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Morning people need some advice! Looking to set up a business and wanna add my kids names into it! But these companies with the same intials but in different places in the uk can I still have those intials or not!! I’m looking at doing window, conservatory, gutter, driveway and facial cleaning and maybe when winter months start do carpet cleaning!! In advice would be great thank you!!

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As far as I know you can trade under any name you want as a sole trader, as long as you don't call yourself something like Harrods. It only is a no no if you become Limited and register with Companies House and the name is already registered there. Can you not put services, cleaning, your area etc after the letters to make your name more original. The problem you might have is if you chose a name that someone else uses and they aren't very good and get terrible reviews this might impact on your business.

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Posted (edited)

As part timer says you can pretty much use any name, definitely dont use a name like harrods or any big company.  

The issue with companys like harrods are they are also trade marked. They also have deep pockets if they issue legal proceedings.

I wouldn't use any sort of name in your local area too, especially if they have a bad reputation. Also it might upset them not a issue really but best to be on good terms with fellow cleaners. 

As you are a sole trader you can just use a name like  joe trading as ABC cleaning for example. 

When you open a sole trader bank account its usually your name then your trading as details. 

 

Edited by Xyz Gen
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Posted (edited)

Joe - it's a nice thought to include your kids names but to be honest that's an indulgence - your trading name is a great opportunity to also promote your business - what you do - where (important) you do it - what you may want to communicate about your company (image/pro/local/etc)...if you think about it from your 'customers' perspective which will be most attractive to them?

ABC Cleaners
Andy Cleaners
Ashford Exterior Cleaning

You can add a lot of search engine/customer eyeball recognition by coming up with a  trading name that communicates something about you/your services which will mean they will phone say Ashford Exterior Cleaning over Andy Cleaners because they want a more processional 'firm' or indeed the other way round  - Andy Cleaners 'cos they like informal etc.

Location and what you do are a great start.

Just might want to check if anyone has trademarked the name here (https://www.gov.uk/search-for-trademark) which could cause issues - doesn't matter if they are 'just' a limited company - it's if they have trademarked it (company names) that could cause legal headaches 

Edited by NoName
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chris clean

Everything said above really! As a sole trader trade under anything but my advice is dont get hung up in the name. I've seen so many people start they're business spending days and weeks deciding a name/branding/uniform/signs for Van's etc but not doing the important bit learning the trade and advertising every hour of every day which is what you need to do at the start! Theres a lot of businesses I know that have done this and a month later they have all the kit and a push name bit give up as no money coming in! Good luck with the business

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19 minutes ago, NoName said:

Joe - it's a nice thought to include your kids names but to be honest that's an indulgence - your trading name is a great opportunity to also promote your business - what you do - where (important) you do it - what you may want to communicate about your company (image/pro/local/etc)...if you think about it from your 'customers' perspective which will be most attractive to them?

ABC Cleaners
Andy Cleaners
Ashford Exterior Cleaning

You can add a lot of search engine/customer eyeball recognition by coming up with a  trading name that communicates something about you/your services which will mean they will phone say Ashford Exterior Cleaning over Andy Cleaners because they want a more processional 'firm' or indeed the other way round  - Andy Cleaners 'cos they like informal etc.

Location and what you do are a great start.

Just might want to check if anyone has trademarked the name here (https://www.gov.uk/search-for-trademark) which could cause issues - doesn't matter if they are 'just' a limited company - it's if they have trademarked it (company names) that could cause legal headaches 

I agree, I didn't like to say it as he had his heart set on using his kids names. I'd always choose a more formal business name over initials or personal name for a professional company. Along the lines of your third example would be my choice out of the three. "Location and what you are" is good advice I reckon. Fwiw my trading name is Wiltshire Clearbright Windows. I think a formal name looks better on a van and on business cards.

No disrespect at all is intended to those who chose differently. It's my honest opinion in answer to the question asked.

