of “umbrellaing” my company under his…..

                • We recommend checking with the program administration department since if your LLC is wholly owned by another company (which isn’t owed by a Veteran), your LLC may not be eligible for the program. Can I ask the reason you’re interesting in having your new LLC owned by your husband’s existing LLC?

                  • I have been a painter for over 10 years and my company is a sole proprietor. I want to open a small car dealership. Can I put both businesses in one LLC?

                    • Hi Ruben, you’ll need to check with the Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent agency) in your state. Because auto dealers are licensed, the state may not allow other business activities to be conducted within the same LLC.

  4. I have an idea for an apparel line, a great logo, and am not sure about the DBA/LLC part of it.
    Lets start with my amazing logo, it’s catchy and what I REALLY want to build my product line around, call it “Become ABC” with an amazing motto and logo incorporating the name… But, I want to name the company ABC Apparel LLC, to allow growth for future products?
    Would I need a separate DBA for each?
    Could I sell the “Become ABC” brand, as a product of “ABC Apparel LLC”?
    Should I Trademark each 2 word phrase separately to protect them, or does an LLC protect the DBA Name(s)?
    “ABC Apparel TM” and “Become ABC TM”
    *The examples used are fictitious, but it’s identical to my situation.

    • Hi Colby, if reading this correctly, it sounds like there’s an LLC that owns everything: “ABC Apparel LLC”. That LLC will own 2 DBAs: “ABC Apparel” and “Become ABC”. DBAs have very little rights to their name (in most states), so if things really take off, you could file two federal trademarks as well: “ABC Apparel” and “Become ABC”. Note: the 2 DBAs and the 2 federal trademarks would be owned by “ABC Apparel LLC”. That allows for proper ownership (everything is owned by the LLC), the LLC has the right to do business under 2 names besides its true and legal and name (the 2 DBAs), and the LLC has protection on it’s 2 “brand names” (the 2 federal trademarks). Hope that helps.

  5. Can I use one LLC for different business models? example, professional consulting and real-estate management?

  6. Thank you for the valuable site. We have a LLC in Texas, a small trucking business established 3 years ago. That particular business is not profitable, though it is sustaining, so we have been cutting the size and preparing to eventually close and move into a second industry. We have started the process of opening the second business under the existing LLC and requested a tax certificate as the new business involves retail. We chose to use the existing LLC as it provided the ability for us to obtain some accounts needed for the new business, and as the LLC is already established and in good standing it saved some start up cost. My question and concern is how the two are bound in liability terms. Our goal is to close the initial business this year and hopefully with no debt but what if that is not possible? Is the new business liable for the debt owed by the initial business operated under that same LLC?

    • Hi Tod, an easier way to think of this is not that you have multiple businesses, but rather you have one entity (the LLC) and that entity has multiple business activities. So yes, it’s all still one entity and is therefore liable for any events/actions it has partaken in or will partake in. To separate any potential liability exposure would require a new entity being formed. Hope that helps.

  7. This site is money! So much info. Thanks! We have one business running under our LLC and are wanting to add another. The second business will have a partner where the first business is soley ours. For tax purposes and to add a partner would you suggest opening a second LLC? Thank you!!!

    • Thanks Hales! It’s much better to form a new LLC if you are bringing on a new owner who is not a part of the first business. It’s actually difficult to create a clear division of “business ownership” within one LLC. If you added the new person as a Member of the existing LLC then they would own whatever that LLC owns. Hope that helps.

  8. If I have multiple DBA’s under one LLC, can more than one DBA be assigned to the business bank account or only one? Meaning can I deposit checks into the LLC account from multiple different DBAs?

    • Hi Robert, yes, this is most often allowed. You just need to register those DBA names with your bank. Hope that helps.

  9. Hi sir my question is this I have two businesses one is transportation and other one is medical billing management so I need two LLC’s for both or I can run multiple businesses under one LLC ? Please clear me thanks in advance and happy 2020….

    • Hi Bilal, an LLC can have two businesses under itself, however, if you want to keep the liability in each business separate from the other, then forming two LLCs would be the route to go. Hope that helps.

  10. Thank you, Matt! This is the clearest description and explanation I’ve ever read on LLC over the years. Appreciate it! All the best in YR2020 :)

    • You’re very welcome Sue! Thanks so much for your awesome comment! Same to you :)

  11. So I have two business I’m going to put under one L.L.C., but how do I do that? Would you have your first business name L.L.C. & say the next business name on that same line?

    • Hi Tera, it’s better to think about it like this: you’ll have two types of business activities operating under one legal entity (your LLC). Your LLC just has one legal name; the LLC name. However, your LLC can also operate using one DBA Name or multiple DBA Names (aka Fictitious Name, Assumed Name, or Tradename). The purpose of the DBA(s) is to make the name of your business(es) easier for customers/clients to identify with. Here are some options:
      1. ABC Company LLC does business under the name ABC Company LLC and both Business 1 and Business 2 are operated under the name ABC Company LLC.
      2. Business 1 is run under the name ABC Company LLC and Business 2 is run under the name My Business Two, which is a DBA owned by ABC Company LLC.
      3. Business 1 is run under the name My Business One, which is a DBA owned by ABC Company LLC and Business 2 is run under the name My Business Two, which is a DBA owned by ABC Company LLC.

  12. Is it possible to make two separate LLCs for one business or company, but have different owners of the two different LLCs. For example, starting up a food company in which there are 4 members total and two want to start an LLC for themselves and two for the other LLC, but ultimately work together under the same business name or branch of the same business name. Both would want to file their own taxes separately if possible and keep finances ultimately separate, but operate under the same business name and company.

    • Hi Hillary, I see. It’s like two teams of 2 coming together as a team of 4. In this case, you might want to consider that Team A forms their own LLC (“Team A LLC”) and Team B forms their own LLC (“Team B LLC”) and after those LLCs are approved, you all form a new LLC called “The Best Food Co LLC”. The Best Food Co LLC is not owned by individual people, but rather it is owned by Team A LLC and Team B LLC. As an alternative to that, Team A LLC and Team B LLC could also operate under a Joint Venture Agreement, but something like that would be best drafted by an attorney and you’d need to consider which name you’ll use to operate and how the rights to the name are handled. Hope that helps.

  13. Hi Matt,

    My husband opened an LLC Auto Connection a fews years ago for a used car lot we were going to open and didnt. We do however have a booming DJ entertainment business and my husband says we are proctected through his orginal LLC (Auto Connection) Can the businesses be different under one LLC. Also I have been filing self employment taxes under Wolff Productions…should I be filing under the Auto Connection name? Thank you

    • Hi Tracy, just forming an LLC doesn’t protect any and all activities. The business needs to be run through the LLC. For example, any contracts are in the LLC name, the bank account is owned by the LLC, any insurance is in the LLC name, etc. At quick glance, it sounds like that’s not the case in your situation. It sounds like Wolff Productions is just a DBA Name (aka Trade Name or Fictitious Name) for a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership. Hope that helps.

