A limited company is a company that is legally separate from its owners, the shareholders, and managers. In the UK, it must be registered at Companies House with a unique company registration number.

Even if there is only one person involved in the company, it is still legally separated from that person in law, meaning that it can enter into contracts, sue and be sued, have the right to keep profits and is responsible for its own debts. This entitles you to extra protections, in terms of financial liabilities, that you would not receive if you set up as a sole trader.

Setting up a limited company is a straightforward process that we will take you through from beginning to competition. So, here’s how to form a limited company.

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Choose a Company Name

Choosing a name for your company is one of the first steps and can be both fun and incredibly frustrating. Like a web address or an email, your company name needs to be entirely unique and not already in use, including names that are remarkably similar to another company’s where the only difference is punctuation or special characters.

You can theoretically pick any name for your business, but it must end with either Limited or Public Limited company or Limited Liability Partnership (abbreviated to LTD, PLC or LLP). You should also be aware of sensitive words or expressions that imply national or international pre-eminence or imply specific functions (such as chartered, trust etc.). These are prohibited unless your company functions explicitly as one of these kinds of businesses.

At Company Registrations Online, you can use our search tool on our company formation services page to find out if your chosen name is appropriate and available. You can also view our company name guidance for a full list of prohibited word and phrases. Finally, we also have a blog post about how to choose the right name for your business that can offer more general assistance and advice.

Register an Address

Your company needs an address where official post can be sent; this has been a legal requirement since 2006. If you do not have a business premises, it’s likely that you will use your own residential address. However, this address will be legally required to appear on all client correspondence, and you may not want to publish your home address. So an alternative is to use a third-party service for your official business address such as your accountant’s address, a registered office service or a PO box.

Your address needs to be in the corresponding territory to your company, so a company in England needs to be registered to an English address and a Welsh company to a Welsh address etc.

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Choose Directors and Company Secretary

Your company needs at least one director, and you may appoint a company secretary (although this is not a requirement). A director will follow the company’s rules, keep company records, report changes, file the accounts and pay corporation tax. You may hire people to manage some of these day-to-day running of operations, such as an accountant. However, the director will still be legally responsible for the records, accounts, and company performance. The company must also have at least one shareholder, but this can be the director.

Register Your Limited Company

You must register your business with Companies House, which involves completing a series of documents. You will need your chosen company name and the UK address as its registered office. Remember that this address will be made public and all official correspondence from Companies House and HMRC will be sent to this address. You will need Memorandum of Association documents, including the names of company officers, directors, and share capital and how it is divided between shareholders.

If this admin and documentation gathering sounds daunting, or too time-consuming, there is another option. You can use a Company Formation Agent to take care of it for you. A company like Company Registrations Online can register your business for you, handling all the paperwork and submitting the documentation to Companies House in complete compliance with the laws and legal regulations.

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At CRO, our company formation services ensure that your business is established correctly. You can use our search tool to find out if your chosen business name is available, and then all you need is your registered office address, director and shareholder information. Then we can complete your business registration in no time as all.

We have a number of formation packages available to simplify the whole process. The quick and easy email formation, professional printed formation, or our all-inclusive service that comes with a business support package including 12 months of our company secretarial services and a free accountancy consultation. If you’re looking for a company that can register your limited company with ease, contact CRO today.