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Contractor FAQs: How do I choose a name for my limited company?

Published on Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Written by Alex Cadman

When you decide to become a contractor or freelancer with your own limited company, you have to register a company name. This means you should choose a name that is professional and is easy to remember. We discuss ways to help you select a catchy and appropriate name for your limited company.

Before you go about setting up a business bank account, registering for VAT or PAYE, or even trading through your limited company, you have to give it a name and register it with Companies House.

For many contractors, naming their limited company can be fun – however choosing a company name requires careful thought.

The right company name can help you stand out from a sea of competition. Your company name must also appear on your invoices and legal company documents. Your limited company will also be how you do business with clients and recruitment agencies, therefore its name is important.

To help you come up with a professional and memorable company name, try these naming tips:

1) Go generic:

If you want to come up with a quick, straightforward, no-nonsense name for your limited company, try simply combining your name with your profession to create a simple company name. For example, if you are a consultant and your last name is Smith, you could go with ‘Smith Consulting Limited’. Keep in mind that your limited company name must have ‘Ltd’ or ‘Limited’ at the end.

When using this method to name your company, come up with a few different options in case your first choice is already taken. Try testing out other words in conjunction with your name such as ‘Business Solutions’, ‘Consultancy’, or even ‘Advising’. It all depends on your industry and the core function of your business.

2) Make it relevant to your location:

One way to add a bit of creativity to your company name is to make it relevant to the location in which you will be doing business. For example, if you will be contracting in London, you might call your company something like ‘Big City Consulting Limited’.

You can also use an actual city name as long as it doesn’t imply that you’re connected with a government organisation or public authority. For example, you could call your company ‘London Expert Consultancy Limited’. However, you may not be allowed to call your company ‘British Consulting Limited’, for example, as this could imply a connection with government.

Check the government’s website to find out what rules apply when choosing a company name, including which words you may need to seek permission to use.

3) Go abstract:

Whilst you want your company name to be simple and easy to remember, if you make it a bit more abstract it’s more likely to be available and less likely to clash with the aforementioned rules.

Using your imagination, you can create a clever, quirky or snappy company name. For example, think of nouns or adjectives which might suit the personality of you and your company, such as ‘Phoenix Expert Consultancy Services Ltd’, or ‘Vivid Business Consultancy Ltd’.

Not only does this method help you come up with a memorable company name, it also incorporates your core business function so clients and recruitment agencies can see what you’re all about.

There are many ways to come up with a name for your limited company, but if it’s your first time contracting through a limited company, the most important things to remember are function and professionalism. You want to be taken seriously as an independent contractor with a business name that will stand the test of time.

If you wish to change your company name in the future then it is simple and inexpensive to do so via Companies House, which has a company name checker to help you find available company names.

Important things to remember when naming your company:

1. All companies must end in Ltd or Limited, or PLC if the company is public.

2. Your company name must not be offensive or too similar to an existing company name.

3. The company name cannot imply any connection to government or local authorities without permission.

4. You cannot incorporate trademarked names into your company name, such as 'Google' Consulting Ltd.

5. Make sure you decide on a company name that you’re proud of, and one that would look impressive on a future business card or appear attractive to investors – if you ever choose to grow your business.

6. Before you’ve registered your company, check if there are web domains of the same name, or similar, available for purchase. Once you have registered your company, you may wish to purchase these domains. Even if you aren’t looking to set up a website now, you may do so in the future, and having these registered domains will make it easier for you to be found.

You can search for available domains on sites such as Go Daddy, 123 Reg, and 1 & 1.

7. Check your spelling! This may seem obvious but misspellings in company names happen more often than you’d think.

8. Choose a company name that is unique yet easy to read, write, remember and understand.

9. You can trade using a different name to your registered company name, but it must not include ‘Ltd’ or ‘Limited’, and it cannot contain an existing trademark.

Furthermore, if you wish to have a different trading name to your business name (often known as a brand name), you’d have to trademark this to prevent others from using it. This more commonly practiced by sole traders, as they do not operate via limited companies.

Are you ready to set up your limited company?

Even if you haven’t yet thought of a limited company name but want to get started, we can help.

Simply contact us and we can set up your company for free within 24 hours when you choose to sign up to one of our limited company accounting packages. We can even help you think of a name for your new limited company.

Contact us on 01707 871622 or via our website to get started.

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