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How to choose a name as a sole trader

What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot actually. If you’re setting up shop as a self-employed tradesperson, you need a name that ticks all of the right boxes but doesn’t step on any toes.

Choosing a name for your business is harder than you think. There’s a difficult tightrope to walk between sounding boring, confusing potential clients and infringing someone else’s trademark. And then there are even more tricky decisions to make: should your business name be funny? Or will that prevent your client base from taking you seriously? When it comes to the web, does your name work as part of a URL? In real life, is it memorable?

Don’t panic. If you’re struggling to come up with a name for your self-employed business, we’ve got a few pointers which will help you make the right decision.

1. Using your name

Kerry Pullman Electrics, Mark O’Donnell Plastering, the old “first name, last name, profession” formula is a tried and tested one. But what if you want to stand out from the crowd? What if you’re looking for something a little more exciting to put on the back of your van? And what if you’re concerned that this approach makes you sound like a small-time one man band?

This style of business name has a lot of upsides. It’s professional, it’s simple and it tells people exactly who you are and what you do immediately. However, if you’re looking to do something a little different, get a bit more attention or have big ideas about expansion, you may want to get more creative…Either way, if you’re going to register your name, make sure you check that the exact wording isn’t already registered by somebody else at Companies House.

2. To pun, or not to pun?

We’ve all seen them, the slightly daft business names which provoke the odd chuckle: Pipe Dreams, Spark Out, Get Plastered…Using a funny name for your plumbing, plastering or electrical business can be a laugh and get attention. However, the risk you run is that your clientèle won’t take you seriously. Plenty of tradespeople have done well on a funny name, but consider your target market, think about your profession and check out the punny names already registered before you go ahead.

3. Online suitability

A name which works well online is increasingly essential. Will yours work well as an online address? Is the URL too long? Does it spell something questionable when written as one word? Is the domain name available (you can check here)? These are all important considerations to keep in mind before you go ahead with a new name.

Have you got a great name in mind for your sole trading enterprise? What’s your stance on something punny? Share your opinions with other tradespeople below.