Advice wanted: Another VA using same name


#1

I am a new VA just starting out. I have a name that I came up with in 2011 when I first decided to go down this route (it didn’t work out for me at that time). This time I decided to use the same name, VPA Solutions. I have done many, many searches on the name and nothing has come up apart from a couple of parked domains. There are no listings on the National Business Register, Companies House, Trade Marks etc currently under this name. I have designed my logo, stationary and website/domain around the name. I have put a lot of time into my branding and have had no outside help.

Today when searching Google I came across another Business Administration based business called the same - it was not there yesterday! I have taken a look at their website and it is not very professional. It has been designed by a company who ask you to answer questions about what you do ie, fill in the blanks and they then produce a website for you. It is not a domain based around the name. There is no contact number and the contact email address is a personal one; as I said not very professional.

Back in 2011 when I first came up with the name I registered it with Companies House as a Ltd company (I am going down the sole trader route this time around). Is this enough to prove I came up with the name first? I can proved the 2011 Company listing is me despite it being in my maiden name.

I would welcome any advice you have. This is not what I wanted to encounter just as I am launching.


#2

So firstly - I know exactly how you feel:


And it is horrible, believe me I know how much work went into creating the name and promoting it.

Unfortunately having a Limited Company doesn’t protect the name - only trademarking will. The best advice is always to buy up domains which you’d be annoyed at someone else using - and always make sure you get the .com extension, as that tends to have the biggest weight in terms of SEO, so (if anything) you’d nick some of their traffic.

However if you can proof that you have an established brand and the other company is causing confusion on purpose by using your name, you can sometimes get them to change the name using “passing off” laws. It’s tricky as you haven’t been trading using the name… And TBH, it’s most likely that the other VA hasn’t got any knowledge of you and just stumbled across a name they thought was good - great minds think alike.

Might it be worth a friendly email introducing yourself, stating when you started trading, and pointing out that it might cause confusion to have 2 VAs trading under the same name? See what they say. If you wanted to sweeten the deal, you might even offer to buy the domain off them…(which solves lots of issues!).


#3

Thanks @caroline. I think you are right and I suspect they are just not aware.

I used to own the .com version of the domain for 3 years but it has since been bought up by a company who buy and sell domains and they are asking for £4000. I can’t afford that right now unfortunately.

As for the domain for the other VPA Solutions it is also not one I would like to purchase as it is completely unrelated - something interior design. I won’t post it for privacy reasons. The content of the website is unrelated to interior design and is in fact for a VA as is the business listing on Google.

I will try a polite email as suggested and see how that goes.

Thanks again.


#4

I suspect then that an interior designer is trying their hand at being a VA as business is slow… Pointing out there is already a business trading with that name - and that trying to trade under the same name may confuse clients or even be perceived as passing off - will probably put an end to it.

Good luck - let us know how it goes!

(And there are other things you can do, but the friendly approach is always the first one I’d try as it’s usually v effective!)


#5

Hi there

We have a lady at my networking group that deals with trade marks and business names - she actually did a presentation on it at our last meeting.

Her Name’s Dale Campbell, if you do a search on LinkedIn you’ll find her.

Good Luck
Jo Berrington


#6

Hi Jo @officesupport,

Thanks for reaching out. It is much appreciated. I will take a look.

Kind regards,
Becky