I'm planning to start few different websites and smartphone apps. I want to be able to accept payments for each. I don't want the overhead of creating different companies for each one but I want don't want customers to be confused by seeing that they are paying My Cool Parent Company LLC when they are on areallycoolwebsite.com. Is the best idea then to create one parent llc and have multiple dba's under the parent llc? And to start off, would it be cheaper to just create a dba at first until we start making money? I'd eventually want an llc because I like the liability protection.
Other possibly helpful information is I currently live in Maine and will be a one man shop, at least for a while.
Thanks for your time.
Consider a possibility that you're trying to solve a problem that might not exist.
At this point it's only your gut feeling that customers will get confused. That might or might not be the case in reality.
Start simply and cheaply as a single DBA. Start charging for your products. If the confusion ever comes up, create separate DBAs.
Dan, I get what you are saying. If you create 10 different .com's and say use PayPal Pro to collect payment you wouldn't want to pay their $30/mo for each account plus transaction fees. Same would go for Authorize .Net or whatever payment gateway you went with.
And with PayPal to get 'yourcompany' to show up on their credit card statements you would need to have a different PayPal account (or authorize.net) for each one.
And that could add up quickly.
Maybe look at someone like Envato as a model. They use their main company name on each of their sub sites / products so you KNOW it. So if they billed me as Envato I wouldn't be confused. Look at their branding for their sites / products:
I think it is a perfectly good strategy to go that route.
So what you will do is create your COOL COMPANY NAME LLC that you plan to sub-brand everything with / make it 'part of ..' or 'affiliated with..' 'a such and such company'
Then you get DBA's for each of your sub domains / products.
It's a common and effective strategy.
You can have several brand or trading names for your company. Depending on the country your in this process/formailty looks different.
The only time they will see your actual company name is on invoices say "XYZ trading as MyBrand", this is fairly common and most people are used to it.
For the products you can use Trademarks, if you want to protect these it will cost you a little or you can take the risk for now and then register them once your established.
This is generally a nice way to start off, but if any of your products can be sued legally, having them in a seperate company provides protection for the others ... practically though this can wait if your in a low risk catagory.
You should talk to a lawyer about the specifics for your country.