  14. Hi, I am a real estate agent and have an LLC established for my business in a state that has state income tax (Utah). I am soon moving to Florida (no state income tax) and will be maintaining my license in both states, operating under 2 different real estate companies. Should I establish a new LLC in Florida or can both my Utah and Florida businesses be under the same LLC?

    • Hi Jackie, in Florida, as per Section 475.161, if you form an LLC, its name has to be your licensed name followed by the designator “LLC” or “L.L.C.”. I’m going to assume your Utah LLC doesn’t have that name. Please let me know if otherwise. Typically, you can’t operate a Florida business through an out-of-state LLC unless that LLC is registered to do business in Florida as a foreign LLC. The form to register a foreign LLC is the “Application by Foreign Limited Liability Company for Authorization to Transact Business in Florida“. However, if you look at #1 and the line beneath it, it looks like you can only override your Utah LLC name if it’s not available in Florida. However, that would make the name fail to meet the requirements of 475.161. We tried to call the FL Division of Corporations (850-245-6051) and check on this, but because they are implementing new systems and are very busy (January is busy), we’ve been unable to get through. Meaning, you may be able to register your Utah LLC in Florida as a foreign LLC and override the Utah LLC name to make it “Licensed Name LLC”, however, you’ll need to call and confirm. We recommend waiting a few weeks until their activity slows down and/or try calling right when they open at 8am Eastern. On the other hand, you can form an LLC in Florida and name it “Licensed Name LLC”. Then apply for your real estate in your own name. Then you’ll need to file Form RE-16 with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (the parent organization of the Florida Real Estate Commission). You can find the RE-16 on this page: FL Department of Business and Professional Regulation: Sales Associate or Broker Sales Associate Add/Remove PA, LLC, PL, or PLLC. Click “Apply Using a Printable Application” to access the form. If you have any questions for the Real Estate Commission, their number is 850-487-1395. Regarding state taxes, you’ll need to speak with an accountant. You’ll likely need to file two state returns and apportion your income. Hope that helps!

  15. Hello, I’m a business owner with an already established LLC. I recently became licensed as a real estate agent in FL, where by law my LLC’s name needs to be my licensed name ie. Judy, LLC. My question is: can I merge the two businesses via DBA or would I require an independent LLC for real estate? Thank you so much for your help.

    • Hi Judy, what is your current LLC being used for? Likely, you can either merge the LLCs and amend the surviving LLC’s name or just form a new LLC using the required “LICENSED NAME, LLC” requirement, as set forth by the Florida Real Estate Commission. It may be easier to form a new LLC as we recommend hiring an attorney to merge two Florida LLCs. Hope that helps.

  16. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for explaining the different options we can take when it comes to a LLC. Super simple and easy to grasp!

    I do have one question. What if I first start off using the LLC as itself and later in the future I decide to create a DBA under the same LLC? Is that a normal business practice?

    I feel like creating another LLC would be a better approach, but I would like to hear your opinion.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Manny, you’re very welcome! We’re glad it was so helpful. Yes, you can certainly form an LLC now and have that LLC operate using its true and legal name. Then, down the road, if needed, you can create a DBA owned by your LLC. At that point, your LLC can do business under its true and legal name in addition to the DBA name or just do business under the DBA name. When it comes to whether or not one should form a new LLC, it’s up to you and how much liability risk you think there may be. For example, two business activities run under one LLC (whether or not there is a DBA in place) means all liability falls upon that one LLC. If you create two LLCs, then the activities that take place under each LLC and separate and protected from one another. Hope that helps.

  17. You made it make so much sense. But to make sure, if I’m doing a small business selling hair and hair supplies for one business and doing custom furniture for another small business, that could be under one LLC? But they have to be registered separately? Or do they both need to be separate llc?

    • Hi Tana, thank you! Yes, selling hair/hair supplies and doing custom furniture could be run under one LLC. If you were to do that, then it would just be 1 LLC formation. You may want to consider using a generic LLC name like “Tana Enterprises LLC” or forming an LLC (with any name you like) and having 1 or 2 DBA names for the different activities… so things make more sense to customers. For example, you could form an LLC called “TJ Ventures LLC” and your LLC can do business under “Beauty Hair Supply” in addition to “TJ’s Custom Furniture”. So to the customers, it feels like two businesses, but behind the scenes, it’s just 1 LLC. If your business needed to sign a contract, your company would be listed as TJ Ventures LLC d/b/a Beauty Hair Supply. That’s the correct way to do it. And if you decide to create a DBA name (or names) make sure the DBAs are owned by your LLC and not by you. For more info on DBAs, please see does my LLC need a DBA. Hope that helps!

  18. I am starting a rental business and forming a LLC in Florida and it will be called ABC Rental LLC. I will be renting generators, pressure washers, fans, dehumidifiers, large wet and dry vacuums ect. While the business gets off the ground I want to do pressure washing, cleaning and other maintenance work. Can I do both under ABC RENTAL LLC?

    Thank you,

    Joe S.

    • Hi Joe, if you’d like, you can have the rental activities and the services all operate through ABC Rental LLC. Hope that helps.

  19. Hey I have a lawn care business established and want to make that a LLC, I’m also getting into real estate, flipping houses. I understand I can run both under one LLC with a DBA. Is it best to keep them separate being that real estate can bring in 3x the money as a small lawn care business, or do you think it’s less complicated to keep both under one LLC for tax purposes etc. Basically what would you do in this business situation??

    • Hi Devin, in a situation like this, I think it’s more important to consider liability exposure. Since both businesses do have the potential for liability, I think most would prefer to operate each under its own LLC to keep the activities isolated. Meaning, an issue in your lawn care business wouldn’t affect your real estate assets (and vice versa). The amount of taxes paid will be the same in 1 LLC or 2 LLCs. Hope that helps.

  20. Hi Matt! This article has been very Helpful! I have a question, My mom formed an for a LLC for a business with another person, however, things just didnt work out between them. Now the LLC is just sitting there not being used. My mom said that she is thinking of dismantling it.
    I want to start my own business, Instead of creating an LLC from scratch, can I just take the LLC from my mom, change the names, remove names and information, and use it? It would really save me money. Please let me know! Thanks!

    • Hi Ruth! That is wonderful to hear :)

      We recommend forming a new LLC. Selling/transferring LLC Membership interest is a complicated process and we recommend hiring an attorney (so it would cost a lot more if done correctly).

      Here’s the overview… First, the Operating Agreement would need to be carefully reviewed for any rules regarding transfers of LLC membership interest. If there were no issues, the existing two Members would need to transfer their LLC membership interest to you. This can be done via an Assignment of LLC Membership Interest form. Then the Operating Agreement would need to be amended. The state filing (Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, or Certificate of Formation) may need to be amended. Form 8832 would need to be filed with the IRS to change the tax classification from LLC taxed as a Partnership to LLC taxed as a Sole Proprietorship. Form 8822-B would need to be filed with the IRS to change the EIN Responsible Party. You’ll then need to update the account with the state Department of Revenue/Taxation (or equivalent agency). You’ll then all need to visit the bank together, bring all the proper paperwork (call the branch manager ahead of time), have the old singers removed, and have yourself added to the account as the only signer… or close that bank account and open a new LLC bank account. You’d have to speak with your accountant to make the sure taxes are properly accounted for and that a final 1065 return is filed. Bookkeeping/records will need be handed over and accounted for.