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44 minutes ago, chris clean said:

Everything said above really! As a sole trader trade under anything but my advice is dont get hung up in the name. I've seen so many people start they're business spending days and weeks deciding a name/branding/uniform/signs for Van's etc but not doing the important bit learning the trade and advertising every hour of every day which is what you need to do at the start! Theres a lot of businesses I know that have done this and a month later they have all the kit and a push name bit give up as no money coming in! Good luck with the business

This is some very good advice. When I started out, I spent 1000s on equipment uniform etc. 

Don't get lost into logos, signs and all the other bits and pieces. A polo shirt will set you back £12 or so, some work trousers and a couple of business cards, you can do this in around 30 to 40 quid. 

Canvassing and flying is a no go at the minute. How many people I have currently seen on Facebook moaning about window cleaning leaflets is shocking. 

Post on selling groups and your local groups dont spam it, post maybe 3 times a week. Prime time I used too find was Sunday after 7. I wouldn't recommend yourself either, I don't think this looks professional tbh. 

Once you get a few good customers who are active on local groups ask them to recommend you it works.  Get them to leave you Google review too. 

Get on the directories to yell not paid they will call you constantly and rip you off! There are many more directories to. 

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It's very unlikely someone has managed to get a Trafemark for some random letters. If the initials convert to an actual name then you might need to check but again very unlikely.

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1 hour ago, chris clean said:

Everything said above really! As a sole trader trade under anything but my advice is dont get hung up in the name. I've seen so many people start they're business spending days and weeks deciding a name/branding/uniform/signs for Van's etc but not doing the important bit learning the trade and advertising every hour of every day which is what you need to do at the start! Theres a lot of businesses I know that have done this and a month later they have all the kit and a push name bit give up as no money coming in! Good luck with the business

It's all important to me : the name, the branding, the uniform, the signwriting.

That's the pride we have in ourselves and in showing our customers and local competitors that we are a professional trading family business. There is only one chance to make a first impression, good, bad or indifferent. I refuse to be mediocre.

If I had turned up with a tatty van and my a.. e hanging out of jogging trousers that is the impression that would be imprinted in the customers mind. Before I started the business I had everything in place to make a good first impression. All that I listed above. The van was quite old and fairly rusty in some of the edges. I didn't have the money to replace it so I had a cheap spray job done by an acquaintance and got it well sign-written. It looked really good. This served me well for the first two or three years till I was in a better position to replace it with a fresher van of the same model (Merc Vito).

In my time being employed driving for other companies, at least seven companies come to mind. they all had proper branding and sign-written vehicles. When I learnt to drive I chose British School of Motoring (branded) . When I did my HGV driving course the vehicle was well sign-written.

I fitted my own system with help gleaned from advice and studying (most of my studying was on this forum, and I will be forever grateful) and I'm very pleased with it. I taught myself the equipment and techniques that suit me for speed, reliability and efficiency.

Everything I listed is important. I have seen several traders come and go in my locality. There must have been some things that they weren't doing right.

Do it once,  do your best to get it right first time.

Very best of luck to anyone starting out.

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Part Timer said:

It's very unlikely someone has managed to get a Trafemark for some random letters. If the initials convert to an actual name then you might need to check but again very unlikely.

What like 'Ian Bestest Mower'aka IBM ditto BBC, ICL, M&S, BP....ad infinitum.

Check out the link (or google it, lest the link is dodgy) you can trade mark anything you want, pretty much, inc colours or sounds. The idea being most trademark BEFORE you make it big,,,hence lot's of trademarks that go nowhere, it's cheap to do.

Point being it's enforceable and actionable - any infringements etc

Edited by NoName
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1 minute ago, NoName said:

What like 'Ian Bestest Mower'aka IBM ditto BBC, ICL, M&S, BP....ad infinitum.

Check out the link (or google it, lest the link is dodgy) you can trade mark anything you want, pretty much. The idea being most trademark BEFORE you make it big,,,hence lot's of trademarks that go nowhere, it's cheap to do.

Point being it's enforceable and actionable - any infringements etc

I would also add it depends what class or classes they trademark. Example a plumber trademarks his service with the business name for example class 2. If some one brings out a product and its a different class, in a different industry they can't do much. 

