The Ultimate Guide to Business Name Registration

The Complete Handbook on Registering Your UK Business Name

Why Your Business Name Matters

Choosing the right name for your UK-based business is vital. It sets the tone and impacts how your brand and business is perceived. So, how do you make it official? Let’s dive in.

UK Business Types and Naming Rules

In the UK, you can register various business types, including Sole Traders, Partnerships, and Limited Companies. Each has its naming rules. For instance, Limited Companies cannot have names which replicate those of existing companies.

How to Check for Name Availability

Before settling on a name, ensure it’s unique. has a unique business name and domain search tool which searches not only companies house but domain availability also. 

It is important to not only use Companies House to check availability, businesses set up as sole traders won’t be present there and so it is important to check domains, search engines and social media handles also. 

One other aspect of name selection that is often overlooked is ensuring a trademark search has been completed.  Using the likes of @National Business Register to undertake a trade mark search will ensure that your business name is trademark-able and is available. This step prevents legal complications and assures your name’s uniqueness. A business can have several trademarked brands, none of which you will find at Companies House.

Registering the Business Name

Upon finalising your preferred name, the next step is registering your business name. The process varies depending on your business type. Typically, Limited Companies register through Companies House, while Sole Traders may only need to inform HMRC.

Essential Paperwork and Costs

Prepare to part with some money and fill out forms. Limited Companies will fill out the IN01 form and pay a fee. This is something that can be done yourself however, many opt to instruct an accountant or a formation agent to undertake this step.  Sole Traders don’t have a registration fee but must keep proper financial records. 

Online vs. Postal Registration

You can register online or by post. Online registration is quicker and often cheaper. Postal applications take longer but provide an opportunity to double-check your application.

Post-Registration Formalities

After successful registration, you’ll receive a certificate of incorporation or a unique taxpayer reference number. You’re now free to trade under your registered business name.

Reporting and Compliance

Maintaining your business name involves reporting changes to Companies House and adhering to legal requirements. Non-compliance can lead to fines or, in extreme cases, your company being dissolved.

The Role of Intellectual Property

Remember, registering your business name doesn’t grant you trademark rights. For that, you’ll need to apply separately through the Intellectual Property Office. There are many agents that can do this on your behalf such as @NationalBusinessRegister. 

A trademark gives you exclusive rights to use your name in the sector you work in. 

Timeframe for the Whole Process

Expect the online process to take 24 hours. Postal applications can take up to 10 days. Plan accordingly to avoid unnecessary delays.

The Takeaway

Registering a business name in the UK involves several steps. By understanding the different business types, checking for name availability, and fulfilling registration requirements, you can secure your business name with confidence.

In summary, the path to successfully registering your business name in the UK can be smooth if you follow the right procedures and prepare adequately. Make your choice wisely and happy trading!

Make an Appointment with us!

Have a free consultation with one of our experts.

Confirm my appointment

Download our Guide

Submit your details below to be redirected to our guide.