      Also, by becoming the sole Member of the LLC, you inherit all the LLC’s assets and all the LLL’s liabilities (some you may not know about). For example, there could be outstanding credit card debt. There could also be outstanding contracts that need to be accounted for. There could be direct deposits or auto-debits that need to be accounted for. There could be online registrations, accounts that were set up, utilities, bills, etc. that need to be transitioned over to your control. All in all, this is prone to errors, issues, headaches, and costs.

      It’s definitely safer and more affordable to form a new LLC. We have LLC filling instructions for every state. Hope that helps!

  21. Hello, thank you for your time. My husband has set up an LLC with a partner. The partner started operating another business within the business. The profits are all going to our the partner. We did not know of the second business, until we discovered the checks going thru are accounts. What can I do to recoup the losses I have suffered due to his mismanagement of our funds. Can he do this legally? I’m hoping I started this clearly enough. Thank you for any suggestions you can get us.

    • Hi Lisa, whoa… that’s not a good situation. There could certainly be breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, and a number of other issues. We definitely recommend getting an attorney involved in a matter like this. We’re unable to say “you should do this” or “you should do that”. An attorney will help assess the situation, look at the paperwork, review the agreements (actual agreements, emails, and oral agreements, if applicable in your state), and provide a recommended course of action. There may a very particular way to exit this partnership if things come to that. We hope you get to the bottom of things.

  22. I am the minority owner of an LLC DBA another business name. Recently without my knowledge my business partner decided he wanted to change the name on our DBA to be easier to understand. I recently found out that business is it’s own registered LLC under the main LLC I am a partner of but that’s not was in on my operating agreement. WE are also building a second branch so therefor the second branch has it’s own LLC as well. Is this copasetic. I am just a small owner of the business but it caused alarm for me.

    Thanks

    • Hi Ross, we don’t think it’s very cool of your partner to do something like that without communicating with you. However, we can’t understand what exactly happened from your message, so can’t comment with specificity. We hope you get things sorted out :)

  23. Hey Matt, I own a construction company that builds and remodels homes. We have recently built out a space for our offices and are building out a new custom cabinet shop. We have 5 employees and they will split time working between the building company and the cabinet shop. Legacy Homes and Renovation LLC doesn’t really lend itself to a future client knowing you are a cabinet shop so we though about creating a DBA for the cabinet shop under the original LLC. We thought it would be easier bc then the guys are still reporting their time to the same place and payroll doesn’t get split up etc. Good idea or bad?

    • Hey Mike, you can certainly operate both businesses under 1 LLC and file a DBA for branding/marketing purposes. As things grow, if you’d like more liability protection, you can form a new LLC for the cabinet shop. You don’t have to though, as there is a trade-off there, meaning consolidated payroll and keeping your systems simple. We recommend carrying insurance if you don’t already. It’s a “weigh the scales” kind of decision. Hope that helps.

  24. Hi Matt,
    Can you tell me how to add multiple DBA’s under one LLC? As in, do I complete that paper work at my local county office? I recently completed the LLC paperwork for our company in California and didn’t see any place to add the DBA’s in the application.

    • Hi Mike, DBAs in California are filed at the county-level (the county where the principal place of business is located). You’ll need to get in touch with the county for their forms and instructions. Within 30 days of registering the DBA for your LLC, you must also publish a statement in a local newspaper of general circulation near the principal place of business. The notice must appear once a week for 4 successive weeks. The newspaper will send you an Affidavit after the ad has run. You must then file the Affidavit with the city or county. For more information, please see California Franchise Tax Board: Guide to DBAs. A hassle, I know, but I hope that helps.

  25. Hi Matt,

    I want to start a online real estate brokerage company. I’m not a licensed broker and plan to hire a licensed broker, since only licensed brokers can obtain a real estate brokerage license from the state.
    However, anyone wanting to be a partner or officer in the brokerage needs to be a licensed broker as well.
    Is it possible that I can from an LLC with two businesses, one would be the real estate brokerage with the hired broker and a tech firm under which I would be the officer? Or do I have form two LLCs one brokerage and the other tech firm both under one DBA?
    Or is there another way to do this?
    Your advice will be much appreciated!
    Thanks!

    • Hi Mo, you’ll first want to check with the state real estate commission (or equivalent agency) in your state. They often have specific requirements for real estate companies operating through LLCs. Even if you can operate the real estate company and the tech business in the same LLC, you may not want to. Your bookkeeping will be more difficult and there is no liability protection between the two different business activities. You may also want to have one business taxed differently than the other in the future. Or sell a business, etc. Hope that helps.

  26. Hey Matt!
    Thanks for all the great info. I am a Maker and operate a small LLC doing custom work. I have developed a new product line that has unique insurance and liability requirements (fire pits) and therefore I plan to make a seperate LLC for that product family. Can they both operate under the aegis of my original business? I am hoping to sell them through my already built web store but I want to make sure that I am doing everything legally.
    Thanks so much for all your help
    -m

    • Hey Matt! You’re very welcome. So you’ll have two LLCs (one for the maker/custom work business and one for the fire pits), but you want them to “operate” through the existing website (I assume the website is owned by the maker/custom work LLC). If that’s the case, it can be done, but it wouldn’t be both “operating”… and you’ll want an agreement in place. Meaning, “Fire LLC” could pay a service fee to “Maker LLC” to sell its product on Maker LLC’s site. So it’s not two businesses operating under the same aegis (“shield” for others reading), but it’s two separate LLCs operating independently and they have a contractual agreement so Maker LLC can sell Fire LLC’s fire pits on its site. You could also have the website jointly owned by 2 LLCs. Not sure we’re able to think about and unpack all the pros and cons of the different ways this could be done, but I hope that helps a bit.

      • Wonderful. Thanks so much and for all you’re doing with this site.
        Just read your About and I dig the mission. I have a similar project (makefixanything.org). We will help anyone make or fix nearly anything (free!). It’s like LLC University for physical stuff.
        If there’s anything we can help you with please reach out!
        best
        -m

        • Hey Matt, you’re very welcome. Thank you! Make Fix Anything sounds awesome man, great vibes! Thank you, will do!

  27. Hello Matt, my name is Quadrae and I wanted to know is it possible to separate my name from my LLC after it is formed? I had a company form an LLC for me and wasn’t aware of the differences of filling. Thank you for the information that you and your team provided, also very knowledgable.

    • Hi Quadrae, when you say “separate” your name, what specifically do you mean? Is it appearing on a form and you don’t want it there? If so, which form and which line/section?

  28. Hi Matt! I started a consulting company using just my name and Independent Consultant. I got insurance in my name for this business. I have consulting contracts in my name that are being extended through 2021. So, I am starting an LLC under a different name and am wondering: 1) do I have to get my contract changed to the LLC name (that’s not easy to do), 2) do I have to change the name on my insurance? , or 3) do I just form the LLC and list my sole proprietor name as a business under the LLC or ??? It’s a single member LLC and I am also the sole proprietor. Thanks in advance for any guidance. You have a fabulous site and the information is very helpful. Best wishes for a happy holiday season!

