Choose the right name for your business
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)
- contain prescribed or sensitive words and expressions, unless you have obtained permission to use them - see use of sensitive words and expressions in business names
If you register a limited partnership you must include either 'Limited Partnership' or 'LP' at the end of your business name.
For more information see:
- rules for naming your business
- naming your business as a sole trader
- naming your partnership
- name your limited company
Check if another business is 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. Follow the steps below:
- Check local phone books, business directories and the internet.
- Make sure your proposed name - or something similar - hasn't been registered by a company.
- Make sure the name isn't too similar to a word or expression that has been registered as a trade mark.
- Search for an available company name and trade mark.