Getting your Limited Company name just right
So you’ve decided to form your own Limited Company, congratulations! Whilst it’s a fantastically exciting time full of new employment adventures and anticipation for your first few contracts, there are also a few things you’ll need to get in order before you can trade through your own company.
One of those things is to think about your company name. This blog sets out to look at all the rules and regulations surrounding registering your Limited Company name, how you go about doing it, what’s required of you, and how to check if it’s even available!
Limited or Ltd – which one to choose?
When forming a Limited Company you must either have ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’ at the end of your company name.
Beware! If you register with ‘Limited’ you can use ‘Ltd’, but if you register with ‘Ltd’ you cannot use ‘Limited’. Make sure you choose the right option for you.
Can you reserve a company name?
Whilst you might know what name you’d like to use, you may not quite be ready to register your Limited Company. So what do you do? Unfortunately you cannot reserve your company name, but you can set up your Limited Company in a ‘dormant’ state, thus safeguarding your company name. For more information, visit the Companies House website.
Beware! Even though the company is dormant, your legal responsibilities as a Director are still active. Make sure you’re aware of what’s required of you whilst your company is dormant.
What are the rules surrounding certain names?
To have the freedom to choose whatever name you wish would be a contractor’s dream! But there are a few rules and considerations every contractor must abide by:
- The name cannot be the same (or too similar) to an existing name from the Companies House index of names. With expressed permission from the other name owner you can get around this, but this is based on exceptional circumstances only. To check if it has already been taken, visit the Companies House website
- Your company name cannot include a ‘sensitive’ word or expression. The name cannot imply business superiority, a particular status or specific function. For example, you cannot use the word ‘bank’, as this would need to be approved by the Financial Conduct Authority
- National words such as ‘British’, ‘Great British’, ‘Great Britain’, ‘United Kingdom’ or ‘International’ are strictly controlled. Only Companies House will allow these based on exceptional circumstances
- The name cannot have nor indicate any connections with the Government or local authorities
- Be creative – but not rude! Any offensive names are not permitted
- Characters, symbols and punctuation can also be restricted
Beware! You may wish to throw caution to the wind and call your company whatever you like. But whilst you’re flying high, remember that Companies House has the power to reject any name they feel which does not comply with points 1 to 6 above. So save yourself some time, effort (and potentially money) and make sure you comply to get it right first time.
How do you choose the right name for you and your company?
How do you go about creating the perfect company name so that your prospective clients know what you do and that you mean business? This is a tough one to answer, as what you want your company name to portray may not be what another contractor considers important.
So here are a few things to think about when choosing your name:
- What industry are you in, and can your company name reflect this? Ie if you’re an IT contractor, which words can portray what you do straight away to your prospective clients
- How creative do you want to be? Do you want to have a more serious company name, or do you want to stand out with something a bit more unique? Using made up words or acronyms can give a very individual feel to your company name.
- Will your personal name feature in the company name? ie Joe Bloggs IT Contracting Limited
- How will your company name sit alongside your personal marketing strategy (if you decide to have one)?
- Will your name reflect you as an individual, or your company?
Beware! Deciding what your personal and / or company image is will probably be the most difficult part of thinking about a name. Write a list, jot a few names down and get an idea for what feels right to you.
Another tip would be to look at your direct competitors’ names – what do you like / don’t like about them? How will you stand out against them to your prospective client base?
Can you change it further down the line?
The answer is yes, but there are a few hoops you’ll have to jump through in order to do so. Speak to your personal contractor accountant to find out how you’d go about doing so.
Beware! Changing your company name through Companies House isn’t the only place you’ll have to do so. If you have social media platforms, stationery, or other mediums which carry your old name, these will all have to be changed, which can get costly. Our advice – make sure you like your name before you register it!
Finally! As part of Intouch’s monthly fixed fee company incorporation is included. Our specialist team are on hand Monday to Friday, 9am – 5:30pm to offer advice and guidance throughout every step of the way, meaning if you need help with choosing your company name then they can assist.
To speak to an adviser today call 01202 901501, or email us.
This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.