Are you rebranding your company or need to change your company name for any reason? No need to worry; a name change is not too difficult to do. According to Companies House, almost 60,000 UK companies changed their name in 2020. 

In this guide, we’ll break down how to go about changing your limited company name, including:

  • How to change your company name with Companies House
  • Rules for company names
  • 3 Things to remember when changing your company name

How change your company name with Companies House

Changing your company name is a pretty straightforward process. There are certain steps you must take. A company can change its name either by:

Your company name will change only after you register it with Companies House. You can register it online or by post.

Register online

The Companies House has an online service for filing changes about your company. The online service can only be used for name changes by special resolution.

It costs £8 to file a name change, or £30 for the same-day service.

Register by post

If you’re applying by special resolution, you can download and fill in form NM01.

You must attach a copy of your resolution with your application and send your form and a cheque for £10 to the address on the form. It costs £50 for the same-day service.

If you’re registering with permission from the articles of association, you should download and fill in form NM04. Then, send your form and a cheque for £10 to the address on the form, or £50 for the same-day service.

Rules for company names

Your new company name must follow these rules:

  1. Your name cannot be the same as another registered company’s name

If your name is too similar to another company’s name or trademark (read more about the difference between a trademark, copyright and patent here), you may have to change it if someone makes a complaint. You can search the Companies House register for existing company names to avoid using another company’s name.

Your name must usually end in either ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’. You can include the Welsh equivalents ‘Cyfyngedig’ and ‘Cyf’ instead if you registered the company in Wales.

  1. ‘Same as’ names

‘Same as’ names means the only difference to an existing name is:

  • certain punctuation
  • certain special characters, for example, the ‘plus’ sign
  • a word or character that’s similar to another from the existing name
  • a word or character used commonly in UK company names For example, ‘Hands UK Ltd’ and ‘Hand’s Ltd’ are the same as ‘Hands Ltd’.

You can only register a ‘same as’ name if:

  • your company is part of the same group as the company or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) with the existing name
  • you have written confirmation that the company or LLP has no objection to your new name
  • ‘Too like’ names, for example, ‘Easy Electrics For You Ltd’ is the same as ‘EZ Electrix 4U Ltd’

Companies House will contact you if they think your name is too like another – and advise you on what to do.

4) Your company name cannot be offensive

Unless you get permission, your name cannot contain a ‘sensitive’ word or expression or suggest a connection with government or local authorities.

For example, to use ‘Accredited’ in your company’s name, you need permission from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

If you’re unsure, read this guidance on naming your company and which names you can use. 

  1. Trading names

You can trade using a different name to your registered name. This is known as a ‘business name’.

Business names must not:

  • include ‘limited’, ‘Ltd’, ‘limited liability partnership, ‘LLP’, ‘public limited company’ or ‘plc’
  • contain a ‘sensitive’ word or expression unless you get permission

When you do not have to use ‘limited’ in your company name

You do not have to use ‘limited’ in your name if your company is a registered charity or limited by guarantee and your articles of association say your company:

  • promotes or regulates commerce, art, science, education, religion, charity or any profession
  • cannot pay its shareholders, for example, through dividends
  • requires each shareholder to contribute to company assets if it’s wound up during their membership or within a year of them stopping being a shareholder

3 Things to remember when changing your company name

  1. Change company domain name and website

You will probably find that the old web-address does not suit your new company name. If that is the case, register your new company name with a more suitable domain name. 

Also, make sure to update the content on your website to match your new company name.

  1. Let your customers know

Perhaps one of your first considerations before you change your company name should be your customers. How would they feel about the change? 

You don’t want to risk losing loyal customers because they’re not happy with the change. Make sure to keep your customers in the loop about the name change, to avoid confusion.

  1. Updating your statutory registers

Proper maintenance of the statutory registers (also known as corporate compliance documents) is a part of running a legally compliant limited company.

These are a requirement by law laid down by the Companies Act 2006. You may be open to a fine of up to £5,000 if you fail to keep the correct registers for your company.

Save time on financial admin with an app

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.