The Ultimate Guide To Free Business Name Searches In The UK
If you are looking for a catchy business name, it is important to know where to start. In this blog post, we will discuss the best places to undertake free business names searches in the United Kingdom. Whether you want an easy-to-remember company name or something more unique, there are options for every type of business. This guide will help you find your perfect match.
To find the perfect business name in the United Kingdom, the first thing to do is develop ideas for a name and then check those against the UK trademark register. To come up with a free name ideas, use a business name generator or another online resource. After finding one you like and that is available, register it. For all the details in-between, keep reading.
Table of Contents
Steps to Finding A Name for Your Business
The process of finding a free business name that suits your needs can be a tedious job. But ultimately, it is worth the time and effort you put into it.
In today’s competitive market, you need something catchy and memorable. But most importantly, it needs to communicate what you without the client even having to read your company tagline or product description. So, taking steps to find the right one is key.
Create A Business Plan and Understand Your Audience
As we move through each of these steps in detail, hopefully, finding a free business name in the United Kingdom becomes clearer.
The first step to finding a great business name is to figure out the type of company you want to be. If you are starting your own business, it can be helpful to think about what your personal goals for this venture are to choose something that matches those needs.
For example, if you’re looking for a high-end clothing business, you can be more creative with your name, but if you’re opening a family restaurant, on the other hand, it might be better to choose something easy for customers to recognise and pronounce.
Once you’ve chosen what type of business you want and have figured out your goals or purpose for this venture, the next step in finding the perfect company name is determining who your target audience is.
Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Target Audience
The following are questions you can ask yourself as you begin to develop your business plan and decide on a name:
- What type of person are you trying to reach?
- Does your target audience have a specific gender, age range, or occupation?
- What types of interests do your potential customers share with you and your business?
- What message does the name need to convey?
Know that all business names should not cost you a thing, and there is no need to spend money on a name.
Consider the Characteristics of a Good Business Name
Think of the great business names you know. What makes them good? Are they hard to remember and difficult to pronounce? Probably not. Here are some things to think about as you start putting together your perfect business name.
Create A Unique Name
Here are some unique aspects of your business to think about and inspire you while you brainstorm a business name:
- Unique product or service – Do you offer custom cupcakes or specialty bouquets?
- Location of business – Are you based in London, Dublin, Belfast, or Liverpool?
- Type of business – Is it a hair salon, pub, or bar?
- Services offered in your company description – Do you wash cars, clean homes, pick up trash, landscape? Any of these keywords could be in your business name.
- Age and date established for the business – Many businesses choose to add an established by date to attract customers and give them some credit for being around for years.
Thinking about these things can help you warm up and get ideas flowing.
Tips for Making a Memorable Name
The top four tips and tricks for creating a memorable company name include:
- Use your name - Name the business after yourself and make the company name personal. This will reflect a deep connection to who you are in your branding.
- Use a keyword – It could be related to another word within the business name or a word that is relevant to what you do.
- Use outside muses - Take inspiration from famous authors or celebrities who share the same interests as you and have a strong presence in society and culture.
- Use alliteration – Alliteration is the repetition of a sound in words used together, such as Lululemon, Coca-Cola and Krispy Kreme. It helps with the “stickiness” of the name.
The business name must be memorable and easy enough for customers to say, spell and remember!
A memorable business name can help you stand out from the competition. And remember: the more people remember your company and its name, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Should You Use Puns in a Business Name?
While some puns can be catchy, others can sound a bit, well, cheesy. It can be hard to find the sweet spot between clever and corny.
The memorability of a pun is not easy to pinpoint – because it’s very relative.
While a good pun may make it easy for someone to connect your business to your product, like “All You Knead Bakery,” when it comes to remembering your business name, if customers can’t quite remember the words in the pun, it may quickly defeat your purpose.
Depending on the business and audience, you may want to avoid puns in your business name if you want to be clear and concise – especially if you have an international audience. Puns and idioms don’t translate well.
