Register the business
How to DIY or outsource it to us or a 3rd party
It is a lot easier than people think to form a company, but for piece of mind, you may choose to outsource it to a specialist.
Whichever route you select, here's what you should know.

UK Registered Address

Before forming the company, you need to have access to a UK registered address. This address will be visible and searchable on the public record at Companies House. You can use your own address, but most will use that of their accountant's or a dedicated address provider.
We provide a registered address service, which costs £10 per month, which means we will handle any correspondence from HMRC and Companies House.
However, this is not a correspondence address, so if you want to be able to have a UK address where you can receive general mail, returns, packages, etc. and have these forwarded on, rather than returned to sender, we would recommend using a dedicated address service provider.

Forming and registering a business yourself

Limited Company
Sole Trader
You will form your company at Companies House and typically you will have your formed company in one or two working days. Companies House will charge you £12.
  1. 1.
    Check that the name is available by using the Companies House's name checker
  2. 2.
    Provide a UK address when forming your company. You can use your own UK address, our registered address if you are a client, or that of a dedicated registered address service provider.
  3. 3.
    Visit https://www.gov.uk/limited-company-formation/register-your-company, start a new application and follow the steps.
  4. 4.
    Adopt the default articles of association which can easily be changed later if required.
  5. 5.
    If you are the sole shareholder, adopt the default share option of 1 share for £1. If you are multiple owners, issue 100 or 1,000 shares worth 1p each and allocate according to ownership. Ownership changes and additional share classes can be adjusted easily later if required.
  6. 6.
    When prompted for your SIC code use SIC Code 47910 (Retail sale via mail order houses or via Internet).
  1. 1.
    Visit https://www.gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader and follow the steps. Easy!
You will be offered the option of VAT registering straight away. In general for an ecommerce business, this is not advisable. You can register later easily, at which point you will be able to reclaim VAT up to 6 months prior to your registration date, so there is nothing to be gained by registering prematurely.

Getting someone else to form your business

Limited Company
Sole Trader
There are plenty of businesses that specialise in forming companies. Some will even do it for less than the £12 Companies House cost, in order to try and secure your ongoing business for address services, referral commission from setting up your banking relationship, etc.
We are happy to provide this service to you, and we charge £49+VAT. You can alternatively look at a range of providers, with some of the most popular being:
The three above providers are amongst the most popular we know of and all get 4.9 stars on TrustPilot for their services.
You'll have to do it yourself, but fortunately, all you need to do is visit https://www.gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader and follow the steps. Easy!
Last modified 11mo ago