How to choose a name for your roofing business can be a challenge as well as a great opportunity. We’ll help you make the right decision by discussing the following:
Choosing a name for your new roofing business is a big opportunity because it communicates to potential clients who you are and what you do. A well-chosen name can help you find more customers and stand out from your competition, especially online. It may even support smart marketing campaigns. A company name can also build brand equity and become a valuated asset just as other intellectual properties such as trademarks and logos, can be.
It’s worth your while to invest some time in choosing a great name for your roofing business.
Finding a unique and useful business name can be a challenge. It may seem as if all the clever names have been taken. However, clever is not necessarily the right way to go. Your chosen name must be meaningful, memorable and distinctive.
Don’t worry! We’re here to help you generate some roofing company names by following patterns and borrowing ideas from existing companies. Specifically, we’ll use names from some top roofing companies as examples. Then we’ll cover some of the mistakes new business owners tend to make so you can avoid them and come up with a roofing business name to be proud of.
There are so many kinds of business names out there, where do you start? The task seems overwhelming. Before you start brainstorming names, narrow your focus. What kind of company do you want to grow? What aspects of roofing will you specialize in? Who will your customers be? What competitive advantages will you offer?
Especially in today’s digital world, your potential customers will be overwhelmed with options when they search for roofing companies online. You absolutely must have a strong online presence to be successful. Your name is a key part of that identity.
If you’re not sure which marketing strategies your company will rely on or how you’ll brand your company online, we recommend you look into marketing for roofing companies, including these articles: marketing to women and upselling roof upgrades. Gaining an idea of the market you serve and what might attract your customers will help you develop a suitable name.
When you generate name ideas, compare them to your vision for the company and the strategies you want to use. The best name will reflect your vision as closely as possible.
Once you have a clear idea of your market, ideal customer, competitive advantages, business strategy and vision, you need to brainstorm various ideas to come up with a name for your roofing business. It’s helpful to check out what roofing company names are already out there.
Existing roofing company names follow a few distinct patterns that you can use to help you generate ideas. You can find examples of each name type on contractor listing sites, like HomeAdvisor, HomeStars and Angie’s List. Or, you can use the examples we provide below.
First, though, here are some useful tips from people who create names for a living.
Start by writing your last name in the middle of a sheet of paper. List your services, describe your customers and your competitive advantages as offshoots. Jot down any words you associate with your business, such as roofing, residential, homes, shingles, fast, reliable, pinnacle, apex, summit, etc.
This process is called “mind-mapping” and, when you start, it looks something like this:
You’ll find lots of free mind-mapping software online. To help you come up with even more ideas, do a search for “free online name generators” and incorporate those suggestions into your mind map.
As you write down these words or enter them electronically, you’ll think of others, and soon you’ll start to see them forming patterns. Draw lines to link the words that might form a name.
Once you’ve done this, let your subconscious work on making some connections. Go for a walk, take a shower or do some other activity that gets your mind thinking of something else. You’ll be surprised at the new connections and associations you’ll make when you come back to your list or mind map.
Compile a short list of the names that you like best or that seem most appropriate. The next step is to make sure they’re available.
Your prospective business name should be unique to appeal to customers. It also needs to be unique in order to comply with the law because no two businesses in the same industry can have the same name. You cannot use an existing trademark in your name either. Existing companies have already trademarked many roofing-related words. This applies whether or not the existing company has registered the name as a trademark, as the law in both the US and Canada gives certain protection to unregistered trademarks as well.
Your first step should be to take any potential business names and run them through an online search. You can use search engines and check on contractor directory sites such as HomeAdvisor or HomeStars.
Be aware that, even if you do not find an exact match online, the name may still be unavailable. Narrow your choices down to four or five and check them with the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office where you’ll select TESS. The best option on the drop-down menu is the Freeform Word or Design Mark Search.
In Canada, you can check for trademarks at the Canadian Trademarks Database, which is run by Industry Canada through its Canadian Intellectual Property Office. If they are not taken, you can also register your name or associated phrases with these trademark authorities.
