Setting up a limited company in the UK can be a straightforward process.
Unlike many other European countries, registering a private company in the UK has relatively relaxed initial share capital requirements and few administrative burdens to comply with.
There are two methods of setting up a company in the UK with Companies House:
Setting up a Company Electronically
Setting up a company electronically has become the industry standard and now accounts for over 90% of all formation requests sent to Companies House. The process is usually very fast and is generally quite an easy to undertake and complete.
Setting up a Company Using Form IN01
Using paper forms is the traditional way of setting up a company. Form IN01 are used to make the appointment of the directors, secretaries (company officers) and to list the subscribers.
The declarant then signs the form and dispatches the registration request to Companies House for their approval.
Time Taken to Set-up a UK Company
The official formation time to set-up a UK company electronically is 5 business days. In practice however, the vast majority of company formations are completed within three hours of being submitted.
Several company formation agents offer a guaranteed same-day registration service for which customers are charge an additional fee. Online submission before 2.45 GMT will guarantee that the company will be set-up on that day.
Setting up a company using Forms IN01 takes considerably longer, approximately 2 to 3 weeks. Further delays to the incorporation of the company could occur if either Form IN01 are filled in incorrectly. It is sometimes the case that a registration starts down the paper company formation route but is then switched to the electronic method. The process then culminates in the company set-up taking three hours after the purchaser has spent weeks struggling with the traditional option.
Company Formation Services
UK Company formation agents usually offer a range of services and products. The basic company registration service can cost between £19.99 and £34.99 and provides the customer with an electronic memorandum and articles of association (usually in Word format) and a PDF certificate of incorporation. There may also be first minutes from the directors meeting, confirmation of the appointment of directors, secretary and subscribers, the Form PR1 and the security code to activate it.
An additional £10 spent on a company formation package will usually include the basic electronic registration service plus a printed certificate of incorporation. The printed certificate will be requested by a bank when opening a business account.
Other services and features offered as part of more expensive packages include:
- Registered office - when setting up a UK company it is mandatory for the declarant to stipulate and address within England or Wales or Scotland if it is to be a Scottish company that will be used as the company's official residence. Using a formation agent's registered office can result in the purchaser' s home addresses being spared from the multitude of Spam mail which is often received at a company's registered office.
- Bound copies of company documents. Having a company's memorandum and articles of association, certificate of incorporation bound and placed in a company folder keeps the documents organised. The purchaser would have to make a judgment as to the value of this and other services offered by the company formation agents.