Choose the right name for your business

Names for sole traders, partnerships and limited partnerships

People operating as sole traders or in general partnerships can trade under their own names, or choose a different business name.

Sole trader, partnership and limited partnership names - the rules

If you decide to use a business name, it must not:

  • be offensive
  • include the terms public limited company (plc), limited (ltd), limited liability partnership (LLP) or their Welsh equivalents
  • contain prescribed or sensitive words and expressions, unless you have obtained permission to use them - see the page in this guide on the use of sensitive words and expressions in business names

If you register a limited partnership you must include either 'Limited Partnership' or 'LP' (or their Welsh equivalent if registered you are in Wales) at the end of your business name.

For more information, see our guide on rules for naming your limited company or limited liability partnership (LLP). Alternatively, you can contact the Companies House Contact Centre on Tel 0845 604 88 88 for a copy.

Is anyone else using your proposed business name?

Before using your chosen name, check that it isn't already being used.

If a sole trader at the other end of the country is using it, there may not be a problem. However, if another local business, company or national firm is using it, you should choose a different name.

If you're in any doubt about your business name, get expert advice from your local Venture Labs.

Subjects covered in this guide


Companies House Contact Centre

0303 1234 500

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