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Getting started with the company name search

Companies House - the UK’s official registrar of companies - have strict rules and regulations (see below) in place regarding company names.

Use our company name check to see if your chosen limited company name is available. If you search for a company name and the name is available, great - you can then proceed to register a business name. If not, don’t worry, take a look at some of the below tips and then try to search for a company name again.

‘Same as’ regulations

Companies House will not allow a company to be formed if its name is too similar to another on the register. For example, 1 & 2 Limited would be considered the same as One and Two Limited. In most cases the business name checker will notify you if your company name is unavailable because of ‘same as’ regulations, however, in more complicated instances a name may appear to be available when it is not. Rest assured, you will be notified of this once the application has been submitted to Companies House - you will then be able to select an alternative name.

Exceptions to ‘same as’ regulations

The regulations can be disregarded if:

  • The new company will be part of the same group as the existing company, or
  • The new company has the permission of the existing company to use the name

In both cases, a letter from the existing company stating either of the above will need to be provided alongside the company formation application.

Sensitive words and expressions

When you complete a company names check your chosen company name may be flagged for including sensitive words or expressions.

Once again, there may be instances where the companies name check doesn’t initially catch this - you will be notified once the name has been submitted to Companies House.

Sensitive words and expressions are in place to ensure that your company name does not mislead (or harm) the public. For example, you can’t:

  • Allude to pre-eminence in your field by including a word such as ‘British’
  • Give the impression of being associated with the government by including a word such as ‘Parliamentary’
  • Use a word that implies that you work in a regulated activity such as ‘Dental’
  • Include offensive language

If your company is preeminent in a field, is associated with the government, or does partake in regulated activity - you can seek approval from the necessary bodies.

See here for a full list of sensitive words and expressions

Tips to naming your company

As well as looking at the things you can and can’t do when naming your new company, it’s important to look at some of the things you should and shouldn’t do (of course the ltd name check won’t be able to tell you what is a good name and what is a bad name).

Limited to Location - Putting a location in your company name is fine if your business is going to conduct the majority of its activity in one place, not so fine if you’ve global aspirations.

Is it Memorable? - After you’ve told someone your company name, they should be able to find it on Google. This means they need to:

a) remember it b) be able to spell it

Therefore, avoid overly long company names and names with non-standard spelling.

No to Initials - We recommend steering clear of using initials in your company name as it will just prompt the question “what does that stand for?”.

Branding - Consider the marketing opportunities of a great name. Does it look good in a logo? Does it conjure relevant imagery? Could it inspire a worthy slogan?

Be Unique - Whilst being inspired by another business model is absolutely fine, don’t let this inspiration seep into your company name. Your name should highlight what’s different about your business; your unique selling point.

Got the perfect name for your business? Check the company name availability now

Frequently asked questions

Does my company have to include Limited/Ltd?

In the majority of cases, all private limited companies and companies limited by shares must end with Limited or Ltd.

If a company’s registered office is based in Wales it can instead use Cyfyngedig or Cyf.

What is the difference between Limited and Ltd?

There is no difference between Limited and Ltd, it is simply an aesthetic decision as to which one you would prefer to use.

We will automatically add Ltd to the end of your company name when using the company name checker, then - if you do proceed to register a limited company, Ltd will be included on official documentation such as the certificate of incorporation. If you would prefer Limited to be used instead, please add Limited to the end of your company name when using the ltd name check search.

It’s worth noting that Limited and Ltd are interchangeable and while one version will appear on official documentation, you can use whatever version you prefer post-company formation.

How does the business name check work?

When you check company name availability the search engine cross references the company name with the Companies House register. This includes every company in the United Kingdom, active and dissolved. We can then give you an instant response as to whether the limited company name is available or not.

Can the ltd company name check guarantee if a company name is available?

Unfortunately not. Because of the complex rules and regulations associated with naming a UK limited company, there may be instances where Companies House block a name from being registered, despite the company name check stating that it was available.

Ready to check company name availability? Search for available company names now

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