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Looking for more advice?
We can help with easy to follow guides and checklists:

Check out our 15 step guide: 
"How to set up a Limited Company"

Read The Guide

The 6 things you'll need to register a company in: "Company Formation Checklist":

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Low Cost Company Formation is in our DNA

When I started,  if you wanted to start a limited company you had to make a postal application and it took weeks to register a company name with Companies House (this was before the online company formation was possible).

The only way to get round this delay was to buy a ready-made company or an off-the-shelf company from a company formation agent.

The go-to place  to get your ready-made company was by looking in The Exchange and Mart.

For all you groovy young hipsters, the Exchange and Mart was a weekly paper based version of “ebay”.

Company formation agents would advertise the names of hundreds of pre-registered companies that were available to transfer the same day.

You picked a name you liked or purchased some like “Purple Monkey Dishwasher Limited” and changed the company name afterwards.

The market price for a company was £80-£100+ with add-ons like getting the documents sent out to you by motorbike courier.

I came along in 2003 and cut prices in half (and also offered customers the chance to pick their own company name too).

Lows cost formation advert from 2004

Image of our Exchange & Mart Advert from 2003/4

Vanessa, my lovely sales rep at E&M told me the 1st week my ad came out to say she got calls from about a dozen other agents all saying our pricing was too low and would go bust!
That tiny ad cost about £65+VAT / week (£3380) per year. I paid extra for colour so despite having a small ad it stood out on the page.Those other companies were buying whole pages.

In February 2004 I moved to a 100% online company formation service.


How long does it take to register a limited company?

You will see a LOT of claims by company registration agents about how quick their company formation service is.

Our “inter company” record for a company incorporation, registered on the first time it was presented and paying the standard Companies House filing fee is about 14 minutes. That company was presented at the end of the day on New Year’s eve and I think the inspector probably wanted to go home.

Here are the facts.

Company formation fact check logo in the form of a stamp

On any given day the time it will take to register a company will be about the same whoever you choose to use.


Because the company registration process is the same for all agents and actual amount of time that it will take depends entirely on the workload at Companies House.

The Company Formation Process

All applications to register a limited company are processed by the Government at Companies House.

For online company registrations once you have completed the order details for your company the application is “presented” to Companies House which means sent electronically via secure connection.

The application goes into a queue. Once it gets to the front of the queue it is checked by an inspector to ensure it complies with all the company formation rules. Depending on how many applications Companies House has that day will depend how fast the company gets to the front of the queue and is registered.

If an application is rejected, it needs to be corrected, resubmitted and then join the queue again.


A flow diagram of the company formation process

Why do applications to register a company get rejected?

Sometimes there is nothing wrong with an application and it will still get rejected. For instance when you provide the company director’s address details this must be your “usual residential address”. If the address looks like a commercial address, the inspector may reject the application. This could happen because you think by adding something like “Enterprise House” to the front of your address your business will look a bit bigger and more established. Sometimes people genuinely do live at commercial sounding addresses.


What are the requirements to start a company?

You can find the minimum requirements for starting a limited company in our company formation checklist containing the information we need for each of the company directors and shareholders here.

How to share the checklist with your business partners

If you are registering a limited company with more than one person, we’ve made it easy to share the requirements with your business partners, simply use the email or social sharing buttons so that you can be sure you have all the information you require to complete the company registration forms on our secure client area.

FREE client dashboard to help manage your business:

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"My Company Warehouse" puts you in control of your company 24/7.
You can easily manage all your services and control your account with us wherever you are.

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