How to Choose a Name for Your Trucking Company
You know you're really starting to get serious about starting a trucking company when you figure out what you want to call it. Choosing a name is also one of the most fun parts of starting any business. Here's how to pick a name that will work well for years.
There are three classic rules for a great business name: it should be memorable, it should be short, and it should be easy to spell. You do not want to choose a name that makes people think, or even makes them wonder a bit what, exactly, your company does. If people do not understand what you do in the second they hear your company name, they will forget you. Sorry, but that's the reality. Keeping it simple with naming your business is especially true in the trucking business, because there's not a lot of room for flowery branding ideas -- customers want to know if you can do the job or not, and how cheaply you can do it for. Seriously consider picking a name that suggests this is a no-hassle shop.
There are some legal issues to be aware of when you pick a business name. They are pretty simple, fortunately: 1) make sure no one else in your state is using the name you want and 2) make sure no one in the country has a trademark on the name you want to use. Most states have very handy websites that let you check business names. Google your state and "name availability search" and you'll probably find a government site with a search form that lets you find out instantly if there are other companies using the name you want, or if there are similar names being using.
Be aware of this name similarity issue -- if there's a trucking company that's been in business for years, but they have a terrible reputation (even in a tiny market, like north-east Wisconsin), and you happen to give your company a similar name, you could end up being associated with them. But, hopefully, you are more than well-enough acquainted with the trucking industry and most of the trucking companies across the US, so you know where the bad reputation land mines are. If you're not, seriously consider learning your industry better before you go too much further in planning your business.
You can search the tradmark database pretty easily from this link. If you have any concerns at all you should probably talk to a lawyer. If your business is all in one state, things are legally simpler, but because most trucking companies operate in more than one state, it can get complicated. That said, the traditional legal definition of "operating" in a state means you have offices there. But it is better to be safe than sorry.
You are probably going to wonder if you need to get your name trademarked. The short answer -- probably not. It costs about $500 to do, plus you'll need a professional designed logo (your actual "trademark"). It takes about 6 months for the review. If you are going to have offices in more than one state, your operation is probably already so large that hiring a lawyer and spending $500 for the trademark review, plus $1000 or so for the logo design is not a big deal. But if you're a small trucking company with just ten trucks, skip it for now.
Start a Trucking Company
Start a Trucking Business: 5 Things You Need to Know
Write a Trucking Business Plan
Choose a Name for Your Trucking Company
Get Trucking Insurance
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How to Become a Truck Driver
How to Pick a Truck Driving School
Get a Commercial Driver's License
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How to Start a Freight Brokerage
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