How to Register a Business in London
If you’re wondering how to register a business in London, the process is the same as anywhere else in the UK. You’ll need a few things in order to get your business officially recognised, including a company name and a company address to begin with.
Whether you’re registering as a sole trader, a partnership, or a limited company, we’ve covered everything you need to know in this blog about registering a business in the UK. So, let’s get started!
Different types of businesses
Before you can register your business officially, you’ll need to determine what kind of business you’re going to run. You’ll typically choose from one of the following categories:
- Sole trader. This is the type of business you’ll be registering if you’re
- Partnership. If you’re working with a business partner, and you don’t employ anybody else to help you run your business, this would be considered a partnership.
- Limited company. A limited company is a private company and considered an entity on its own; not legally binding to its owners, managers or shareholders.
How to register as a sole trader in London
If you’re a sole trader, the process of registering your business is pretty simple. Here’s what you’ll need to do to register your business in the UK:
Make sure ‘sole trader’ applies
The first thing you’ll need to do is ensure that you qualify as a sole trader. There are various ways to register as self-employed (for example, as an LLC or partnership) so you want to make sure you meet the criteria. As a sole trader, you should:
- Work alone
- Have made over £1000 in the last tax year
Choose your trading name
Your next step is choosing a company name to trade under. Many sole traders use their own name, but you can name your services as you wish. You’ll also need to provide a business address and other details about yourself and your business operations.
Register for self assessment
If you’ve made over £1000 through your own services or skills in the past year, you’ll be obliged to fill out a self-assessment (aka a tax return) and pay tax on your earnings before April 5th of that year. This means you need to keep all of your financial documents, including all sales, business expenses, VAT, grants, and information regarding your own personal income. You can always hire an accountant to help you file your tax returns if you’re a beginner.
How to register a partnership in London
Registering a partnership in the UK is a fairly simple process, and can be completed via the government’s official website. Here’s all the details you’ll need to provide if you want to register a company with a business partner:
- Company name
- Company address
- Your nominated partner and their details (address, name)
- Information about your business; what services or products you provide, etc
- The date your partnership was launched
You’ll need to make sure your partnership is registered with HMRC. If you can’t use the government’s online portal, you can register your partnership via an SA400 self assessment tax return, which can be printed off, filled in, and mailed by post.
How to register a limited company in London
If you’re setting up a limited company, the process is very slightly more complicated than the process for a sole trader or a partnership. Here’s what you need to do to register a limited company in London:
Choose a name
You’ll first need to come up with a name for your business; you can check whether or not your desired company name is available by using this tool created by the government and Companies House.
Select a company director
You’ll need to then select a director for your limited company; this can be yourself, a business partner, or another senior employee.
Decide on shareholders
To register a limited company, you’ll need to have at least one single shareholder.
Identify PSC figures in your company
PSC (persons with significant control) must be identified when you register your limited company. A PSC can be categorised by someone who either owns more than 25% of your company’s shares, or who has veto or voting rights.
Craft a memorandum of association
You’ll need to present a document illustrating how your limited company will be run, with goals, aspirations, and objectives laid out in black and white. This is known as a memorandum of association. You’ll also need to craft documents known as ‘articles of association’, which will demonstrate the internal runnings of your company, and identify the company’s roles, rights, and duties.
Register your company
Once you’ve completed all of the above steps, you’ll be able to register your limited company officially. You’ll need a business address in order to finalise your registration, along with a SIC code (SIC codes illustrate what your company does).
What does it cost to register a business in the UK?
When you register a business in the UK, it will cost you between £12 and £40 to send off your registration form to Companies House. If you complete your form online, you’ll be able to register for cheaper; digital registrations cost £12. For those who wish to send their registration by post, the process costs £40.
However, some other costs might factor into the final price of your registration; for example, if you hire an accountant to help complete your self-assessment or help with the formation of your legal documents, you might be looking at an overall cost of hundreds of pounds.
Can I register a business without a business address?
No. Whether you’re a sole trader, freelancer, self employed, in a partnership, or setting up your own limited company, you will be required to provide a business address in order for your registration to be considered complete.
If you don’t yet have a physical premises or office for your business – or simply don’t need one – there are a couple of options available:
Use your home address
This is the easiest option (and totally free) but doesn’t come without its consequences. When you register your business at your home address, your address will become public. This means you’ll notice an increase in cold callers, promotional marketing and doorstep salespeople at your home – this can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you live with family.
For those who don’t need a physical premises for their business, a virtual office is the perfect way to have a credible business address London, even if you live in a rural or remote area. Virtual offices are rented addresses, whereby you’re able to use their address as your business address, without actually having to use the premises physically. Many virtual offices also offer supplementary services, including postal transfers and phone call transfers.
The Bottom Line
Before registering your business, it’s important to keep in mind several key questions: the name of your business (and the name’s availability), your business address, and what type of business you’re going to be registering.
Having all of this information on hand will make the registration process run smoothly, so you can get your business up and running as soon as possible. You can check the government’s official website for more details on registering your own business.