UK Limited Company Name Guide: Guidelines, Considerations and Tips for Choosing a Company Name

UK Limited Company Name Guide: Guidelines, Considerations and Tips for Choosing a Company Name

When incorporating a company, one of the most important requirements is a company name. This means that without a company name, you cannot register and incorporate a UK-limited company with Companies House.

A company name is a unique name that sometimes describes the activities of the company or mostly the industry of the company. The name of the company is very important because it is one of the first things clients look at when they want to get a product or service from your company. A good and attractive company name will likely attract 5% of the clients you get to your company.

Since the company's name is very important, you need to be careful and consider certain things before picking a suitable company name. Apart from personal considerations and also considering the visibility of the company, there are also some official laws governing the naming of companies.

As an entrepreneur or an aspiring company owner, it is very important to follow the rules governing the choosing of company names to avoid any complications during company incorporation.

Rules To Abide to When Naming a Company

When choosing a company name, there are certain rules you must follow to have a successful company registration application at Companies House. If you fail to abide by these rules as a new company, your company registration application will be rejected by Companies House.

Companies House has made some restrictions for company owners to follow when naming their company. These restrictions are to enable the company to have the right name for their business and also to ensure the name complies with the rules and regulations.

These restrictions are included in the Companies Act 2006

  • Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/17)
  • Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3140

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Rules When Choosing Company Names

Here are the rules for choosing a company name.

1. Do Not Choose Identical or Similar Names

If you're to choose a name for your company, the first thing you should consider when choosing the name is to avoid too similar names to another company. Your company name must not be too similar to an already incorporated company at Companies House. If your company name has a name that looks similar to that of an already existing company, Companies House will reject your application.

Company names are said to be similar or identical when it is differentiated by a few things like punctuation, alphabets, special characters, space or even if the only difference between the two company names is the word used to identify limited companies in the UK which are LTD or limited.

For example, if an existing company has the name Kelz Technology LTD and you as a new company owner choose to use a company name similar to Kel Technology LTD, Kelz Tech, Kels Tech or Kelly Technology will be rejected by Companies House during application. This is because the name looks and sounds too familiar.

Also, if for example, an already registered company has the name Friends for Life, then a new company cannot choose a name like Friends for Life, Friends 4 Life, or Friends 4 Lyf because the name sounds the same as the other names and means the same thing.

Apart from looking too similar and identical, names like this also harm your business. Your business identity could be misled to the public and the public might find it hard to differentiate between the two companies since they have almost the same names. Also, if the other company is involved in a scandal, you have a high chance of losing investors and customers because they might assume it is your company involved in the scandal.

2. Sensitive and Offensive Words

It is very important to choose words that will not provoke other parties or words that are connected with official authorities and the government. If you have to use a name that is related to the government or any other official authorities, you must seek permission from the necessary authorities before going for your company registration.

Also, sensitive words that are vulgar or provocative should be avoided, this is to enable people to get the right perception of the business and its members. Also when naming your company, you should do thorough research to make sure that the name, when translated into another language, will not provoke a certain group of people.

Some words when translated into some languages are offensive and such words should be avoided when applying for company registration. If a company name contains a sensitive or offensive word, mostly those related to government and official authorities, the registration will not be approved by Companies House.

Even provocative names also will not be accepted by Companies House since the company will not want to provoke another culture or group of people which can result in a negative image of the company to the public. Thorough research is to be done when selecting a company name and entrepreneurs should take this part of company formation very seriously.

Words relating to criminal activities or any unlawful practices should also be avoided as they can be rejected by Companies House during application and even if accepted, they can create a bad public image of your company to the public and investors.

3. The Use of LTD or Limited

When naming a limited company, you must include limited or LTD at the end to specify the type of company it is. There are forms of companies and if you do not include LTD or limited at the end, clients and most importantly investors will not know the type of company they are investing in and this might discourage them from investing.