    • Hi Tammi! Thank you very much :) In this case, yes, you’d want your contracts under the name of your LLC. This can be done via an assignment of contract, however, you’ll want to review the contract to see if it prevents an assignment or if it requires agreement of the parties to allow an assignment. If it’s not possible, you can just fulfill those agreements under your own name and then get new contracts in the name of your LLC going forward. You’ll want to call your insurance agent and see the best route to take (this varies among providers and underwriters). It might be a new policy, it might be a name change, or it might be adding the LLC as an additionally insured party. Hope that helps.

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question in so much depth. I realize it is a “labor of love” for you to provide assistance to so many people. Your comments clarified the issues for me and I now know how to proceed. Just want you to know you are appreciated!!

        • Tammi, you are very welcome. And you are so kind! Thank you so much!! :)

  29. Hello,

    This is the best information I’ve found on having multiple LLC’s! I’m looking to start a podcast and a coaching business, my podcast will have a different name than my coaching business. They are pretty much the same thing, I will be using my podcast to promote it and I will have the same website for both. Should I get one LLC for both or would you suggest getting separate ones? Thank you!!

    • Thanks Aliza! If you’re just starting out, it may be easiest to have 1 LLC and 1 DBA or 2 DBAs (instead of 2 LLCs). For example, you can form an LLC called “All About Aliza LLC”. That LLC has a DBA called “Aliza’s Podcast” and another DBA called “Coaching by Aliza”. In both instances, it’s really the LLC that is conducting the business. The LLC just has 2 nicknames.

      As another example, you could form an LLC called “Coaching by Aliza, LLC”. And then that LLC has 1 DBA called “Aliza’s Podcast”.

      Or you could form 2 LLCs: “Aliza’s Podcast, LLC” and “Coaching by Aliza, LLC”. That could be something to consider if you think there is a lot of liability, or the business really grows and it becomes advantageous (or easier administratively) to have 2 LLCs. Hope that helps :)

      • Hello Matt, so let’s say I have an LlC. (the painters Llc) and 1 DBA ( Esme’s clothing)!! When legally referring to Esme’s Closet is it (the painters Llc dba Esme’s closet)? And when advertising for Esme’s closet does that apply as well? Thank you in advance!!

        • Hi Esmeralda, yes, when legally referring to the company (especially in legal documents and contracts), you’d list the company as The Painter’s LLC dba Esme’s Closet. It is also best practice to include a legal disclosure in your advertising showing the LLC name and the DBA. You don’t need it in the header/logo area, but it’s best practice to include it somewhere in your advertising. Hope that helps.

  30. I have 1 LLC that runs 3 businesses. Is it ok to file 3 separate sch c for each business model under that 1 LLC?

    • Hi Markita, yes, you can. Typically, closely related activities can be grouped together on one Schedule C. And unrelated activities can be reported on multiple Schedule Cs. Hope that helps.

  31. Can I register a DBA to try out my company and then register as an LLC at a later date?

    • Hi Tori, in that case, the first DBA is just a DBA for you as a Sole Proprietorship. To flip it around, you’d be testing your business idea by operating as a Sole Proprietorship. The Sole Proprietorship can have a DBA name, but it doesn’t have to. I’m guessing you’d rather not spend the money on the LLC until you know the business is a good idea?

      • Yes, exactly Matt. I just want to make sure the name is registered and then spend the money on an LLC at a later date. If the business does not do well, then I wouldn’t have spent so much money getting an LLC.

        • Hi Tori, what state are you in? Depending on the state, there is still a fee for a DBA name. Furthermore, depending on the state, you might not be able to form an LLC with the same name as an existing DBA. And transferring the DBA to your LLC in the future, while might accomplish what you want, could end up being more of a headache. Said another way, there may be an easier way to accomplish what you want. Are you just trying to lock down the name and save money? Or are you looking to validate the business idea?

          • I am in Texas.
            What I want is to have Company A to be the LLC name and the DBA is Business #1, then I will have Business #2. Both are technology companies, but different names.
            So it will be Company A doing business as Business #1. Does that make sense? I may be totally backwards. :)

            • Hi Tor, no, that’s a little hard to follow. Instead of calling them businesses, think of the “things” as either an LLC (the legal entity), a DBA (a nickname for the LLC), and business activity (what the LLC does). Can you rephrase your question? Or maybe provide some dummy names.

              • Hello Matt,
                Mouse Technology, LLC
                Apps For You, DBA
                The Cell Phone App, DBA

                I want multiple companies to be under one LLC.

                • Hey Tori, that’s helpful. Okay, so here’s the “fix”. Don’t think of having multiple companies. You only have one company, and that’s Mouse Technology LLC. Mouse Technology LLC registers two DBAs (Apps For You & The Cell Phone App). Mouse Technology LLC can do business under the names Mouse Technology LLC, Apps For You, and The Cell Phone App. Mouse Technology LLC engages in multiple different business activities. Said another way, Mouse Technology LLC engages in multiple business activities under various different names. Hope that helps.

  32. Hi.
    I currently have a LLC. Let’s call it Company A. But I want to form other businesses under that LLC, but I want them to be LLCs under that LLC owned by company A. Is that possible.

    • Hi Jeff, yes, you can form a new LLC, “Company B LLC”, and that LLC can be owned by “Company A LLC”. If owners (called Members) are required to be listed on Company B LLC’s filing form (an Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, or Certificate of Formation), you’d list Company A LLC. If not, then Company A LLC will be listed as the Member in the LLC Operating Agreement. To clarify, Company A LLC will be listed as the Member in the LLC Operating Agreement in either situation. Hope that helps.

  33. Matt,

    Thanks for the great article and forgive me if you have already answered a question like mine. I currently have two S Corps, 1 in CA and 1 in NV, same type of business. We moved out CA to NV and house all our inventory in NV but still provide services for CA. My question, is it beneficial to ‘close’ my S Corp in CA (since we have no physical address in CA) and file it’s dba under my S Corp in NV? This would make two dba’s for my NV corporation? Hope that made sense! I know I will have to pay the Franchise Fee of $800 but my thought is I would save on insurance and some payroll expense.

    • Hi Kyle, you can close the S-Corp in CA to save on insurance and payroll expenses. And yes, you can create a DBA owned by your Nevada entity (with a name similar to the CA S-Corp). Depending on the nature of the services provided for CA, it could be deemed that the Nevada company is doing business in California and would then to foreign quality in order to do business in California.

  34. Hi Matt –

    I currently have an LLC in Washington state for my acupuncture service in one location. I am looking to expand my service to another location which would be 10 minutes drive from the current location. The type of business would be identical in the two locations (the two locations would also be within the same county)

    Do I really need to create a second LLC for this? Thanks so much in advance!

    • Hi Brian, no, you are not required to form a new LLC for this. One LLC can operate two business locations (or dozens; there is no limit). One thing to keep in mind, if you are considered purchasing buildings where your LLC is doing business, you may want to form a new LLC for this. This separates and isolates liability. And in this example, the LLC that owns the building would lease the building to your other LLC. Hope that helps.

