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

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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
country?

Asked on August 12, 2019 under Business Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 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.


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