This rule can be exempted by some limited companies, companies limited by guarantee. These companies can apply for the exemption of the LTD or limited from the company's name.

Limited companies are divided into two, limited by shares and limited by guarantee. Only companies limited by guarantee can apply for exemption from the company name but it is mandatory for companies limited by shares.

So the type of company you want to register will determine if you want your company name to end with limited or LTD or not.

4. Relate Your Profession

As an entrepreneur wanting to start up a company, as long as the company is about your profession, you should try to showcase your profession in your company name. The company name should tell anyone who sees or reads it what you as the company owner do and what the business activities of the company are.

Also, you need to prove to the public that you know what you do and that you are licensed or permitted to practice your profession. Clients are investors who want to always believe you're legally permitted to run the company and its activities before they do business with the company or invest in the company.

Your company name is one of the factors that attract your potential clients and investors to the company. A professional company name and also a complete name that entails the activities of your company will save investors the time used in doing business activities research for your company.

5. Character Number

You should also make sure to take the character count into consideration when creating a company name. The characters necessary for creating a company name can not be more than 160 characters.

These 160 characters include letters, numbers, punctuation, special characters and spacing that can be included in the company me. The characters are to avoid too long names that will be difficult to call or pronounced by other parties.

Checking Company Name Availability

Sometimes, you might pick a company name and after application, it will be rejected because the name has already been used by another company that is registered with Companies House. If you choose the name of a company that was incorporated but was dissolved, as long as the company is no longer trading and has been closed down, you can make use of the name.

It is very important to check the availability of your company name to save you the stress of reapplying after rejection. To check the availability of a company name, you need to go to the UK Company Name Availability Checker website. This is a website owned by the UK government and only allows for checking if the company name is available.

Once you get to the website, you'll be asked to input the company name you chose and then search. If the company name has already been used by another registered company, it will appear there so you cannot use it for your company or else it won't be accepted by Companies House.

But if the name is available, no company will pop up under the search and you can then proceed with an application for registration of your company since the name has not been used.

This is a very important step to take when you want to register a company. This is to save you the time of reapplying after rejection due to the use of an already existing company name during registration.

It is very important to abide by these rules when choosing a company name as not keeping to the rules can lead to the rejection of the application for registration of the company with Companies House.

How to Create a Good Company Name

After abiding by some official rules governing the choice of company name, you should also consider choosing a company name that will stand out in your industry or a suitable company name that will go in line with the activities of the company.

These tips are very important as everyone will want a good company name that can attract both clients and investors to the company.

1. Simple and Easy to Pronounce Names

Simple names are very good for naming businesses. If a name is simple, it gives it easy recognition when seen by the public and also makes it easy to pronounce by investors, clients or the public in general. Being simple doesn't mean you don't have to be creative when selecting the company name.

Creativity brings out the purpose of company naming. Being creative also attracts potential clients and investors to the company because of the creativity of the company owner. Although not all company owners or entrepreneurs name their company themselves.

Some people name companies as a profession and since there are professionals in this field, they can come up with creative and simple company names based on the suggestion or names of choice given by the company owner or entrepreneur.

2. Use of Descriptive Words

As a company, it is very important to use a descriptive company name. A name that describes the company's purpose and activities will stand out among other names. Your professional van also gives you an idea for naming your company. For example, med used in medical companies, pharm used in pharmaceutical companies, chef or kitchen for companies that deal in food preparation or any other related activities.

Most people do not have time for extensive company research or business activity research, so doing company research is more of a discouragement to them. As a company with a descriptive name, clients and investors do not need research to know what the company does.

Even if the name does not give an extensive description of the business activities of the company, you will have an idea of what the company does at first glance of the company name when you come across it.

Also, using a descriptive company name is very important in increasing the visibility, traffic or reach of your company. When you include your company's services in your company name and a search is made for your services, your company is likely to pop up in the search which will make it easier for clients to find you and also increase your company visibility.