Keep it Short!
Keep in mind that, unlike domain names, there is no limit on how many characters you can use in your business name. However, if your business name is exceptionally lengthy, you should consider abbreviating it.
For example, “Sam Smith and Son’s Paving Specialists” could be shortened down to “Smith & Sons Paving.” The latter has fewer characters with the same impact. And shorter is easier to pronounce and remember!
Use Others to Help You Brainstorm A Memorable Name
Because there are no “rules,” per se, on how to create your perfect company name, it may be beneficial to consult with others who might have some good insights for naming your new venture before settling on anything final.
How to Brainstorm with Others
We usually brainstorm with friends, family members, employees, and other close confidantes. The following are topics you can cover when brainstorming business names in a group:
- Discuss what you like and don’t like
- Come up with ideas that people might remember more easily
- Narrow down the list to the catchiest names
- Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find out what words or phrases might be related to your business
Get a large pad of paper or whiteboard and just start writing everything down. Every idea, every word, no matter how disconnected some of it seems. Brainstorming can get weird before ideas that “click” really start to take shape. Don’t censor yourselves!
Remember that getting other opinions doesn’t mean someone else gets any say in the matter! And don’t feel obligated to change everything just because someone has an opinion different than yours. In most cases, though, these brainstorming discussions will help guide you towards the name that fits best for you.
How to Undertake Free Business Name Searches with An Online Search
You will want to do a business name search. And a business name search is a way for you to find out if the company name, domain, or trademark that you’re considering using has already been taken by someone else.
Start Off with a Keyword Search
It might also be helpful to start with a few keyword searches to inspire as well as eliminate possible business names. The following is a list of keyword searches you can use to help you narrow down a free business name:
- Unique business names
- Catchy company names
- UK Business Name Searches
- Business naming ideas
- Business name generator
You don’t have to make any decisions based strictly on keywords, but this is good research to do. You want to see where your product or service ranks in terms of keywords and what common keywords are used for your industry. And you want to find out what the competition is like out there, too.
FAQs Answer About Business Name Searching in the UK.
In the following sections, we address some frequently asked questions surrounding the process of identifying free business names in the United Kingdom:
Why should you look up existing names before choosing one?
It might sound silly, but there are plenty of people who don’t read this far in before making their choice - and they end up disappointed later down the line because they have wasted time and energy selecting a name that is already taken.
What should you consider when naming your new business?
Think about whether the name is unique enough, how it will be seen by potential customers, and what you want your business to represent.
Why choose a unique name using a business search?
You can search for a suitable company name that doesn’t already exist or make use of one of these that does – but only after checking it’s not been taken first!
Why choose an easy to spell and recognisable name?
It is important to choose a great name, but it is equally as important to choose a name that people can easily recognise and spell. This is because it makes it easier to find your business online.
There are few reasons why it is important to choose a name that is easy to spell and pronounce:
- Easily search for your business on the internet
- Avoid unnecessary user/customer frustration
- Increase your chances of ranking well in Google searches
You can easily find free and affordable name generation tools for aspiring entrepreneurs. Next up, we will move on to using an online business name generator to find free business names.
Use an Online Name Generator to Find A Free Business Name
When choosing a new business name, there are many things to consider. Many people don’t know that there are also several free online resources where you can find business names - some may even be perfect for your company!
The following list shows a few different name generator sites that will help you find a business name for no cost:
- Business Name Generator – One such site is Business Name Generator, which gives potential business owners access to over 500 different name options. These allow users to filter by industry and keyword so they can easily create a unique name that is fitting for their business.
- Namelix– The last site I want to mention in this article is Namelix a free company name generator, powered by artificial intelligence. With Namelix you’ll be able to find one that’s perfect for your company.
- Shopify– Shopify business name generator is good for coming up with a catchy business name for your company.
Creating your business name may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With an online name generator at your fingertips, you can find the perfect free business name in minutes without breaking a sweat!