      • Matt – thanks so much your clear and detailed answer! This helps a lot!

  35. Hi Matt, I reside in Illinois and currently have one LLC (JuMac Candies LLC.) This LLC was created for my candy business, but now I’ve stared a cosmetic business (Diamond Kutt Kisses) that I operate under the JuMac Candies LLC. entity. I was told that in order to receive any type of funding, or to even open a business checking account, under the Diamond Kutt business, I would first have to register the name. Is this true? I was under the assumption that, registering a DBA name was not a Requirement, but simply just a way of protecting your business name from others. Is this not accurate information? I just don’t want to be doing anything illegal. Thanks

    • Hi Carla, did you file a DBA (aka Fictitious Name, Trade Name, Assumed Name) for “Diamond Kutt Kisses” owned by JuMac Candies LLC? Also, what state is the LLC formed in and in what state are you conducting business? Some states don’t require DBAs to be registered, but most do.

      • No, I didn’t file a DBA for Diamond Kutt Kisses. The LLC is formed in Illinois and conducts business locally and online.

        • Okay thank you. Do you want your LLC to do business under the name Diamond Kutt Kisses or is Diamond Kutt Kisses just a product name? And what again were you trying to do in the first place? Open a business bank account under the name Diamond Kutt Kisses?

          • Yes, I’m wanting my LLC to do business under the name Diamond Kutt Kisses. Yes, I’m also wanting to open a business account for Diamond Kutt Kisses, as well as seek funding to help build my business credit. Funding such as business lines of credit and small business loans.

            • Hi Carla, okay, thank you very much. In that case, if you want JuMac Candies LLC to engage in business activity under the name Diamond Kutt Kisses, your LLC needs to register an Assumed Name for Diamond Kutt Kisses. Note: DBAs in Illinois are called Assumed Names. The bank will also want to see your Assumed Name registration.

              You can keep 1 bank account (and deposit money paid to both JuMac Candies LLC and Diamond Kutt Kisses) or you may be able to open a separate bank account for Diamond Kutt Kisses (which may make finances, accounting, and taxes easier). Keep in mind though with the two bank accounts, that it’s just one legal entity (your LLC) with two bank accounts. And overall, it’s one legal entity (your LLC) doing business. JuMac Candies LLC engages in the candy business and JuMac Candies LLC engages in the cosmetic business under the Assumed Name of Diamond Kutt Kisses. Hope that helps :)

              • Yes it totally helps. Thank you so much for your time and information. You are doing an AMAZING thing on this platform. A little information can go a long way. I love how you respond so quickly and so clearly. You make it plain according to each person’s situation, and not leaving us more confused than when we first asked a question. Lol KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!!! THANKS AGAIN!!!!

                • YOU ARE SUPER WELCOME CARLA! Thank you so much for your kind words and positivity. So happy I could help :-)

  36. If I’m operation multiple business myself under one LLC and both are very different businesses. Would I share one bank about for each business or is it safe to just have one account providing I keep track of all profits and expenses?

    • Hi Stephanie, great question. Actually, please see my reply right above this where I answered Carla’s question (it’s a similar situation). I’ll reply here though too, but phrase it slightly different to make it clear. Your LLC can engage in multiple business activities and keep those activities under one bank account or your LLC can open two (or more) LLC bank accounts to make accounting, finances, and taxes easier. Your LLC can have multiple bank accounts all under its name or it can have multiple bank accounts and some of those accounts can be under a DBA name which is owned by the LLC. The DBA name depends whether or not your LLC will be engaging in business activities under a name other than its true and legal name. Hope that helps.

  37. Hi Matt this article is really informative I can’t find other article that is as direct as this.

    I just have one question, can I use 1 llc name for 2 website with different industry, different logo and brand name, for example ABC LLC will own ABC clothing and ZXY electronics.

    Do the invoice need to be under 1 business name which is the llc?
    I hope you can help me with this, thank you in advance.

    • Hi Allan, that’s awesome to hear :) If your LLC (ABC LLC) will be doing business under the name ABC Clothing and ZXY Electronics, the LLC needs to register both of those names as a DBA/Fictitious Name. The invoice can just have the DBA name if you’d like or it can state ABC LLC dba ABC Clothing, for example.

  38. Hi Matt,

    I am a realtor in Washington and my husband is a realtor in Idaho. Would it be best to create an LLC together or separately?

    Thank you in advanced!

  39. Hi Matt! Thanks for this helpful article.

    I live in Texas and I have a photography business that’s a DBA/sole proprietorship and has its own bank account already. After reading this post, I probably didn’t have to file a DBA since the photo business is my name + photography, but I was unsure 10 years ago when I filed it.

    I am wanting to start a bookkeeping business and create an LLC to separate the personal liability. I was thinking to create an umbrella LLC and operate both photography and bookkeeping under it.

    Can I move an existing DBA under the new LLC? Or would I have to create a new DBA to “move” the photography business under the umbrella LLC and open new bank accounts?

    • Hi Catie! You’re very welcome. When you say “Umbrella LLC”, what do you mean? This term is often ambiguous since people use the term in different ways. Some people mean 1 LLC that engages in multiple different business activities (with or without DBAs) while others mean an LLC that owns other LLCs (also called a holding company LLC).

      Let’s call your new LLC “Catie & Co LLC” and your existing DBA “Catie Smith Photography”.

      Do you want Catie & Co LLC to engage in both photography and bookkeeping? If so, you’ll have personal liability protection from events that occur in the photography arm of the business and the bookkeeping arm of the business. However, the bookkeeping arm of the business isn’t protected from the photography arm of the business (and vice versa). Is that a concern?

      In Texas, a DBA (called an Assumed Name) is filed at the state-level for LLCs and at the county-level for Sole Proprietorships. Furthermore, Assumed Names in Texas have no exclusive rights in their name (as per Chapter 71 of the Texas BOC). So if Catie & Co LLC wants to register an identical Assumed Name called “Catie Smith Photography”, the LLC can just file Form 503 (Assumed Name Certificate) with the Texas Secretary of State. There is no need to transfer the existing Assumed Name. If that’s the route you take, you can contact the County Clerk where the original “Catie Smith Photography” is filed and ask for instructions on how to cancel (aka withdraw or abandon) that Assumed Name.

      • Wow! Thanks for such a thorough answer.

        To answer your question, I believe I want to have an LLC engaging in two different DBA businesses – photography and bookkeeping.

        To clarify, so if I want my current DBA to be “under” the LLC, I just have to file a form with the Secretary of State and go back to the county where I filed it originally to cancel it.

        Do new bank accounts need to be established for the new LLC? And then I would close my previous photography DBA bank account?

        Thanks in advance.

        • You’re welcome Catie! Yes and no (but mostly no from a technical perspective). Important detail: your current DBA isn’t moving under your LLC. After your LLC is approved, your LLC is going to register a DBA called “Catie Smith Photography”, which just happens to be the same name as an existing DBA (which is owned by you). Said another way, because your initial DBA has no unique rights in its name (you can’t prevent others from having an identical DBA name), your LLC is filing its own, new DBA, which happens to also be called “Catie Smith Photography”.

