The trading name is an alternative to a company’s official Companies House name. Their use is legitimate and common amongst UK business owners. If you have ever noticed the below, or something similar, on a website or letterhead, you have seen a company using a trading name.
Big Burger Van Limited trading as Vegan Food Pop-Ups
In this instance, ‘Big Burger Van Limited’ is the company name, and ‘Vegan Food Pop-Ups’ is the trading name (also known as the business name or trading as name).
The company name
When you form a limited company, you need to pick a company name. This name must be unique and can’t be similar to another name that already exists on the Companies House register.
By forming a limited company, you are also protecting your company name, as you’re stopping anyone else from registering the same name, or anything similar, with Companies House.
Why use a trading name?
There are a number of reasons why a business may want to use a trading name instead of their registered company name:
Clarify services – A company may offer different services not made immediately clear by the overarching company name, and so decides to use alternative names to highlight these.
Keep administration simple – A company grows to offer new products and services, but to minimise admin (such as the confirmation statement, annual accounts, etc.) the business owners use different trading names instead of forming new companies.
Branding opportunities – A company recognises that a new trading name is better, from a marketing perspective, than the company name.
Protecting a trading name
Trading names do not receive the same level of protection as company names because they’re not registered by Companies House. You can, however, register the trading name as a trade mark to offer some protection.
If you are going to use a trading name…
- Check the Companies House register and trade mark database to ensure your trading name isn’t the same or similar to anything else currently in use
- Display your company name and trading name on your website, on any correspondence, and at your place of business
- Tell HMRC and your bank that you are using a trading name – this will help you avoid tax complications and payment issues
A trading name can be helpful as you grow your business. Just make sure you do everything you can to protect your brand – and reputation – by doing your due diligence when it comes to the names that you do use.
We hope this blog post has been useful. Please leave any questions below and we’ll be happy to help.