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.

Business names

Sole trader names must not:

  • include 'limited', 'Ltd', 'limited liability partnership', 'LLP', 'public limited company' or 'plc'
  • be offensive
  • be the same as an existing trade mark

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).

GOV.UK 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 if you want to stop people from trading under your business name.