How to Check Your Company’s Name Availability in the UK
Now that you have picked a name for your business, it is time to check if it is available in the United Kingdom. The easiest way to do that is to look at what has been trademarked in the past.
The first place to start to check if the business name you want is free and available in the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom has an online register of trademarked business names. This is an invaluable resource because:
- It lists all the ‘live’ trademarks and companies that are currently registered in the country
- It has a search function that lets you filter by region and keyword
The United Kingdom’s Trademarks and Company Names Registry (TMCR) website covers the following regions:
- Northern Ireland
You Found an Available Business Name – What Next?
The following is a list of three steps to take to check if the tentative name you have chosen for your new business is available:
- Navigate to the online registration. Go to the United Kingdom’s Trademarks and Company Names Registry (TMCR) website.
- Enter your keywords. You’ll need to know exactly what words you want to search for.
- Select the proper classification. There are 45 different classes to choose from, so make sure you select the ones that best fit your business.
- Click search and look for your company name. You want to make sure your business name is free, so you should browse through all the live trademarks which have been registered in the United Kingdom.
At the end of this, you’ll come up with one of two possible outcomes:
- Your business name is free and available: If your company name doesn’t show up on this registry, then that means no one has ever filed for those rights before, so your business name is free and available for use in the United Kingdom!
- Your business name is not available – If your company name has been trademarked already, you can do a few different things which we cover later.
What About Trademarking?
One note is that you do not need to trademark your business in the United Kingdom, but it provides you with many benefits and can save you a lot of headaches later:
- You can use the registered trademark symbol ‘®.’
- You can prevent the importation of counterfeit goods bearing that trademark into the United Kingdom
- You are protected in ways unregistered marks are not
- You can easily create an authentic and quality brand and develop a strong brand association
- Your trademark will allow you to retain customers and drive new business
What to Do If Your Business Name Is Free and Available
If your business name is free based on the Intellectual Property Office’s search features, you should then check if it is available through the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office.
If your business name is available through both sites, then you are ready to move forward. If not, move to the next section to find out what to do when your business name is not available.
Is the Name Available for Use Online?
Now it is time to check if your proposed company name is available for use online. You want to check out the potential online presence of your free business name. This is because if you want to trademark your business name, you want to be consistent across all your platforms. And several websites will enable you to do this free of charge; one such option is Namester.
Make sure you have checked the domain availability as well for your potential business name in case you want to use it as an online presence and create a website with “. co.uk”, “.com,” or some other web extension. Need to know this because companies without an online presence struggle to be successful in the long term. If the company name is available, unregistered in the United Kingdom, and it is available for use online, you can move forward in using your free business name for your UK business.
What to Do If Your Business Name Is Not Free
If you find out that the business name you want to register is not available, you can do the following things:
- Pick a different name that has not been taken
- Ask a trademark attorney for legal advice
- Ask the trademark holder for permission to register your name
Remember that UK company names are public domain, and you can register any name if it is not trademarked or in use by another business.
Also, many firms will search the United Kingdom business registry free of charge for you but be wary about their intentions with your information. Be cautious of scammers looking to steal your information and profit from it.
Read more about: Brand name evaluation
The Guidelines for Trademarking Your Business in the UK
Your business name must not have any of the following factors or aspects. Otherwise, your application for trademarking will be denied:
- Be a 3-D shape
- Be common
- Be misleading
- Be nondescript
- Describe the goods or services
- Look too similar to another symbol
- Offensive content
- Pornographic images
- Swear words
The Process to Register and Trademark Your Business Name
Business names are not protected in the United Kingdom. This means that you must register your company name before moving forward with trademarking.
If you do find a name that is trademarked elsewhere, it may be worth checking if you can avoid using those words or phrases while still achieving the statement or brand you are trying to create.
How To Register Your Business Name in the UK
To register and set up your new business in the United Kingdom, you need to go through the Companies House. This house lets you find a wealth of information on current UK companies and how to start and run a new business.
