Online company formation
  •   From just £30 (+ VAT)
  •   Secure online forms
  •   PDF certificate of incorporation
Bespoke company formation
  •   From £52
  •   Creation of multiple share classes
  •   Help from our formations experts
Ready made companies
  •   From £100
  •   Instant company and company number
  •   Off the shelf companies available
Specialist formation
  •   Guarantee companies
  •   Right-to-manage (RTM) companies
  •   Charities and more

Online Company Formation


Our simple online process lets you complete your new company application in a few short minutes, with your company usually ready to trade within 3-4* working hours. Your application is delivered to Companies House electronically, with no paperwork or signatures required.


*The vast majority of our companies are set up within 3-4 working hours, however, due to circumstances beyond our control, some companies may take longer, e.g. due to Companies House workload, technical issues, etc

Bespoke Company Formation


If you have specific requirements, such as multiple share classes, for instance, and you’d like help and advice from our experts, we recommend using our bespoke service. Our experts can tailor make the company for you and ensure you have the right structure from the start

Bespoke Formation

Ready Made Companies


A ready made (or off the shelf) company is one that has already been formed at Companies House; a registered company with a company number available for immediate use. Prices start from just £100.

Up to date.

All our ready-made companies are up to date, with dormant statutory filing.


Available Immediately.

Company number is available for immediate use.


Competitive Prices.

Prices vary depending on date of formation: for older companies, please call for prices.

If you require a company that has been established for a specific length of time we have a wide range of vintage ready made companies available, price on application.

Specialist Formation


The majority of companies formed in the UK are Private Companies Limited by Shares. We are, however, able to form every type of UK company, simply check the list below to find the type of company you wish to form.

  • The most common form of Limited Company.
  • Typically used if you are trading for profit
  • Needs a minimum of one director and one shareholder, but this can be the same person

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  • The format used by not for profit companies
  • No shareholders but the company has members who guarantee to pay a fixed sum in the event of winding up

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  • A form of company limited by guarantee with articles specifically drafted to be acceptable to the Charity Commissioners.
  • Once registered as a company, application can be made for registration as a charity.
  • A company format designed for social enterprises that benefit the community
  • A more flexible format than a charity, a CIC can undertake any activities that benefit the community and can raise capital and pay dividends (subject to a cap).
  • Can be limited by shares or by guarantee.
  • A halfway house between a limited company and a traditional partnership
  • The LLP confers limited liability on its members (equivalent to partners) but those members are taxed individually
  • Commonly used by professional practices but can suit many different types of business.

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  • A company limited by shares that is permitted to raise capital subject to certain conditions by public offer
  • A required format for listing on the Stock Exchange but subject to rigorous disclosure requirements with none of the exemptions available to private companies.
  • A minimum of two directors required and a qualified company secretary

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FAQs


The permitted formats are:

  • Private company limited by shares
  • Public company limited by shares
  • Private company limited by guarantee
  • Unlimited Company

An alternative to a company is a Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)

All companies must be registered (‘incorporated’) with Companies House. To do this you need:

  • a company name - there are rules on what it can and cannot include
  • an address for the company
  • at least one director
  • at least one shareholder
  • the agreement of all initial shareholders (‘subscribers’) to create the company - known as a ‘memorandum of association’
  • details of the company’s shares and the rights attached to them - known as a ‘statement of capital’
  • written rules about how the company is run - known as ‘articles of association’

We can take you through the entire process on our online formation system and help you create the relevant articles and statement of capital.


Once the company is registered you will receive a ‘Certificate of Incorporation’. This is a confirmation that the company legally exists and shows the company number and date of formation.

By using the Stanley Davis online formations system or Stanley Davis Same day formations service you could have a company formed the same day.

The liability for debts in a limited company is usually limited to the shareholders. Exactly what liability you have depends on the type of limited company you create.


Company Limited by shares

A private company limited by shares is owned by its members (also known as shareholders). Each member agrees to pay the issue price of their share or shares so if the company were to be liquidated they would owe the company any balance that they have not paid. If shares are fully paid up then the member has no further liability.


Company Limited by guarantee

The members of this type of company guarantee to pay a fixed amount per member in the event of liquidation. The amount is usually a nominal £1.

Yes, these are called ready made companies. We have a selection of companies available with up to date dormant records, you can simply choose one by name or by age. The name can be changed for an extra fee. Please see our section on Readymade companies.

Your registered office address is where official communications will be sent, eg letters from Companies House and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The registered office address will be made publicly available at Companies House.


The address must be:

  • a physical address
  • in the same country that your company is registered in, eg a company registered in England must have a registered address in England and a company registered in Scotland must have a registered office in Scotland.

We provide a registered office address service., This is recommended for those who do not have an active office address, or who wish to keep their alternative address private. This service comes with an optional additional mail forwarding facility.

A private company must have at least one director whereas a public company needs two. These are the legal minimums but please note that a higher figure can be set in the articles of association. A charity, for example, will normally need to have at least two directors.


A director must be 16 or over and not be disqualified from being a director.


Another company can be a director, but at least one of your company’s directors must be a person. From October 2016 the law will change to prohibit all corporate directors although there may be some exemptions.


A director is legally responsible for running the company and making sure company accounts and reports are prepared properly.


