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Advice for Small Business Series: How to shop for a Company Formation Service

Blog post   •   Sep 15, 2014 13:55 BST

As part of our Advice for Small Business Series Chris Tapley from Rapid Formations shares expert advice on how to shop for the right company formations service.

When forming a UK Limited Company you need to be officially registered with Companies House, the UK registrar of companies. In the past this had to be done directly and was a complicated and expensive procedure, but the whole process can now be done quickly, easily and much more affordably through an online company formation agent. There are a number of formation services to choose from, so finding the right one to register your company requires a little bit of consideration.

What you need to know?

First you need to know what kind of company you will be starting, as there are a few different types of limited company you can form. For most people this will be what’s known as a company Limited by Shares – the standard for profit business structure, and the most popular type of company formed in the UK. However you should also be aware of Limited Liability Partnerships, often used by the likes of solicitors, doctors and architects, and also companies Limited by Guarantee – which are used for non-profit organisations and charities. Rapid Formations offers all of the above company types, but some agents will only offer a standard Limited by Shares company so it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right type of company for your line of business.

Understanding the extras

You should also have a clear understanding of what you need as part of your company formation, because most agents offer a range of packages including various additional services. Packages range from basic registration only to some which include VAT & PAYE registration, Annual Return filing and more. While this will incur more initial cost it can also remove some of the burden of administration further down the line so is definitely worth considering – just ensure the package isn’t loaded with services you don’t need. Think carefully about which services are adding real value to your company formation.

Once you have a package you like, it’s often wise to do that little bit of extra research - you can tell a lot about the quality of a company’s services by looking at their online customer reviews, so it’s worth doing an online search beyond the agents’ website itself to help validate your choice before moving forward. Forming your company is a big step and it’s important to get it right.

Once you’ve decided

After selecting your company formation service of choice, there are a few more things you should do to ensure the process goes smoothly. Firstly, you will need to choose a company name - most formation agents provide a name-check tool where you can type in the desired name of your new company to find out if it’s available or not.

We also recommend checking there is an appropriate website domain available to match your company name – you can easily search this through a domain registry service like GoDaddy or 123Reg. You should also gather all of the information required to complete your application – we’ve compiled a handy little checklist of details you will need. If you have all of the information to hand, your application can be completed within about 10 minutes and the company formed within 3 working hours - then you can get down to actually running your business. It really is that simple!


This article was written by Chis Tapley - part of the content and digital media team at Rapid Formations.

Rapid Formations are leading providers of company formation in the UK, offering 3 hour online formation and a range of address services.

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