You can also choose to use a random name or your name for the company, but the company's logo should give a brief description of the activities of the company. The logo is also very important as apart from the name, it also attracts clients and investors to the company. Always make the best logo for your business.

3. A Broad Company Name

When creating a company, as you're just starting, you should make sure to create names that will not limit your company to a particular environment or people. You should always consider that you will expand your company in the future so give a company name that can accommodate any time of expansion in years to come.

For example, if you're looking to expand your company outside the horizons of the UK, then you should avoid adding the UK to your company name.

If as an entrepreneur, you're looking forward to adding more products and services to your business, then you should avoid creating a company name that sticks to one particular product or service. It is preferable to use a name that identifies the industry your company is under and will give the public a glimpse of what the company does instead of giving your company a name that entails a particular product or service.

Also if you're looking to explore other industries as an entrepreneur, you can choose to exclude any name that describes the industry of your company as it will serve as a limit later in life when you will want to go into other industries and explore other products.

4. Competitor Research

When starting a business, running a competitor research is mandatory. When you're running competitor research for your business or company, you should pay close attention to the pattern of company names your competitors use. The pattern of their naming can give a hint on how to name your company.

Using their name as a hint does not mean you should name your company something similar to theirs, you just have to be very creative and put a lot of considerations before creating your company name.

You should also check out the names of the most successful companies in your industry, check out how their name structure is and if all the successful companies have the same pattern of company naming, you might choose to follow the naming pattern or create an entirely different name for your company. Following the pattern can sometimes enhance company reach.

When someone uses a keyword that most of your competitors have, their company name pops up easily and sometimes when you decide to follow the naming pattern, it can also help to promote your company reach.

5. Language or Culture Research

As an entrepreneur looking forward to expanding their company outside the UK, you should do thorough language research for the company name to ensure that it does not sound sensitive or can provoke any culture or language.

If your company name disrespects, disregards or is provoking any culture, traditions or language and you want to expand your company to that area, it will look provocative to the natives of that area and your request to expand your company in that area might be rejected by the locals.

6. Thorough Domain and Social Media Research

In this present era when most things are done electronically, it is very important to have a company website and social media pages. This also serves as a form of marketing and increasing reach and visibility for your company.

To create a website, you have to research thoroughly on the domain available. The domain of your company's website is important for searching for your company on the website, you should try to use a domain name that has not been used and something similar that has not been used.

Also, you should search social media platforms to check if a page with your company name is already existing. This will help you decide what to name your company and also how your social media pages will look like. You can choose to use a similar or the same name as social media platforms do not restrict the use of the same name again. But make sure your social media pages are unique and at first glance, one will know it's your company.

In everything you do when choosing a URL or a social media page name, always remember to be unique and easily accessible and the names should be easy to remember and search.

7. Professionalism

Remember to always be professional when doing anything relating to your company including the naming of your company. The name you choose for your company will appear on all your company's invoices, business cards and other documents of the company.

The name should be very professional so it gives a very good first impression at first glance to an investor, client or the public at large.

Changing Your Company Name

Once you have successfully incorporated your company with a certain name, and later you feel the company name does not fit the company or its activities or you want to sell off the company to another owner who wants the company name to be changed, you can apply for a change of company name at Companies House.

The form NM01 is the form used for notification of a change of company name. You can get and fill out the form electronically and submit it at Companies House including the old name, the new name and the reason for changing the company name.

Before you can change a company's name, you must seek consent from directors and persons with significant control of the company to ensure that a resolution has been made and the decision to change the name can proceed.


Choosing a company name is a very important step in registration for a company. You have to perform great research to make sure the name suits your company and its activities, allows expansion of the business, does not provoke any culture or language, follows the rules and regulations laid by the authorities, and does not contain sensitive, offensive or criminal words.

A good company name will attract the public to your company and always make sure to possibly create a website and a social media page for your company. This is to make sure that advertisement is both offline and online so, there is an increased possibility of reach, visibility and sales for the company.