How to buy a company name

How to buy a company name image

Starting a new business is exciting, but before you get up and running, a few admin bits need sorting first, including registering your company.

If you’re hoping to set up a limited company or a limited liability partnership, you must choose and register your company name with Companies House. By registering your company name, no one else can set up a business with the same name (or a similar name), making it unique to your company.

Keep reading to learn more about how to buy and register your limited company name.

Choosing your company name

You need to choose a name for your new company. This name should be easy for customers to spell and remember and plainly describe what your business does. For example, consider including the word ‘marketing’ if you're a marketing agency.

Tips on choosing a company name:

  • Start keeping a list of names you like
  • Use HMRC’s company name availability checker to ensure the names aren’t already taken
  • Check a domain name is available with your chosen company name (bear in mind, domain names are more expensive when they contain keywords)
  • Ensure your name doesn’t infringe on existing trade marks
  • Choose a name that isn’t offensive and does not include a ‘sensitive’ word or expression. Check the list of what’s not allowed on

Can I buy an existing company name?

Once a company dissolves, its name becomes available for registration again. Before buying a previously used company name, consider the company’s reputation. If the company has a poor reputation or if the company has outstanding debts, you might not want to register the company name as your own. Debt collectors can repeatedly mistake your company for the previous one, and a poor reputation can damage your brand before you even start trading.

How much is it to buy a company name?

Registering a limited company only costs £12, which includes choosing a company name and registering for Corporation Tax. Before registering your company, you should check whether it’s similar to another company already registered.

The application process won’t let you register it if there’s something too similar already out there. So act fast to secure your desired company name before someone registers it.

Registering your business with companies house

How long does it take to register my limited company name?

The application process is short, and your company is usually registered within 24 hours. You’ll only need three pieces of personal information to register your new limited company (you’ll also need this information for all your shareholders or guarantors).

Once HMRC registers your company, you’ll receive a Certificate of Incorporation by post or email. This includes your company’s name, registration number, and incorporation date.

You’ll need to keep your company number safe, as you might need this information when you set up your business bank account.

Why set up a limited company?

As a limited company, the name you register is unique to your company — no one else can set up a company with the same or a similar name. But, if you’re a sole trader, you can call your business anything — it doesn’t matter if someone else has the same business name.

Does registering my company name also register a trade mark?

No, registering your company name is not the same as registering a trade mark. There’s a separate application process for registering a trade mark. You might consider registering a trade mark to protect your company against counterfeit goods, protect your intellectual property, and attract investors. The trade mark database lets you search internationally rather than specifically in the UK.

Typically, registering your trade mark online is cheaper than by post. Online, you can expect to pay about £170 for the first class registration, and by post, it can cost you around £200.

Extra tip: If you’re seeking investment for your new company, investors like to see your business plan. Read our guide on how to write a business plan to get you started.

Can my accountant register my company name?

Yes. Although it’s relatively straightforward to register your own company, your accountant can do this on your behalf, usually for a fee. If you’re tight on time or a bit apprehensive about doing it yourself, ask your accountant to do it for you.

Make sure you share the exact name you want your company to be called. Your accountant can also use their address as the ‘care of’ registered business address, meaning any post you get goes to them, and your address isn’t shared in the public domain of Companies House. Alternatively, if you have business premises, your registered address can be that one.

It can cost a lot of money to start your own business, so accessing working capital could be a good option for you. Applying for business finance means your business can grow quicker — you can take calculated risks by investing in new product lines or reaching new audiences with marketing campaigns.

Our free loan comparison tool can help you find and compare eligible startup business loans in seconds. Read all about your options before proceeding with your loan application online. Get your free quote.

About the author

Helen Jackson Author
Written by Helen Jackson | March 06, 2024

Money Writer

Helen has over nine years of experience in content writing and writes financial content for us here at Capalona.

Updated: March 06, 2024
Published: February 27, 2024

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