Business Names

A business name is the name used by any person, partnership or company for carrying on business or trading.

This Crab Alert applies to;

  • the proprietor of a business which trades under a name that is not their surname (with or without initials or forenames);
  • a partnership which does not use the names of all the partners;
  • a limited liability partnership or limited company which trades under a name that is different from its registered company name.

In essence you must ensure that your customers know who they are trading with. If you use a business name it does not have to be registered with anyone. Some words are banned from use in a business name and there are restrictions on the use of others.

You will need to give the name of the legal entity or entities using it. You will also need to give an address in the UK, at which documents can be served, for each person (or corporation) named, e.g. the registered office address of a limited company.

This information must be shown legibly in any place where you carry on your business and where you deal with customers or suppliers, on business letters, written orders for the supply of goods or services, business emails, invoices and receipts and written demands for the payment of business debts. A company will also need to comply with disclosure requirements in relation to its name and registered office address on business documents and websites.  

Failure to comply with the requirements is a criminal offence under the Companies Act 2006 and in addition you may be unable to enforce your contracts with others.