          Yes, you’ll need a new bank account for your LLC (please see LLC bank account). And yes, you can eventually close the bank owned by you and associated with the 1st “Catie Smith Photography” DBA.

          Taking things a step further, your LLC can have one bank account or two bank accounts.

          1st example: Catie & Co LLC opens an LLC bank account and “attaches” “Catie Smith Photography” and “Catie Smith Bookkeeping” to the account. By “attach”, I mean you show the bank your LLC approval documents as well as the approved DBA filings. So this bank account can deposit checks made out to Catie & Co LLC, Catie Smith Photography, and Catie Smith Bookkeeping. However, all of your finances are under one account. This may or may not be ideal. It really depends on the volume of transactions.

          2nd example: Catie & Co LLC open its first bank account and attaches the “Catie Smith Photography” DBA to the account. Then Catie & Co LLC opens a 2nd bank account and attaches the “Catie Smith Bookkeeping” DBA to that account. Now the finances between the photography activities and the bookkeeping activities are separate. This may make your financial record keeping, accounting, and taxes easier. You may also personally like the organization as well.

  40. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for all of this information.

    I currently have two California DBA’S. I want to create an LLC and put the two existing DBA’S in the new LLC.

    Is this possible to do with the existing DBA’S?

    I already have a bank account in the name of one of the real estate related DBA’S, which is tied to my Real Estate Broker’s license, will that need to be changed to the new LLC name in order to be protected or can it be left as is, letting the bank know the DBA is under the new LLC, assuming I can add the existing DBA’S to the new LLC.

    Thank you for your helpful advice!!

    • Hi Suzette, no, just telling the bank that the DBA has been transferred to the LLC (or the LLC registered an identical DBA) is not enough. That original bank account is owned by you personally. You’ll need to open a new LLC bank account and “attach” the DBA name to the account. By “attach”, I mean bring your LLC approval documents, the approval for your DBA names registered by your LLC, and your LLC EIN Number. The bank will open the account in the name of the LLC and attach the DBAs.

      Now, about getting the DBAs “moved over” to the LLC. This varies by county. You’ll need to contact the County Clerk’s office where the DBAs are registered and ask if there is a process to transfer ownership. If not, you can most likely register new DBA names (this time owned by the LLC). Generally, DBA names don’t have exclusive rights to their name, so you may be able to register identically named DBAs, but this time with the LLC listed as the owner. However, this is a general statement. Please check with the County Clerk regarding rules of exclusive rights and transferring ownership of DBAs.

      You’ll also need to speak with the California Department of Real Estate. California Real Estate brokers can now operate through LLCs because of Assembly Bill 687, however, there is most likely a filing/registration to make with the California Department of Real Estate for your LLC. Hope that helps :)

  41. What if I have an existing LLC for a Home Improvement Company, but want to branch out with another company, say a Trucking Company? Can I change the name of the LLC to something like Carolyn Enterprises and lump both business underneath? Or will I have to create a new LLC and get a new EIN? I understand the potential liability issue of sharing the same LLC.

    Next will one EIN suffice for both businesses under the one LLC?

    Finally, you mentioned that if the business grows, it would no longer be simple. Are you referring to the finances and books, or something else?

    • Hi Carolyn, yes, as the business activities grow, finances and bookkeeping typically get messy. Or trying to “untangle” other administrative and organizational things can be tedious after things grow.

      If you want one LLC though, here’s another thing to consider: have one LLC, but that LLC opens two different LLC bank accounts. The bank accounts can have DBAs associated with them. This will make finances more organized, but you’ll still have one LLC.

      If an LLC has one DBA or 20 DBAs, there is always just one EIN since there is always just one legal entity.

      Yes, in your example, you can file an amendment with the state to change your LLC’s name to Carolyn Enterprises LLC. Then Carolyn Enterprises LLC can registered a DBA called Carolyn Home Improvement and another DBA called Carolyn Logistics. Again, in this example, the original EIN would stay the same since the legal entity hasn’t changed.

      On the other hand, if you wanted to form a separate LLC (the new LLC would need its own EIN), you can keep Caroline Home Improvement LLC and form Carolyn Logistics LLC. You don’t necessarily have to choose one route over the other (except if there are applicable regulations or restrictions in certain industries). It’s usually a personal preference. Hope that helps.

  42. Hi, if my llc is in one state (ohio) and my dba location will be in another state (Michigan). Where would I file for dba?

    • Hi Autumn, if your Ohio LLC is doing business in Michigan, it should first register as a foreign LLC in Michigan. Then the LLC would file a Certificate of Assumed Name with Michigan LARA. DBAs in Michigan are called Assumed Names. Hope that helps.

  43. Hi Matt,
    I would like to start a Multi-Branding business under one company! Which business type is best for that? LLC, S-Corp, Corp, C-Corp, Inc? I am confused, someone told me to register an LLC and get taxed as S-Corp! What do Matt think is more suitable and important for my Multi-Branding companies?

    • Hi Solidus, by a multi-branding business, do you mean a business that engages in multiple different business activities (with various DBA names)? If so, it seems your question is whether or not you should form an LLC or a Corporation (note: Corp, C-Corp, and Inc all refer to a Corporation or an entity taxed as a C-Corporation).

      Also (I know this is confusing), an S-Corp (aka S-Corporation) is not a legal entity like an LLC or Corporation, but rather, it is a tax election made with the IRS that “sits on top of” either an LLC or a Corporation. Typically, electing S-Corp tax treatment only makes sense (to save money on self-employment taxes) once the LLC has sufficient net income to justify and offset the extra costs and administrative duties of having an entity taxed as an S-Corp. If you’re just starting out, you likely don’t want to go this route (you can always elect S-Corp tax treatment in the future). For more information, please see S-Corp taxation for LLCs.

      So back to your original question. Please see LLC vs Corporation. It’s most likely you’ll want to operate as an LLC and not a Corporation. And you’ll most likely want that LLC taxed in its default status (and not taxed as an S-Corp). Hope that helps :)

  44. Thanks for the information, I currently have a LLC ABC Customs for custom t-shirts, sublimation, etc targeted towards consumers however I am now looking to add blanks targeted to businesses and crafters. It will be all be online sales. Would you recommend filing the new business ABC Custom Blanks as a new LLC or DBA? Someone also suggested that I could apply for a name change for the established LLC such as ABC Customs and more and just start offering the blanks and custom items as 1 LLC and website

    • Hi Tiffany, you can really go any way you’d like (1 LLC with a new change, 1 LLC with a DBA, or 2 LLCs). You could also just keep the name as is. If it’s something like ABC Customs LLC, that would work for selling pretty much anything. That’s the MVP approach (“minimum viable product”; something from lean startup methodology). So you wouldn’t need to spend extra money or work on paperwork and instead could focus on product sourcing, marketing, etc.

