Do I need to file a DBA or other business form to offer web services and sell web space in Michigan?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Do I need to file a DBA or other business form to offer web services and sell web space in Michigan?

I live in Michigan but recently I have
acquired some servers at datacenters in
New York and Texas. I would like to rent
out server usage and web space for
others to host their content and
websites while complying with local,
state, and federal law.

Am I required to file as a DBA or other
entity through my state or county clerk
in order to do this? Would this allow me
to do business with people living in
other states and possibly another

Asked on August 12, 2019 under Business Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You want to set up an LLC or limited liability company to protect yourself, your personal assets (e.g. house, car, money in the bank) and any income you get from other sources in the event there is a lawsuit or debt against the business (such as if you lose someone's valuable data; or violate terms of service or a contact; or sign a lease, IT service contract, etc. or take out a loan and can't pay what you are supposed to). An LLC provides strong protection (not perfect--no protection is perfect) for you from business-related debts and obligations.) 
If you set up an LLC, you can provide services not just in your own state but also to other states and even countries. Depending on how much business you do with other locations, you might have to also register the LLC as a "foreign" LLC doing business in that place, but that is easy and straightforward: you'd check the rules of any jurisdictions in which you are doing signfican business.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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