These databases will not only tell you if the name has been trademarked, they’ll let you know who owns the mark and whether it’s still active. If a name has been “expunged”, it may be available to you. Also keep in mind that you may be allowed to use a name that has been trademarked but is being used in a non-competing industry. For instance, “New Horizons” might be a name used for a culinary school. If so, it would be available to you as a professional roofer because your industries or businesses are not related or in competition with each other.
Legislation governing copyright, trademark and other intellectual property is different in the United States and Canada. Realize that trademark searches on the government databases of both countries are meant only as a preliminary search for availability. Before you register a business name, it’s recommended that you consult with legal counsel or an authorized trademark agent to be absolutely certain the name is available. Please note that a chosen name should not be used if it is already in use by another roofing company, even if that other company did not obtain a registered trademark for the name.
Your local area may apply other legal requirements to your business name, so you should look into those either online or with the help of a legal professional who advises new businesses. Legal guidance can also help you determine which kind of business you’d like to open. There are many options beyond corporations. Further, some business types require that you include the legal name of the entity, such as LLC for “Limited Liability Corporation”, Ltd for “Limited” or Inc. for “Incorporated”. It’s best to know if you’ll need to include one before you select your name, so you can be sure the name and its legal suffix sound good together.
1. Your Name or Initials
Many roofing company owners choose to name their business after themselves. Real-world examples of roofing companies who have decided to do this include:
Naming your company after yourself and/or your partner helps your company feel personal. Customers will be drawn to you because your company seems dedicated, small and responsible. They feel like they can reach out to you directly, which is important to many.
However, there are a few mistakes you could make if you decide on this approach. If your name is challenging to spell, or it isn’t a common name in your area, it may be hard for customers to find you online if they didn’t write your name down. This is also true for names that have many common spellings. Your customer won’t know if you’re “Lindsey Roofing” or “Lindsay Roofing.”
On the other hand, if your name is too common or plain, it may be harder to generate marketing buzz around it. It will be hard to stand out from the crowd if you choose “Smith Roofing.”
It’s also possible that using your name as the company’s name may restrict your growth. It will be harder for you to sell a company that is built on your identity alone because it will be harder for the next owners to continue your legacy. While you may not be interested in selling your company now, think about how you’ll feel when you retire. Many small business owners turn a handsome profit from selling their company when they are ready to stop working.
Why would someone be skeptical of purchasing or investing in a company that uses your own name? It potentially creates marketing problems or can affect sales and revenues if your name becomes associated with a negative issue or bad press.
Erik Gordon, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, cited the example of Papa John’s Pizza whose owner allegedly used politically incorrect language. As a consequence, the board members removed him and wanted to distance themselves from the issue by changing the business name, which had enjoyed tremendous brand recognition. Gordon said, “If you change your (business’) name, you may put at risk even more of the business.”
That’s important to keep in mind for your own business. If you decide to change your name later, you may lose some of the marketing punch and consumer awareness that you’ve developed. It’s best to be aware of potential future pitfalls and be cautious from the start.
2. Your Location
Another common roofing company name trend is to include the business’ location in your name. Real world examples of companies that have chosen to do this include:
When you first start your roofing company, having a strong connection to your service area will help. Your website’s search engine visibility and traffic may benefit from having your location in your business name and prospective customers will immediately know if you’re available in their area.
On the other hand, a location-based business name can restrict you. Potential customers will assume that your name is your entire service area. If you change your service area, even to expand, you may have trouble attracting more clients. You may want to keep your business small and may not foresee a time where you leave your hometown; but, in the long term, your hometown may start to prefer a different kind of roofing, at a different cost. Moves are often necessary to keep businesses strong.
