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Freelancers - Trading under a company name

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by Chris Lord, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    I have been doing a little research recently for when I come to set up my own freelance online presence, and was wondering what people thought about freelancers trading under their own name, or using a bigger company name using the approach of 'we do this.... we design that'.

    I do think there are positives to trading under a 'company name' as a freelancers. But when it comes to them ringing you up and talking to you, do you keep up the front of something bigger than a one man band, or pretend you have several employees?! Also having only a mobile number on your site is a dead give away.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Trade under a name that reflects what you are. Simples!

    Clients would prefer a professional individual to a charade of complexity.
     
  3. Thewholehogg

    Thewholehogg Active Member

    oh I love a charade of complexity.
    Trade as your name as young Jim says...KISS;)
     
  4. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    Pro's for being perceived as a company:

    People may not like to hire freelancers
    You have a higher sense of being as a company
    Potentially taken more seriously
    Potentially charge more
    Potentially land larger clients who will only work with 'agencies'

    Cons:

    People may like to hire freelancers
    Smaller businesses may be put off under the influence that will charge more than they can afford
    You're not a several man business
     
  5. wac

    wac Senior Member

    Trading under a company name gives you the opportunity to build a brand around that name but for gods sake don't say 'we' if it isn't true. It's very off putting, especially as you say, if there are tell tell signs of it being a solo operation, like a mobile number.
     
  6. Russell

    Russell Member

    Interesting as I've been giving this thought recently. I think if your new to freelance I'd start self branded to keep it simple. When I first started out most of my work was coming from other design and marketing agencies so they we're specifically looking for individuals not companies. A lot of my clients in the last year or so have also come looking for a freelancer as they wanted to ditch their current agencies in order to tighten their belts.

    Having said that, now I've been freelance a few years I am setting up as a Ltd company/ under a company banner this year for many of the 'pro's' you mention above. I will still keep my current online presence as a freelancer though but will be pushing the company site more in terms of advertising, showcasing new work.
     
  7. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    I'm still a little unsure. I guess it does depend on who your target audience are. I would have to agree about not using the 'we' though. Something like that could hinder your chances of going all the way through with the project if they figure it out. Unless of course, you are master of all disguises and accents, then you could fulfill all of your 'employees' job roles!
     
  8. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Haha what like answering the phone and pretending to be your own secretary!
     
  9. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    Exactly!! Just grab yourself by the balls tightly and say 'Hello'!!
     
  10. Adam

    Adam Senior Member

    I started off using my own name, but then decided to go with a company name because my plans in the future are to expand and have a few people working for me.

    I also use 'We' on my website alot because it does instill trust and makes possible clients feel more at ease. Plus I also use a lot of people with different areas of the job such as web coders or other freelancers to help out, so I like to use the term 'We'.

    There's pros and cons on either side Chris but my advice is to just go with whatever you prefer. If you plan on going big in the future and having solid foundations for a company then go with a company name, if you want to stay as a freelancer all the time then just use your name.

    There is no right or wrong :)
     
  11. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    I would like to go under a company name as I feel it does instill a little more trust and confidence. But it's how you handle interaction with the clients? Do you answer with company name? Probably. Does it come up in conversation about other employees or if you're freelance?

    I'm still not sure about the 'we' if there is only one person. Especially if using a mobile. Hmmmm... still can't decide!!!
     
  12. berry

    berry Active Member

    If you're a single freelancer then optimise that position to your advantage and maximise it. Why pretend to be something you're not? If you want to be a big company, get finance and hire staff and join the crowd. If you're not putting VAT on the job or not registered for VAT then that's a big clue to anyone over your size or talk.
    Being small does have it's advantages. Be proud of who you are.
     
  13. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    You writing a self-help book for Hobbits, Berry? I might pick up a copy!
    [​IMG]

    Seriously though, I think it would take up far too much energy to keep up a front like that, the cracks are bound to show sooner or later.
     
  14. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    I've been through about 6 different names that at one stage I was happy with and considering setting up as, probably 4 or 5 domain names purchased, around 3 of those names have made it to the logo design process, one name even made it to being registered as a Ltd company (dormant).

    After all of that, I agree with Berry, people come to me because they know exactly who they're dealing with, my personal name signifies I'm happy to put my name on everything I do. If I had big plans to get a company office and bring in employees then a name change and bigger image would probably be on the cards.

    Having been through all of that, and wasted countless hours thinking, brainstorming, sketching, and spending money, it turns out my own name that I started with was the best choice for me. So I'd advise to make a decision on which route you want to go and stick with it, don't get caught in the trap of thinking you'll change it a few months down the line. Definitely above all be honest about your work and situation :) it will only come back and bite you down the line!
     
  15. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    Thanks for the input guys. Some good advice
     
  16. Nick M

    Nick M Junior Member

    Best advice I could give anyone starting out is 'be honest'!

    Don't pretend to be something you are not :)
     
  17. GraphicDesignBoss

    GraphicDesignBoss Junior Member

    ohhh the name question! this is always the toughest!

    My partner and I spent a month deciding on this until we ended up on a name that reflected the two of us. I don't think having a business name is a huge negative even if it is just you. As long as you don't pretend to be something you are not.

    As one of the previous commentators said "KISS"!!
     
  18. Thomzo

    Thomzo Member

    Hi

    Sorry to be boringly legalistic but on no account hold yourself out to be a limited company unless you actually set up a limited company (through Companies House and be prepared to comply with their requirements). It is actually illegal to pretend to be a company when you aren't. Having said that, it is incredibly easy to set up a limited company. I have to work for my clients through a limited company arrangement. But it is just me and my clients know that.

    By all means refer to yourself as Joe Bloggs trading as Fabulous Designers, just don't refer to yourself as Fabulous Designers Company or Fabulous Designers Limited.

    Zoe
     

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