      A DBA would be the next easiest thing. An LLC name change, while changing the name with the state isn’t challenging, you’d also have to update the IRS, the Department of Revenue (or equivalent agency in your state), and other places. It’s a bit tedious. And the 2nd LLC would be worth it if the businesses really grew and there was a benefit to separating them or you thought there was a lot of liability (and you wanted to isolate the businesses from each other). However, it sounds like you’re looking for something simpler for now. That’s me thinking out loud. Hope that helps :)

      • Thank you so much for this information it was very helpful. I will leave it as is because I was looking for the simpler solution as it’s something I’m trying out for now. I would need to update my NAICS codes for that though correct?

        • You’re welcome Tiffany :) No, you don’t need to update the NAICS code. It’s really just used as an initial classification. It’s not something you need to continually change.

  45. I have an LLC that is active but I don’t do any business with anymore – I am starting a new company and would like to know if I should just start at dba under current LLC due to inactivity or start a whole new LLC and make current LLC inactive and no longer a company? Can you please give me your opinion?

    • Hi Ashely, you can actually do either one. There isn’t a major advantage or disadvantage I can think of. However, it might be simpler to just use the existing LLC, so maybe that’s a slight advantage.

  46. Hello Matt,

    I had an LLC opened for the last 4 years. I have been trying to build business credit and just had no luck this was opened in NJ . I opened a new LLC in a different state (NYC) and formed a new LLC new bank account and got approved for buisiness credit . I dont want to have two seperate LLC’s. How can i merge/ combine everything into just one LLC and keep only one name in the same state and same adress not loose the bank accounts or credit of the one i just got?

    • Hi Janibell, there is such thing as an LLC “merger”, however, it’s a more complicated filing and we recommend hiring an attorney. You could also consider transferring the assets of the New Jersey LLC to the New York LLC and then dissolving the New Jersey LLC. Hope that helps.

  47. Hi Matt

    I have a LLC registered in the state of Wyoming (clothing brand) and I’ve recently moved to Texas. I have started a custom t-shirt printing business and now want to register my business under a LLC. My question for you is..

    – Should I transfer my current LLC to Texas, if that’s possible?
    – Should I add my new business (Custom T-shirt Request) as a DBA (its not a nickname, nor good, its a service company)?
    – Or can I just request a name change, since they both involve clothing / retail?

    ****I hope this message makes sense

    Thank you for you help!

    • Hi Charity, there are 3 ways to “move” an LLC to Texas. First, you can dissolve the Wyoming LLC and form a Texas LLC. This is the most affordable route, however, you don’t retain the EIN and the bank account and any other history. Second, you can register your Wyoming LLC as a foreign LLC in Texas. This is easier in that nothing changes with the existing LLC registration. However, you have to maintain two LLC filings. And third, you can re-domicile (called “Conversion”) in Texas. It’s essentially converting a Wyoming LLC into a Texas LLC. After the conversion, the Wyoming LLC can be dissolved. This filing will retain the EIN and bank account, however, it’s a more complicated filing and we recommend hiring an attorney. Regarding the second business, I guess that would depend on what you decide regarding moving the LLC to Texas. Feel free to reply back after you digest and look into those options. Hope that helps.

  48. Hello – I have an existing LLC where I sell my homemade crafts. It is solely mine with no partners. During the pandemic, sales have slowed but hoping they bounce back once the pandemic clears. In the meantime, my friend and I have an idea that we like to execute. But she won’t be able to partner with me for about 6 months due to her day job. Is it ok to set everything up with my LLC and then add her later? I want to keep the craft business out of the partnership. So then is It better to start a new LLC all together with the assumption of moving forward as a partnership?
    We also live in two separate states to add to the complexity’s. Thanks a ton!!

    • Hi Bonnie, it would probably be best to form a new Multi-Member LLC. Adding a Member to an LLC is actually pretty involved (3-4 different filings). You can form the LLC now or you could wait until your partner is ready to commit (just so you don’t form a new LLC and then later don’t use it). However, it also sounds like you have another business idea that you want to run with and want to do that in its own entity (and not the current LLC). So… let me know if you’d like me to explain how to add a Member later. And in what states are you both? And what kind of activities will each person be doing from each state?

      • Thanks Matt! I think that ultimately it makes the most sense to have two separate LLC’s. It sounds like the least complicated too. I live in Oregon, my partner is in Colorado. I would do a lot of the work including the financials. My partner works more on the marketing side. But also helps with the products.

        • Hi Bonnie, you’re very welcome. It it were me, and I knew this person was going to eventually commit time and energy, I’d form the Multi-Member LLC now. Again, adding a Member to an LLC later is quite involved. For example, you’d need to transfer some of your LLC membership interest and this is not not done via state-provided forms. It requires a private/customized document, such as an Assignment of LLC Membership Interest (a form we don’t provide at this time). You also would need to notify the IRS and the state department of revenue (or equivalent agency), since the taxation of the LLC will be changing. By default, a Single-Member LLC is taxed like a Sole Proprietorship. By default, a Multi-Member LLC is taxed like a Partnership. So in essence, she’d become your partner at the time the LLC was formed, but it sounds like she won’t participate until she is able to. We recommend you also have a buy-sell agreement in place. For example, let’s say you form an LLC now with you and your partner. Then later she’s not able to participate. Well she still owns the company. And in a bad-case scenario, she could make things difficult. If you have a buy-sell agreement in place, you could make stipulations that would allow you to buy her LLC membership interest. If that all sounds overwhelming, another thing to consider: wait until your partner can commit, and then form the Multi-Member LLC. Hope that helps :)

  49. Hi. I have a LLC and offer different services that could be operated under the LLC. For each service, there is a different website. For example, there is the coaching side, consulting side and other divisions that will be added. Each individual website has the main company’s name in it as well as indicate that it is an affiliate of the main company. For this, do I need to do a separate LLC or DBA or will I be OK leaving things the way it is?
    To make it make a little more sense, let’s say the main company is The ABC Group and the websites for the different services offered are ABC Consulting, ABC Distribution and ABC Solutions. On each website it says, we are an affiliate of The ABC Group. Is it ok to leave things the way they are and not worry about creating separate DBAs or LLCs or would you recommend that I do so?

    • Hi Marsha, what state is the LLC formed in? You wouldn’t be forced to create a new LLC for each of the activities. That’s a personal choice. Regarding the DBA, it depends on how the websites are being presented. If The ABC Group LLC is clearly the company that someone is engaging with and doing business with at ABCconsulting.com, then a DBA is likely not necessary. However, if is sounds like one is engaging with and doing business with a company called ABC Consulting, then a DBA is most likely required. Hope that helps.

      • Thank you for that information. It is in the state of Georgia. We are in the process of setting up the website. All of the separate divisions will be on The ABC Group LLC website. And we are making sure that The ABC Group is listed on the other websites as well so that there is no confusion when it comes to payments and invoices that show The ABC Group LLC. My only concern would be if someone decided to use one of the other names in the future and form some type of corporation. Would I then be forced to stop using the name in which I’ve branded and marketed.

        • Hi Marsha, okay, I asked about the state because in a small handful of states, DBAs aren’t required to be registered (you simply just use them). That’s not the case in Georgia. It sounds like you are making sure people know they are doing business with The ABC Group LLC on the various websites. No, if someone forms an LLC called ABC Consulting LLC, that doesn’t prevent you from using that domain name (or that DBA name if you decided it necessary to register one later). An exception to that (but not absolute) would be if ABC Consulting was registered as a state or federal trademark and was in the same industry. However, in your defense, there are common law trademark rights. It’s not a simple “black and white” answer, but I hope that helps.

