Choosing a Company Name FAQ

Choosing a Company Name Answers

  • How Do I Choose a Company Name?

    If you do not already have an idea of what you wish to use for your company name, then take a look at our blog articles on choosing a company name (part 1 and part 2). You might find it of use in terms of giving you ideas. If you already have a concept for a company name, then use our company name search tool to ensure your company name is available for registration.

  • What does the company name search tool do?

    Our Company Name Search tool allows people who are looking to set up a company and choose a company name, to search the data base of over 2 million company names already registered with Companies House. Using this tool, you can ensure that the company name you have chosen isn't already in use before you attempt to register your company.

  • Are there any restrictions on what I can use as a company name?

    Clearly, you cannot use a company name which has already been registered with Companies House. There are other restrictions that you will want to bear in mind when choosing a company name for your new company. Firstly you will want to give some consideration to the possibility that the name has already been registered by someone else as a trade mark. Although this would not technically stop you from registering it as a company, you might find that you are opening yourself up to a potentially costly legal battle in the future. Be sure to consider to fully protect your new company name. Be aware also that there are a number of restrictions placed on companies with regards to their company name. There are a number of words which are deemed to be "sensitive" and need the approval of the secretary of state before they can be used in a company name. For more information on this, please see our sensitive words page. Companies House may choose to refuse a company name for a number of reasons, including offensive or vulgar names, names that are "too like" or "too similar" to company names already registered or misleading names. More guidance on this can be found on our company name change page.

  • Do I have to use the term limited company in my chosen company name?

    Yes. If you are forming a private limited company then you are required by law to include the words "Limited Company" or "Ltd." as part of your company name. If however you choose to form a public limited company then you will be required to use the term "Public Limited Company" or "PLC." instead.

  • What does "same as" mean in relation to choosing a company name?

    When choosing a company name, you must avoid picking a company name which might be deemed as being the "same as" a company name already on the register. Simply, this is to stop people abusing the system and registering a company under a name that might delude the public into thinking that they are actually a different company. Companies House gauge the submitted company name on certain criteria and do not take into account words like "the" and "company", therefore you cannot get around these rules by submitting a company name which is only slightly different from one already registered. Having said that, sometimes company names have been successfully registered when they are spelt differently to one already on the register, but to all intents and purposes sound very similar when spoken aloud.

  • If I have already registered a company, can I change my company name?

    Yes. As long as you are not trying to escape any sort of liability, you can change you company name using our company name change service. Make sure you use our company name search tool to check that your NEW chosen name is available to register, then contact a member of our team to get the process started.

  • Once I have chosen a company name, how do I register it?

  • If you have successfully chosen a suitable company name, use our company formation service to quickly register it with Companies House before someone else gets it! Our formation packages start from FREE and when you consider that it usually only takes between 2 and 5 hours to get registered, you could soon have your chosen company name protected!

  • Can I register my chosen company name as a domain name?

    Choosing a company name might seem easy, but think about the potential possibilities. Just because you have registered a company name doesn't mean you automatically own the right to the corresponding web address. Someone else might already own it or snatch it from you before you get a chance. Use our domain name search tool to see if your chosen company name is available as a web address and take advantage of our extremely low cost domain registration service to get your company a web presence.

  • Is there anything else to consider?

    Yes, plenty. Have you thought about what happens if your business expands and you start trading with other companies? Will your chosen company name work abroad? Or have you accidentally chosen something that would be insulting in another language? Consider how things age. You don't want to choose a company name that will be out-of-date in a matter of months or years. If you're intending to keep your market local, a name which includes the locality or something relevant to the area might be appropriate.

  • What are the alternatives to Company Formation?

    As an alternative to company formation you may wish to purchase a Vintage Company there are a few reasons for doing so. The benefits of using a vintage company instead of completing a company formation to start a new limited company include:

    • An established name

    • Better credit-worthiness

    • Improved sense of trust-worthiness

    • Previous account submission


    For more information see our blog article "What is a Dormant Company?"

  • How can I protect the name I choose for my company?

    Completing a company formation to register your limited company will offer some protection to your business name. Limited companies and limited liability partnerships are the only type of business required to register with Companies House and so they are the only ones protected. Having said that, registering your company name is only the first step. It is still possible for someone to register a trademark using your business or company name – so it is always a good idea to complete a trademark registration to protect your company name more comprehensively and allow you to take legal action if necessary.

    Similarly, registering a domain name is another way to ensure the best possible protection for your business name. Any other person or business would be free to register a domain name using your business name – registering a limited company is not enough to prevent them from doing so. So we recommend using our domain registration service to reserve your company name in website form, even if you have no plans to have a business website now – you might in the future.