Information. Support. Compliance.

Choose the right name for your business

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 Business Link.

Subjects covered in this guide




Starting up

Name your business


Choose the right name for your business





Choosing a business name to create the right impression


Names for limited companies and LLPs

Current section

Names for sole traders, partnerships and limited partnerships


Use of sensitive words and expressions in business names


Displaying and disclosing your business, company or limited liability partnership name


Getting your business name on the internet


Here's how I chose the name for my business