Directors’ names and addresses are publicly available from Companies House. You need to supply a ‘service address’ as well as your residential address. The service address is visible to the public but the residential address is reserved for Companies House, law enforcement agencies and credit reference agencies. It is possible to apply to protect your residential address from credit reference agencies if you or your family are at risk of abuse or harm because of your company’s business.

A private company, need not have a company secretary. However, all the duties of a company secretary still need to be performed and Stanley Davis Group can supply this service


The company secretary is a legal officer of the company and is responsible for the administration of the company such as:

  • Establishing and maintaining the companies registered office
  • Informing companies house of any significant changes in the company’s share capital or company officers
  • Arranging board meetings
  • Filing annual returns and maintaining statutory books is the legal responsibility of the directors but this role is normally delegated to the company secretary.

The company secretary can be a director but cannot be:

  • the company’s auditor
  • an ‘undischarged bankrupt’ - unless they have permission from the court

No, not for a private limited company. For a public company the Secretary has to be qualified within the provision of section 273 of the Companies Act 2006. The directors are required to take all reasonable steps to secure that the secretary or each joint secretary of the company is a person who appears to them to have the requisite knowledge and experience to discharge the functions of secretary and who is:

  1. ) a barrister, advocate or solicitor called or admitted in any part of the UK;
  2. ) a member of any of the following bodies:
    1. the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales;
    2. the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland;
    3. the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants;
    4. the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland;
    5. the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators;
    6. the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants;
    7. the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy; or
  3. ) a person who by virtue of his holding or having held any other position or his being a member of any other body appears to the directors to be capable of discharging the functions of secretary

Stanley Davis Group are able to supply this service.

When you register a company you need to make a ‘statement of capital’. This includes:

  • the number of shares of each type the company has and their total value - known as the company’s ‘share capital’
  • the names and addresses of all proposed shareholders - known as ‘subscribers’ or ‘members’

Example: A company that issues 500 shares at £1 each has a share capital of £500.

Your statement of capital also contains information about shares known as ‘prescribed particulars’.


Your prescribed particulars say what rights each type (known as ‘class’) of share gives the shareholder, and must include rights to

  • dividends
  • voting
  • return of capital on winding up
  • redemption

A typical company has one class of shares which will be called ‘ordinary’ shares and the prescribed particulars would be: “Shares have full rights in the company with respect to voting, dividends and distributions and are not redeemable”

When you register your company you must get the agreement of all the initial shareholders and have rules about how the company will be managed. This will be vitally important in how you make future decisions about the company.


You must make a ‘memorandum of association’ - a legal statement signed by all initial shareholders (known as ‘subscribers’) confirming they agree to form the company. The exact wording of the statement cannot be changed and must be in the statutory format.


Most companies use standard (known as ‘model’) articles. We can provide model articles for a company limited by shares or a company limited by guarantee.


The Companies Act prescribes ‘model articles’ which a company can opt to choose in their entirety but these do not cover all situations that may arise. Stanley Davis use articles specially drafted to allow maximum flexibility and offer a number of advantages. Our drafting team can assist you with your special requirements. We recommend our bespoke company formation service for this option.

HMRC will send your company a letter with your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) to your registered office address, usually within a few days of the company being registered (incorporated).


The letter tells you how to:

  • give HMRC the information they need about your company
  • set up your company’s HMRC online account for Company Tax Returns and Corporation Tax

You must provide HMRC with the information on your company within 3 months of starting up in business. You may be liable for a penalty if you do not do this. Any business activity counts as starting up, eg buying, selling, employing someone, advertising or renting a property.


HMRC will use this information to work out when your company must pay Corporation Tax.

You will need to register your company for VAT if its turnover exceeds the threshold of £83,000. We offer a complete VAT registration and administration service. For full details please go to the section on VAT.

A name will not be registered if:

  1. ) it is the same as a name already appearing on the Companies House index
  2. ) it contains the words ‘Limited’, ‘Ltd’, ‘Unlimited’, or ‘Public Limited Company’, ‘PLC’, ‘Limited Liability Partnership’ or ‘LLP’ or their Welsh equivalents or abbreviations, except at the end of the name
  3. ) in the opinion of the Secretary of State it is offensive
  4. ) in the opinion of the Secretary of State its use would constitute a criminal

In addition, some names need special justification or approval before they can be registered. These include names which contain words prescribed by regulations and names which suggest a connection with central or local government.

Before you apply to set up a company, or do anything to change its name, we suggest you carry out a name check on the Stanley Davis website to see if there are already any companies with names similar to the one you want.


Registering a company or using a business name does not mean it is protected as a trade mark - you have to register trade marks separately.


You may still want to check the trade mark register before registering your name to make sure you can register it as a trade mark.

You can trade using a different name to your registered name. This is known as a ‘business name’.


Business names must not:

  • include ‘limited’, ‘Ltd’, ‘limited liability partnership, ‘LLP’, ‘public limited company’ or ‘plc’
  • be the same as an existing trade mark
  • contain a ‘sensitive’ word or expression unless you get permission

You can use the business name on your stationery and correspondence but depending on your legal structure you must include:

  • the names of your partners
  • the company name
  • your personal name if you are a sole trader

Yes, but only for certain specific groups such as banks or financial companies.

Yes, to act as representative at General Meetings

Companies can be formed using any currency, however the usual currency is pounds sterling. If you require a company with share capital in any other currency, please contact us for more details.