  50. Thank you for all the info!
    To clarify (once again), If we have 2 DBA’s under our LLC…..
    Can we keep totally separate financials/ taxes if desired?

    • Hi Pamela, you’re very welcome. You can keep separate finances. Please confirm with an accountant, however, you can typically file two Schedule Cs if the activities are not closely related.

  51. Is it possible for two sole proprietors to function separately under the same LLC? Meaning, we each pay for our own expenses and we each pocket our own profits, as we are being paid individually by each client, but we function under the same LLC name? If so, how does this work for tax purposes? If not, do we need to form a two partner LLC? We’re currently sharing space, but are trying to create a single business name that is stream lined that we both function under. However, we prefer to keep functioning independently to keep it simpler.

    • Hi Heather, no, that would be a Multi-Member LLC. However, it sounds like it’s more important to both be operating using the same brand name. What you can do is you each form your own LLC and both LLCs register the same DBA name. For example, you own Heather Studios LLC and your friend owns Sally Studios LLC. Both Heather Studios LLC and Sally Studios LLC register a DBA called Raleigh Yoga Studios. This way, both LLCs can do business under the same name.

      And Heather Studios LLC and Sally Studios LLC enter into an agreement to share the space and use the same brand name. You may also want to put a clause in there about what happens to the space and brand name if there is a falling out. Hope that helps :)

  52. Hi – very helpful article! I’m a physician and I plan to open a medical practice with a PLLC but also starting an online course business. Do you have advice on whether I should keep them together under 1 entity or create a separate LLC for the online business? Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Iris, thank you! It depends on the state rules. What state would you be forming your PLLC in?

  53. Hi Matt…great advice here, thank you for sharing. I have a business foreign entity registration question (may not be your expertise but I’m hoping someone has some great advice). Business A is our parent LLC…then we have Business B and Business C as individual branches with their own EIN but run as dba’s to A. All set up as LLC S-corps since there a small portion of equity is given to different folks in B & C only. My question…when I’m registering the company as a foreign entity in the states that we service (we are nationwide), do I register only Business A, or should I register B & C individually in these states? Registering individually doubles my tax/payroll reporting accounts but I want to do what is best business practice. This is so confusing! lol Thanks in advance :)

    • Hi Tracie, you’re very welcome. Let me back up a first. When you say “run as DBAs to A”. That doesn’t make sense as phrased. Also, if Business A is an S-Corp and Business B and C are S-Corps, the B and C should be registered as Qualified Subchapter S Subsidiaries (QSUB or QSSS). You may have already done that, but just wanted to mention.

      It depends on which entity is doing business. For example, if Business C is expanding into Arizona, then Business C would foreign qualify. Business A wouldn’t foreign qualify unless it was also doing business in Arizona. It sounds like you have a lot going on. I’d recommend the assistance from a corporate compliance company. You may want to reach out to Harbor Compliance or Cogency Global.

  54. I have a store. But, I want to open up 3 other things underneath the same name. Would I file DBA for those 3 others under my LLC I using. So, others can locate the business. I am in Georgia. Thanks

    • Hi Tawanda, can you ask the question again but use names and more details? Feel free to make up dummy names. I want to make sure I understand the question correctly. Thank you.

  55. I have an existing, 17-year-old, company called baskets and blooms, where I sell tropical plants and then put them on a monthly plant service. I’ve just been using a schedule C on my personal taxes.
    Last March I started an Amazon FBA Company with an LLC. What do I need to do to include the tropical plant company under the LLC? Can I include the plant company automatically under the LLC for 2020?

  56. Wow! Thanks Matt for such comprehensive info on LLC’s, and for your prompt personal response to comments & questions! I hope folks are clicking on the Donations tab!! I know that I shall.

    My wife and I have 50/50 ownership in an LLC registered in Georgia. The LLC currently owns and operates a vacation rental property. My wife is starting a small design & decorating biz and wants to use a DBA/Fictitious name and to run the revenue & expenses through our existing LLC. I have 3 questions:
    1) Does she need to run a name search for the DBA through the GA Secy of State Corporations site to be sure the name is available, or can she just use the DBA as long as it’s going through our LLC, which is registered with the GA SOS?
    2) If she wanted to register the DBA or Fictitious name, how would she do that?
    3) For tax reporting purposes, since our LLC ownership is husband & wife, each with 50% ownership and we file a joint return, do we need to file a separate Partnership return?

    Many thanks in advance for your input!

    • Hi Mark, you’re very welcome! Thank you very much for your kind words and support :)

      1.) You’ll want to confirm this with the Clerk of Superior Court in your county, but typically, DBAs (called Trade Names in Georgia) don’t have any name rights. Meaning, you can register an identical Trade Name if it already exists. However, it might not hurt to do a search in your county to see if the name is unique (if that is a concern).

      2.) In Georgia, Trade Names are not filed at the state-level with the Secretary of State. Instead, they are filed at the county-level with the Clerk of Superior Court’s office (in the county or counties where you’re doing business or the property is located). So you’ll want to contact the Clerk of the Superior Court in your county for that. Please see Superior Court Clerks of Georgia: Find My Clerk.

      For more information on Trade Names in Georgia, please see Georgia Department of Banking and Finance: Trade Names (DBA Names). And don’t worry, you don’t file anything with the Department of Banking ;) They just have a helpful PDF.

      3.) Yes, the LLC needs to file a 1065 Partnership Return each March and issued K-1s to you and your wife. This is because Georgia is not a community property state (so therefore the Multi-Member husband and wife LLC can’t be taxed as Single-Member LLC/Sole Proprietorship). We have more information on that here: Qualified Joint Venture LLC.

  57. Hi Matt,

    Thank you for providing such valuable assistance. I want to pass it by you because I want to make sure to set thing up correctly (I live in Florida). Example…Robbie Enterprises, LLC. One of my business is helping small businesses establish Business Credit and obtaining Business Financing (example…Robbie Business Credit & Financing), and the other which I want to start later on is for RE Investment Properties (example…Robbie Investment Properties).

    Do you recommend having Robbie Enterprises, LLC as a holding company? The Business Credit as a separate LLC, and the Investment Properties as another separate LLC with both owned by Robbie Enterprises, LLC? I’m concern about liability later on. Or would you recommend 2 DBA’s owned by Robbie Enterprises, LLC? Or should I just create 2 completely separate LLC’s, one for the Business Credit and the other for the Investment Properties? What is my best route/what do you recommend?

    Thank you in advance for your time.

    • Hi Robbie, ​apologies for the slow reply. We got backed up on support tickets. Because of the higher risk in real estate, I think one LLC and two DBAs might not be the best solution. Regarding 2 LLCs owned by you vs. 2 LLCs owned by a holding company, it’s hard to give a “this is the best thing to do” reply. We recommend having a few conversations with an accountant and/or an attorney (or a tax attorney). Thank you for your understanding.

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