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33 minutes ago, NoName said:

What like 'Ian Bestest Mower'aka IBM ditto BBC, ICL, M&S, BP....ad infinitum.

Check out the link (or google it, lest the link is dodgy) you can trade mark anything you want, pretty much, inc colours or sounds. The idea being most trademark BEFORE you make it big,,,hence lot's of trademarks that go nowhere, it's cheap to do.

Point being it's enforceable and actionable - any infringements etc

And the above are all relevant to cleaning sevices? As I said highly unlikely

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You could try making an acronym of the family members names to make your business name, that will guarantee something unique.

Also all good advice above, a name is just a name. What counts is the reputation that name builds. To discourage other people using your name you could add a copyright mark on the logo, which will give some form of discouragement of someone else taking your trading name, but in reality anyone can claim copyright on anything and it only applies to design, look, and colour scheme of a printed logo/publication. A registered trademark is much better in terms of protection but costs big £££

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Anyone can register a trademark which can be your trading name...if you don't register it you are vulnerable to your name being used by others (leading to confusion/bad reputation - think fb/insta/online reviews left for a rival using your 'name' but left on your site/review site/word of mouth damage to your 'brand' or even lost revenue - a custy googles 'you' finds another business with your 'name' ask for your service but gets told we don't do that etc...it can cost as little as £170.

Of course there is a flip side to this - if you start using a 'brand' name which is a registered trademark - you are vulnerable to legal action to get you to cease using the 'brand' (your trading name).  How likely is it? Nowdays 99% of businesses are online, a simple google can quickly and very publicly flag up any business using a name - which the trademark holder could see and wish to protect it - which will/may result in you needing to 'cease and desist' i.e use another name or get sued.  Does it happen ? Absolutely a friend, a lawyer used to sue/threaten to sue people all the time - for a rather famous 'friendly faced train' - including small little guys in the middle of nowhere using the name to promote a village fete etc. 

"As a new business every day brings a new challenge. One of our first was being threatened with court over our name – we were originally called Smudge and Friends (named after our dog) and despite having the trademark we clashed with a private label manufacturer who stake a claim to the name Smudge.It was tough at the time as we had become so attached and it was embedded in our business. Despite that, we didn't have the resources to fight it out and ultimately had to be pragmatic." https://startups.co.uk/just-started/scrumbles-aneishasoobroyen/

"Check that your sole trader business name is available and isn’t a registered trademark
Before you start branding, getting merch or building your website, you must check that your chosen name is not already being used by someone else, and does not infringe any registered trademarks."https://startups.co.uk/naming-your-sole-trader-business/ 

Check if your trade mark is already registered
You must search the trade marks database before you send your application to check if anyone has already registered an identical or similar trade mark for the same or similar goods or services.
https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark/what-you-can-and-cant-register

Costs?

Type of application    Fee   Each additional class
Standard (online)     £170  £50
https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark

Edited by NoName
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10 minutes ago, NoName said:

Anyone can register a trademark which can be your trading name...if you don't register it you are vulnerable to your name being used by other (leading to confusion/bad reputation - think fb/insta/online reviews left for a rival using your 'name' but left on your site/review site/word of mouth damage to your 'brand'...it can cost as little as £170.

Of course there is a flip side to this - if you start using a 'brand' name which is a registered trademark - you are vulnerable to legal action to get you to cease using the 'brand' (your trading name).  How likely is it? Nowdays 99% of businesses are online, a simple google can quickly and very publicly flag up any business using a name - which the trademark holder could see and wish to protect it - which will/may result in you needing to 'cease and desist' i.e use another name or get sued.  Does it happen ? Absolutely a friend, a lawyer used to sue/threaten to sue people all the time - for a rather famous 'friendly faced train' - including small little guys in the middle of nowhere using the name to promote a village fete etc. 