That said, several major companies have successfully rebranded themselves after using a location-based name that was too limiting. The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company is now 3M. Now operating in 70 countries and in several more industries, 3M outgrew its original full name in a huge way. Similarly, Kentucky Fried Chicken is now branding itself as KFC, in order to downplay the chain’s Kentucky roots to their international customers and also to avoid the word “fried” for today’s more health-conscious consumer.
While rebranding is always a possibility, it is a challenge. The longer your name can serve you, the better. If you pick a location-based name, try to go as large as possible, without seeming too broad. If you only serve a city, naming yourself North America Roofing Services is a bit odd. Choosing a county is often a smart strategy, as it helps you gain customers who are just outside your main city.
3. Your Specialty
Adding your specialty to your business name is clever because it helps customers understand the specific market you serve or the extra skills you bring to the table. Real world roofing companies that have added their specialty to their name include:
Adding a specialty can be somewhat restricting, though not as much as a location, which changes for most businesses. It may be best to add a specialty once you’re more established and certain that the specialty will make up a big portion of your business. On the other hand, specialties are very powerful and can help you stand out in your customer’s mind.
4. Animals, Objects and Colors
Using an animal, object, or color in your company name can develop real character and make your company stand out. Real world roofing companies that have chosen to do this include:
You’ll notice that roofing companies that choose to use animals, objects or colors pick common, familiar things. That’s because most roofers serve the general public; they need to be sure that everyone will understand their reference. Those who work with more niche customers may be able to take bigger risks with their names. For example, those who serve engineers might name their company after a specialty tool or software that most people wouldn’t recognize.
Assuming you will serve any homeowner or commercial roof owner, you’ll have to choose something obvious for your name. Ideally, it should also be something you feel connected to or can put a unique marketing spin on. Remember, you’ll need to stand behind the name for years. If an animal, object or color doesn’t feel right to you, don’t settle for it.
Adding an adjective to your name can communicate a very specific message about your company. Real world roofing companies that use adjectives include:
Each of these roofing company names gives you an idea of what the company does. If you return to the core ideas about your company that you generated earlier, you may have a lot of unique adjectives you can use. Searching for synonyms online can give you even more ideas.
The important thing to avoid with adjectives is being cliché or obvious. “Strong Roofing” or “The Best Roofing Company” may send the message you want, but they are too on the nose. In fact, names that are too obvious may end up feeling disingenuous to customers.
On the other hand, there is an advantage to picking very typical adjectives for your name. A customer may be using this adjective when they search online for a roofing company. “Reliable roofer,” “reputable roofer,” and “best roofer,” are all search terms that a small portion of people will use.
In Canada, the federal Competition Act considers superlatives such as “best” to be materially misleading and so prohibits their use in names and slogans.
If you want to convey strength or other another common adjective, you can name your company after something that represents that adjective. Roofing companies that have done this include:
These roofing companies all convey a clear message, symbolizing strength or tradition.
These days, many company names are made up, either by combining two words, or just piling letters together. Roofing companies that appear to have chosen made-up names include:
Usually, these names won’t work for small or new roofing contractors. Names that aren’t grounded in something real are unique and likely available for use, but they don’t mean anything to your customer. Using a made-up name is giving up an opportunity to make a strong, positive impression on your customer. Also, your potential customers won’t be sure how to spell a made-up name if they’ve only heard it. This will make it hard for them to find you online.
Made-up company names are more commonly used for start-ups and technology companies. These companies often have big marketing divisions that can spend time educating people about what the company is and does. Of course, technology is a valuable component of roofing businesses too. If you have a large marketing budget and incorporate cutting-edge technology, a made-up name may make sense, but it can be risky.
Unless your friends and family fully understand your industry and the vision for your business, it’s recommended that you not ask them to come up with names. Instead, ask for their invaluable input on a short list of five to 10 names that you think will work. Sometimes we’re so close to things or we like the names we’ve created so much that we’re blind to connotations they might have for others.
For instance, if you’re thinking of calling your business “Green Wreath Roofing” because you believe it sounds fresh and that a wreath will make a nice logo, your friends might say that any “green” company sounds like it focuses on environmentally friendly products. If that’s not your focus, the name isn’t for you.