When you are starting a company, you want to register is as a private limited company through the Companies House. The following are a list of seven steps leading up to registering your new business in the UK properly:
- Verify a limited company set up is right for you
- Choose your name
- Choose directors and secretary to represent your company
- Decide on shareholders
- Prepare documents for running your company
- Verify the records you need
- Register your company
And now the final step of registration includes the following three sub-steps:
- Register an official address
- Choose a SIC code
- Register concurrently for Corporation tax
The above information will also be needed for trademarking through the proper channels.
How to Trademark Your Business Name in the UK
The best way to protect your trademarks and intellectual property from infringement for your company overall and any associated designs would be to register them as trademarks with HM Revenue & Customs.
You will be able to register a trademark online as long as it does not conflict with another one that’s been submitted in the last six months. If there are any issues, we would recommend you contact HM Revenue & Customs for further advice.
Preparing for the Contact with HM Revenue & Customs
When contacting HM Revenue & Customs, you will need the following information, which is similar to the information you provided to the Companies House:
- A representation of what it is that your company provides, like a logo
- Physical mailing address
- Any additional relevant contact information, including email address and phone number
- Company name
- Date of incorporation or registration if the business is already registered with Companies House
- Details about any other trademarks currently registered with Companies House by someone else which may conflict with yours
- Information about who owns the mark and if they are exclusive owners or not
- SIC code (if applicable)
- The classes you want to register under
- What you want to register
If applying via HMRC’s system, you may also need details of importers for goods originating outside the European Union.
The Cost of Applying for a Trademark
You can apply online using two different forms or put all your paperwork in the mail to apply using hard copies. Either way, it will cost you to apply for a trademark through the Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.
The following table breaks down the cost to apply for a UK trademark:
|Type of Application
|Cost to You
|Standard online application
|£170 +£50 for each additional class
|Right start online application
|£200, in two split payments of £100 each +£50 for each additional class, in two split payments of £25
|Standard application submitted by post
|£200 +£50 for each additional class
As you can see, it may be quite costly to apply for trademarking your business name. Keep in mind if you choose to use a trademark attorney to file the paperwork for you, you should consider their fees in addition to the ones above.
What to Expect Once You Apply for a UK Trademark
After you have applied for a trademark on your business name, it is a waiting game. At some point, you may need to take action, especially if your application is opposed. But if there are no objections, you will receive a certificate confirmation.
The following is a list of the things you can expect after submitting your trademark application:
- Feedback will be available within 12 weeks or 60 business days
- 60 days will be given to resolve any issues
- After acceptance, the application is published in the trademarks journal
- Anyone can oppose your application for up to two months after publication
- After all, objections are resolved and no opposition pops up, you will be issued a certificate confirming your trademark registration
Congratulations, if your application is accepted and you receive a certificate, you are ready to start doing business in the UK.
Remember that the Companies House has quite a few resources for new businesses.
What to Do If Your Trademark Application Is Denied?
If your application is denied or opposed by a third party, you have some work ahead of you. Most of this can be avoided if you do your proper research to choose a free business name, as we discussed above. Additionally, if you end up hiring a trademark attorney, the chances of our application being denied or opposed are lowered.
If your trademark application is denied, you can do one of the following three things:
- Withdraw the application – Not recommended unless you wish to pay the costs to the opponent.
- Consult with the opposer – You are subject to pay any legal fees involved in this process.
- Defend the application – You can negotiate with the opposer if possible or begin the legal process to defend the opposition.
And if after all that you successfully defend your application, you will receive certificate confirmation of your trademark.
In Summary: Finding a Free Business Name in the UK is Possible
Get your business name now and save yourself time in the future. With so many options, it is easy to find a perfect match for any type of company. What are you waiting for? Try one of these free websites today to start brainstorming that next big idea.
Finding a catchy business name may seem like an impossible task, but with this helpful guide on where to go online, you will be able to get started right away and finally have the answer when people ask, “What’s your company called?”