How To Check Company Name Availability

Learn the most efficient way of knowing whether you'll be able to use your desired name for your new company.

Updated: July 9, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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It goes without saying that getting started on a new business venture is a pretty exciting prospect, but forgetting to check whether or not your potential company's name is even available is definitely possible amidst all of the thrills.

In the United Kingdom specifically, anyone who might be thinking about starting a new company needs to walk through a pretty convoluted process to become fully registered, and this all starts with an authoritative body known as the Companies House.

Naturally, you want to be spending as little time as possible dealing with bureaucratic processes such as this when you're just starting out, so throughout this guide, we'll be taking you through the fastest way you can check the availability of a company name — ultimately aiming to give you as hassle-free a registration process as possible.

Understanding the Importance of Creative Business Names

We'll explore how to actually check if your name of choice is free or not in a moment, but it's worth providing a little bit of background information to cover why having a unique and fairly memorable business name is important in the first place.

While most people might only think of a company name as a way of identifying you, it's actually a much more crucial part of your brand identity that possibly goes slightly under-looked in its significance — not only does an iconic and original name distinguish you from the competition, but it simply has a generally positive contribution to the overall success of your business.

With all of this in mind, just make sure you understand why this is a worthy step before going further forward with your business registration.

Moving forward, let's talk about what steps you need to take to continue with your preferred company name.

Utilising the Companies House Register

In essence, the overall process for registering and monitoring all the various businesses in the United Kingdom is an authoritative body known as the Companies House.

Generally speaking, the process for this registration can actually be completed fairly swiftly if you know where you're looking, so at this stage, move over to the official Companies House website to search if your company name is free.

From here, a search bar will be displayed where you can access a relatively vast database with information on both past and existing registered company names — making this the obvious starting point for ensuring your proposed company name is unique enough.

Entering Your Preferred Company Name

Naturally, you'd always want to make sure you had a few backup business name ideas just in case your first choice is already taken. So, if the name you intended to use is taken, just substitute an adjacent-sounding one or perhaps change the brand name altogether.

Analysing the Search Results

Once you hit the company name search button and you're given a list of results related to whatever query you typed in, have a look through and check for any possible matches or even just similarities to your preferred company name.

In addition, make sure the status of all the companies that you're looking at is listed so you can tell whether they're currently active or have dissolved, as this can obviously have an effect on the names' availability.

Same Group Consideration

Lastly on this section, take note of any companies that could potentially belong to the same group — the name might slightly differ, but you definitely want to ensure there's no potential confusion with an existing company, especially those within the same corporate group.

Beyond Companies House: Checking Domain Availability

If once you've checked the Companies House website, the name you had in mind for your business is already in use, it might be worth using a business name generator if you're stuck for inspiration.

This'll essentially provide you with a catchy business name idea and whether its domain is available or not.

When you consider how much of an impact your company name can have on your overall brand, this step becomes particularly useful, even more, if you're struggling to find an available name that resonates with your brand.

Choosing a Preferred Company Name From the Generator

Obviously, the business name generator is going to need some clues of what your company is all about, so input some keywords or ideas into it, and you should see a list of potential online business names pop up — simply choose whichever one stands out to you the most and aligns with your vision.

Checking Domain Availability

Unfortunately, it's not always enough to simply have a good idea for a business name; you've got to check whether the corresponding domain for it is actually available.

Having said that, you can use plenty of domain registration websites or even the tools that are available on business name generator platforms to check this, so it's quite easy to know whether it's free or not straight away.

For additional context, it's not exactly imperative for you to have a domain matching your business name, but it can definitely help enhance your online visibility and make it easier for customers to find your business if they are the same.

Before moving forward, keep in mind that whichever name you choose naturally can't have any kind of likeness to the domain address of government or local authorities, so ensure your business name is entirely different.

Finalising Your Preferred Company Name

Once you've confirmed the availability of your chosen name, proceed to register your company with the Companies House.

This involves submitting the necessary documentation and completing the registration process. Keep in mind that registering as a private limited company is a common choice for new businesses in the UK.

Securing Your Online Presence

Simultaneously, secure the domain associated with your company name. This ensures that your online presence is aligned with your registered business identity. Choose a reliable domain registrar and complete the registration process promptly.

FAQs

Are There Any Restrictions on the Characters or Format of a Company Name?

How Long Does It Take to Register a Company Name With Companies House?

Can I Reserve a Company Name Before Officially Registering It?

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