If your name relies on your sense of humor or your personal ideas about an animal, place or thing, your friends and family will tell you how the name sounds from an outside perspective. Large companies will spend thousands of dollars on market research to find out how people feel about their new product names. Their discoveries are often very eye-opening, so don’t skip this step.
Besides, even just saying the names out loud to your trusted confidants can clarify how you feel about them. Some names, like Green Wreath Roofing, can be hard to say out loud!
These days, roofing contractors are likely to generate a good portion of their business online. You’ll absolutely need a website so that a potential customer can discover your business, learn about your services and contact you. Your business name can make your online marketing efforts easier. For example, your desired company name may already be taken as a website domain name. If so, you may want to rethink the name. If your desired domain name is not taken, you should purchase it as soon as possible, so no one else can take it.
Before you even do a preliminary trademark search on a government database, check it for availability as a domain name on a site such as GoDaddy or Whois.
When deciding on your website address, you may have heard that you should try to get a generic top- level domain (gTLD) at all costs. These include .com .org and .net. However, things have changed. While only these three gTLDs were once unrestricted, new TLDs were introduced a few years ago.
Now you can purchase relevant gTLDs such as “example.construction,” “example.build” and “example.contractors”. Google and other search engines have stated that they will rank those TLDs just the same as the old gTLDs. Now, you can focus on choosing a domain name that is unique and catchy, instead of restricting yourself to ensure you get .com. Also, site owners in Canada can choose .ca as their top level domain name if the .com version they want is already taken. Keep in mind, however, that Canadians will typically try .com in their browser ahead of .ca and you may not want them finding the .com business ahead of yours.
You may also want to consider your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. If your roofing company name is similar to a large company’s, you may find it hard to develop an online presence and rank for relevant keywords.
Let’s say your roofing company name is McDonald’s Roofing, using your own surname. News articles about McDonalds, the fast-food chain’s roofing choices (which do exist) might outrank your own site’s pages. Plus, most people will think of the fast-food chain when they hear your name until you build a presence for yourself. Why start your company off fighting this uphill battle?
Instead, it’s best to choose a name that won’t remind your customers of any major brand and that won’t have to compete for search engine territory with major companies. A quick Google search of your prospective roofing company name will tell you if you’ll have competition.
Once you’ve settled on a name, you’ll need to register it with the government. The exact process will depend on where you live and whether you choose to incorporate, as the incorporation process itself functions as the business name registration in many jurisdictions. If you choose to carry on business as a sole proprietor, you will be registering your business name in your home state or province. Each state and province will have its own business authority. It is wise to ask a legal professional to ensure your business is properly registered and licensed. After all, the simplest mistake can potentially cause you significant legal problems in the future.
In states and provinces that apply a general sales tax and/or to account for payroll taxes, you will also have to register for a Taxpayer Identifying Number (TIN) or a tax account when you register your business , either from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It’s important to get professional advice so that you fully understand your tax obligations.
Remember, once your business name is registered, it officially exists! That’s a cause for celebration and a cause for caution. You now need business insurance before you commence operations. You also need to understand and follow all of the safety regulations that deal with the roofing industry. Depending on your country and state or province, this may mean developing legal contracts, gaining surety bonds and opening accounts for your employees. Again, talking to legal and accounting professionals will help ensure you’re protected and will help your business start off on the right foot.
Choosing a business name is a big opportunity to refine your vision for your company. A great name will help you communicate your company’s strengths, skills and marketing message. Looking at other company names and getting input from your friends and family should help you generate a name you’re proud to stand behind. Plus, digitally optimizing your name and considering your marketing options could help your business be more successful.
Choosing a name for your company is critical, but it isn’t the only decision you have to make. If you’re in the process of starting a new roofing company, IKO has other resources that can help. Learn about common mistakes made when starting your own roofing business. Or, discover how to create and deliver great roofing sales presentations.
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