Choosing a name for your limited company

4 rules to consider to ensure your company name is eligible for registration with Companies House

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When forming a limited company you need to pick a company name to register your business with. The first hurdle will be choosing the perfect name for your brand, and then, before you can register the name, you will need to check the name with Companies House. There are a number of restrictions to bear in mind:

1. Companies House do not allow duplicate names on the register so the name must be unique

2. All company names must feature the word ‘limited' or ‘ltd' at the end. For Welsh companies the equivalent ‘cyfyngedig' or ‘cyf' can be used, but documentation must also state in English that it is a limited company.

3. The name must not be too similar to an existing company name. For example, if the company ‘Here's One Example Ltd' was already formed, the following would not be allowed:

  • Here's One Example Limited
  • Here's One Example UK Ltd
  • Here's One Ltd
  • Here'sOneExample Ltd
  • Here's One Example Services Ltd
  • Here's One Example International Ltd
  • Here's 1 Example Ltd

The only instance in which these variations would be allowed is if the new company were part of the same group as the original, or if the original company had granted permission to use the name. See here for more examples of these ‘same as' words.

4. Companies House has a list of ‘sensitive words and expressions' that if used require your company to meet certain criteria. Examples include:

  • Association
  • Charity
  • England
  • Foundation
  • Group
  • Holding
  • International
  • King
  • National

See here for a full list of the ‘sensitive words and expressions' and the evidence that needs to be provided in order to use them. Names also cannot imply any connection with central or local government or be offensive in any way. You can search the index of business names already registered to find out if your proposed company name is available at Companies House, or with a formation agent.

Ready to form your company? Smarta Formations provides a simple and affordable process. Click here to find out more and get started (external site, link opens in a new tab).

Aimee Bradshaw Senior Writer

Aimee is Startups' resident expert in business tech, products, and services. She loves a great story and enjoys chatting to the startups and small business community. Starting her own egg delivery business from the age of 12, she has a healthy respect for self-starters and local services.

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