Set up as a sole trader

Naming your business as a sole trader


You can trade under your own name, or you can choose another name for your business. You don't need to register your name.

There are different rules for business partnerships and limited companies - see naming your partnership and naming your limited company

As a sole trader, you must include your name and business name (if you have one) on official paperwork, for example invoices and letters.

How to choose a business name

Sole trader names must not:

  • be offensive
  • be the same as an existing trade mark
  • include the following terms:
    • limited
    • Ltd
    • limited liability partnership
    • LLP
    • public limited company
    • plc

Your name also can't contain a sensitive word or expression, or suggest a connection with government or local authorities, unless you get permission.

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

Companies House outlines which words you need permission to use, and who from.

You'll need to register your name as a trade mark with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) if you want to stop people from trading under your business name.