Multiple DBA’s & Business Names

Long time readers have already learned that getting the best or latest interpretation of license law always comes from the main office. When contractors grow, by ‘doing-business-as’ (DBA) a second or third license entity, how you structure those companies does make a difference. Although Dave’s not here, I will help him find his answer about what name is ‘legal’ on a contract…

Q: I’ve been getting conflicting information from the CSLB and was getting very frustrated when I came across your website! I would be very grateful if you’re able to help me with this question.

We are an ‘S’ corporation with a DBA name holding several classifications including the “C-10” (electrical), “C-20” (HVAC), and “C-46” (solar). We want to operate the business as additional DBA entities under the same corporate name. Do I have to separate the license classes (for example, the “C-20” under one and the “C-46” & “C-10” under another)? Or can I hold all 3 licenses under the new DBA?

What paperwork needs to be filled out to make this happen? I am assuming I first have to file the additional DBA with the Secretary of State. Your expertise would be greatly appreciated.

A: There is no limit to the number of dba’s you can add to one corporate license. Therefore you can do business under any number of names as long as each is tied to the same corporation and has a separate license number. You CAN separate the license classifications as long as the resulting name is not misleading. For instance you could not isolate the “C-10” on a license and ‘do-business-as’ XYZ Heating and Air.

You should check with your local city or county regarding filing a fictitious business name (dba); however, these do not need to be filed with the Secretary of State.

For each dba you will need to complete a new Application for Original Contractor’s License 7065 Waiver. This assumes you use a Qualifier who is already licensed. All officers listed on the primary corporate license must be reflected on each additional application. You will also be required to file a new bond and post a certificate of Worker’s Compensation (with the exact business name as listed on the application).

Q: I read your column in the “Builder” and have referred contractors to you and your site from time to time. I’m told, but cannot find documentation on the CSLB site, that a contractor can ONLY enter into contracts in the name EXACTLY as it appears on his license. For example, a licensee named “Dave’s Corporation, Inc, dba Dave’s Construction” can only enter into a contract in that full name, not as “Dave’s Corporation, Inc.” or “Dave’s Construction”. Have you ever done an article on this? Might I have a copy? Thank you.

A: Using your example, the correct business name to use for advertising OR contracts would either be “Dave’s Corporation, Inc, dba Dave’s Construction” or simply, “Dave’s Construction.” Visit my web site (www.cutredtape.com) and at the bottom of the page there is a function to search by topic from my past 13 years of ‘Capitol Connection’ columns. Like ‘Dave’, you don’t have to visit my office to get an answer that may be helpful. If your search isn’t successful get in touch and we’ll work together to find the best answer to your individual question.

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