"As a new business every day brings a new challenge. One of our first was being threatened with court over our name – we were originally called Smudge and Friends (named after our dog) and despite having the trademark we clashed with a private label manufacturer who stake a claim to the name Smudge.It was tough at the time as we had become so attached and it was embedded in our business. Despite that, we didn't have the resources to fight it out and ultimately had to be pragmatic." https://startups.co.uk/just-started/scrumbles-aneishasoobroyen/

"Check that your sole trader business name is available and isn’t a registered trademark
Before you start branding, getting merch or building your website, you must check that your chosen name is not already being used by someone else, and does not infringe any registered trademarks."https://startups.co.uk/naming-your-sole-trader-business/ 

Check if your trade mark is already registered
You must search the trade marks database before you send your application to check if anyone has already registered an identical or similar trade mark for the same or similar goods or services.
https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark/what-you-can-and-cant-register

Costs?

Type of application    Fee   Each additional class
Standard (online)     £170  £50
https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark

I am by no means a expert in trademarks, but I would also pay a professional to help who specialises in trademarks. 

Yes you are protected in a way but you also need money to issue legal proceedings. Some will fight against a trademark thats when it starts to cost, so make sure you can afford it. 

I don't think he will have any issues with a name with his son or daughters initials in, or names plus cleaning at the end tbh. 

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Posted (edited)

Sure you can pay for a IP lawyer but you don't 'have to' if it's just a business name maybe a logo our services are fairly 'vanilla'

If you trademark you can prevent future start-ups' who bother to check, form using your 'brand'. They search , find you already and move onto another name (a little like the OP is currently doing)

The wider point/principle is a few minutes check ensures some peace of mind - cost nothing and might save a lot of hassle later (being forced to change). As well as the confusion point - OP's already identified similar  business names - is that going to be a help or hindrance? Uniqueness helps massively with brand recognition/referrals online searches...all important for a start-up - now's the time to spend a few mins to avoid/minimise risk.

A quick search at companies house also throws up lots of similar companies names and is again free...

Guess it depends on your appetite for risk - take a plunge or do a quick few simple free checks all online and proceed with more confidence in your brand identify . Each to their own - not mandating anything - just sharing knowledge which OP or other readers may choose to explore or ignore... 😉 

Edited by NoName
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I made the mistake of calling myself pureclean.

Didn't realise there are loads of them and had 2 quote requests from southend recently even though I'm in Hertfordshire. 

Rebranded to pcl window Cleaning and pcl pressure washing for my other company and now solved that problem. 

Definitely initials are better.

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16 hours ago, NoName said:

Joe - it's a nice thought to include your kids names but to be honest that's an indulgence - your trading name is a great opportunity to also promote your business - what you do - where (important) you do it - what you may want to communicate about your company (image/pro/local/etc)...if you think about it from your 'customers' perspective which will be most attractive to them?

ABC Cleaners
Andy Cleaners
Ashford Exterior Cleaning

You can add a lot of search engine/customer eyeball recognition by coming up with a  trading name that communicates something about you/your services which will mean they will phone say Ashford Exterior Cleaning over Andy Cleaners because they want a more processional 'firm' or indeed the other way round  - Andy Cleaners 'cos they like informal etc.

Location and what you do are a great start.

Just might want to check if anyone has trademarked the name here (https://www.gov.uk/search-for-trademark) which could cause issues - doesn't matter if they are 'just' a limited company - it's if they have trademarked it (company names) that could cause legal headaches 

Our you based in ashford Kent 

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If you do other things such as pressure washing or property management then use your initials eg for me D B services and then put on your van what you do.

It all depends what you want to eventually do.

Or like my mate who started doing cleaning and now subs out all sorts of jobs like flooring etc just make up a random name.

He is called headway which actually means nothing except a name that stands out but does anything from windows, gutters etc (he asks me to quote it and gives me a good wedge) to flooring petrol station interiors and all sorts in between.

Done some softwash jobs for him around the country but his name means nothing so doesn't restrict his business.

All depends what you want to do.

He's a good mate with good advice and that is the route I am going down now.

Pcl this and pcl that etc but all under the one name.

Windows is not the only business for me.

Got a job lined up to pressure wash 3 nursing homes in london and also subbing out the gutter clearing etc.

 

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