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How to Set Up a UK Limited Company

How to Set Up a UK Limited Company

There are many reasons why you might want to set up a limited company in the UK. Perhaps you are looking to start a new business venture, or you have been operating as a sole trader or partnership and want to register as a limited company. Whatever your reasons, setting up a limited company is relatively straightforward – and we are here to help.

What is a limited company?

A limited company is a business structure in the United Kingdom that offers limited liability to its owners. A limited company can be either private or public.

There are two types of private limited company in the UK:

1) A company limited by shares: The most common type of private limited company, a company limited by shares, has shareholders who own the company.

2) A company limited by guarantee: This type of private limited company does not have shareholders. Instead, its members agree to pay a set amount of money if the company is wound up.

In the United Kingdom most businesses typically register as private companies limited by shares. This structure limits the liability of shareholders to the amount they have invested in the company. Generally, these companies do not offer shares for sale to the public.

The key features of a private company limited by shares are as follows:

  • The company must have at least one director and one shareholder. One person can fill both of these roles.
  • Directors run the company while shareholders own it and receive any profits generated.
  • The company must have a registered office, which can be either at the director’s home address or at another address in the UK.
  • The company must also have a unique company name.

How to register a company

Limited companies are registered with Companies House, which is the UK’s registrar of companies. The best way to start a company is through a company formation agency like Uniwide Formations.

There are several advantages to registering a company through a company formation agent. Firstly, we provide guidance and support throughout the process, which can be invaluable for first-time company directors.

We will supply all the documents and information you need to start. To prevent errors during your company formation and potential rejections from Companies House, we can verify that everything has been done correctly.

Finally, company formation agents often offer package deals which include everything that you need to get your company up and running, including a registered office address, VAT registration assistance and help to open a business bank account.

There are a few key steps that you must take when setting up a UK limited company. These are:

Choose a Company Name

Step 1. Choose a company name

The first step to set up a limited company is to choose your company name. The name which you choose must be unique and must not be the same as or too similar to an existing company name. It also cannot contain certain sensitive words or expressions, such as “Royal”, "Bank", etc., unless you have permission from the relevant authorities.

You can use our name search tool to find out whether your company name is available for registration. When you are naming a limited company, it should end with "Limited" or "Ltd".

Check whether your company name is available
Select a company formation package

Step 2. Select a formation package to set up your limited company

The next step is to select a company formation package. We offer various packages depending on your needs and budget. Our packages all include a £12.00 Companies House filing fee that we pay on your behalf, an introduction to an accountant, help setting up a business bank account and more.

More comprehensive packages may include a registered office address, business postal address and VAT registration assistance. Compare our company formation packages and choose the one that works best for you.

See our limited company formation packages
Checkout and Pay

Step 3. Proceed to the payment page and add any additional services

Once you have chosen a package you will be taken to the payment page. On this page you can add any additional services that you need, such as a registered office address or VAT registration assistance. You can also pay for your company formation by debit or credit card.

Company Details

Step 4. Complete the online application form

After you have made your payment to set up a limited company, you will be taken to the online application form. You will need to enter your company information at this stage, such as:

Our online application form is easy to complete and submit. It has explanations and useful tips to help you fill it in correctly. Feel free to contact to us by telephone, Livechat or e-mail if you need help to complete the form. We will guide you through the process and help you to fill in the form correctly.

The registered office address

If you do not have a separate business address then you can use your home address as the registered UK company address. Or, if you value your privacy and do not want your home address shown to the public, then we offer a Registered Office Service. This lets you register your business at our location in Kensington, London.

The company’s activities

When registering your company you will need to select an SIC code from an approved list. SIC stands for Standard Industrial Classification. This is a code that classifies businesses by their type of activity.

You can find a list of all available SIC codes when you are filling in your company registration order on our website.

The names and addresses of the directors

Anyone over the age of 16 can be a company director. You will need to provide the full name, home address, service address and date of birth of each director.

The names and addresses of the shareholders (also known as members)

A shareholder is someone who owns shares in a limited company. You will need to provide the full name, home address, service address and date of birth of each shareholder.

The company’s share capital

This is the total value of all shares in the company that have been issued. The minimum amount of share capital for a private limited company is £1.00.

When you register a limited company you will need to allocate shares to your shareholder(s). The simplest way is to give one share to each shareholder and make each individual share worth £1.00.

People with significant control over your company (PSCs)

A Person with Significant Control (PSC) is someone who has significant ownership and/or control of a company. They are sometimes called “beneficial owners”. A PSC is anyone who:

  • Owns more than 25% of the company’s shares.
  • Holds more than 25% of the company’s voting rights.
  • Holds the right to appoint or remove the majority of directors.
  • Holds the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control.
  • Holds the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant control over a trust or company that meets at least one of the first four conditions above.

UK companies must identify their PSCs and tell Companies House who they are. If you ultimately control more than 25% of the company or are a shareholder with more than 25% of the company’s shares, then you are a Person with Significant Control (PSC).

The company’s articles of association

The articles of association are a set of rules that govern how a company is run. They set out the rights and duties of shareholders, directors and company officers. You can either use our standard articles of association or you can customise them to fit your business needs.

See also: Seven Things to Decide when Setting Up a Limited Company

Further advantages of registering a company through Uniwide Formations

When you register your company on our company formation portal you get additional advantages.

Business bank account

After you have registered your company you will need to open a business bank account in the name of your new company in order to start trading. You will be able to apply for this business bank account through our platform. When you fill in the application on our website you will be given a list of up to 10 major UK banks from which to choose.

Check our business bank account options

Accounting software for setting up a limited company

Choosing an accounting software package is an important decision for any business. The right accounting software will make it easier to manage your finances and prepare your tax returns. It will also save you time and money in the long run.

The system will show you deals from accounting software providers that are available when you register a company through us.

Once you have finished the form, click on the "Submit" button and we will check through your application for you and then send it to Companies House for processing.

Receive your company documents

Most companies will be incorporated within 3 to 24 hours. After registering your company, you will receive a certificate of incorporation. This certificate confirms your company's successful registration as a legal entity. Keep this document safe, as you will need it for various official purposes.

We will also send you an email with a link to download your company documents. These include:

You can also access these documents at any time by logging into your account through our website, once you have set up a limited company with us.

Legal responsibilities after setting up your limited company

As the director of a limited company you will have certain legal responsibilities and must comply with reporting requirements. These include:

  • Keeping accounting records.
  • Filing annual accounts.
  • Submitting annual confirmation statements.

You will need to comply also with tax and employment legislation. Failure to do so can result in fines, penalties or even imprisonment.

Find out more in our articles:

We help people in the United Kingdom set up a limited company and start their own businesses. The entire registration process can be completed directly through our website: We make it easy and painless for you. To start a company there is no need to physically sign any documents or do a lot of paperwork: Everything can be done online.

Name Checker

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Company Formation

Select a Company Formation Package

Explore our range of incorporation packages. Compare them and choose the one that best suits your needs.

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