I am wondering: how do you find out if a business name is claimed by someone else? (Outside of googling and using search engines to see if that name pops up!) Also, does it matter if the same name is used within a certain radius or location of the other?
I know that I don't want a name that someone else has already laid claim to no matter where they are located, it can certainly hurt you and the other biz if you are in close proximity to one another. So if you are in the same state even I would advise against it. You can check your local county/parrish or city to see if a dba is being used already in your immediate area. You can also check with your state as well. Since you don't show where you are from I am assuming you are in the USA. If not let us know where you are and others who live there might be able to point you in the right direction.
No I wouldn't and in some cases you can't use names that are already in use (especially if they are trademarked or copyrighted.)
Plus how would you feel if you spend time thinking of a name, getting signs/letterhead/website made up, building your business under that name and someone came along down the road and started calling themselves the same thing?
When I went to the county clerks office to get my DBA, they tell you if that bussiness name is used or not.
If you are in the US, go to the website of your secretary of state (google [state name] secretary of state). There is a business search somewhere on that site. Type in the name you want to use. For example, if you type in "cake love," most of the searches I've done return the business names already in use alphabetically so you can see if someone already has "cake love." If someone in your state already is using that name, you can't use it. But you can often register to use a similar name--if you're willing to run the risks others here are talking about.
Thanks everyone. I never knew that there where so many outlets to finding this type of info out. I most certainly wouldn't want anyone to have my name or find out that I have a name so similar to someone elses that our business constantly get confused. I guess I'll come up with some type of magic name generator to suffice just in case one or two names possibly come up taken!!!