How much does it cost to set up a limited company?

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Setting up a limited company in the United Kingdom is relatively cheap and quick, compared with the effort involved in starting the business itself. It may surprise you to learn that one can form a limited company, directly via Companies House, for only £12.

If you would rather not deal with the paperwork yourself, however, then you may hire a professional company formation firm like Uniwide Formations to handle it all for you. This will cost more, starting from £15.99, but will give you the peace of mind that everything will be done correctly and swiftly.

What are your options?

In all cases the company formation itself will be recorded on the register at Companies House. There are, however, three typical routes to forming a new company:

  • Direct with Companies House.
  • Use an accountant or solicitor.
  • Use a company formations agent.

Choosing the right option for you will depend on a number of factors, such as whether you feel confident in dealing with Companies House, whether you need any professional advice and whether speed is of the essence.

Forming a company directly via Companies House

The most direct route, unsurprisingly, is to incorporate your new company directly with the registrar at Companies House. You can either do this online or submit paper forms by post.

To submit an application online you must first create a free account at Companies House. The standard registration costs £12. You will need to complete the form IN01, which asks for details about the director/s and shareholder/s, the registered office address of your firm and other company information.

If you would prefer to register by post then you will need to fill in the physical version of the application form IN01. To apply by post costs £40 and may take 8 to 10 days.

Forming a company directly with Companies House is a cost-effective way to set up your business. You will have direct access to the registrar, which means you can complete the process quickly but without any help.

The disadvantages of forming a company directly via Companies House are as follows:

  • The process may be slower than using a professional Formation Agent.
  • Without assistance, the process might be frustrating or even impossible. You must have a thorough understanding of the procedure in order to complete it on your own.
  • Companies House may reject your application if it is incomplete or incorrect.
  • You will need to provide Companies House with the company’s registered address and the director’s service address, which must be your workplace or home address. This address will be made public, since it will be accessible to everyone on the public record through the Companies House website.  In contrast to this, most Formation Agents can provide your company with a registered address that is separate from your home or other address.
  • You will need to find a bank that will set up a company account in the name of your new firm. Many Formation Agents can help you with this, whereas Companies House cannot.
  • You will get no special discounts or incentives from other business sources, such as Card Acquirers, Domain Registration Services or Accounting Software Providers whereas, in contrast, most Formation Agents can give you all of these and more.

Using an accountant or solicitor to register a business

If you are not confident in dealing with Companies House yourself, or if you feel you need some professional advice, then another option is to use an accountant or solicitor to handle the incorporation process for you. This will obviously cost more than doing it yourself but should increase the chance that everything will be done correctly.

Accountants are often best placed to help with the financial aspects of setting up a new business, such as tax and accounting. Costs will vary depending upon whom you use but, as a guide, an accountant may charge anywhere from £100 to £500+VAT, whereas a solicitor is likely to charge between £200 and £1,000+VAT.

There are some drawbacks to using an accountant or solicitor while registering a company, including:

  • The procedure is generally slower than that of using a professional Company Formation Agency.
  • Forming a company using an accountant or solicitor may often be considerably more expensive than using a professional Company Formation Agent.
  • You cannot take advantage of the same special deals that you are offered when working with a Company Formation Agent (e.g. specific discounts on various business services or banks).

Using a professional Company Formation Agent

This is the service that we provide at Uniwide Formations. There are numerous specialist business formation agents in the UK who can help you set up your new firm quickly and efficiently. This choice may be more expensive than going direct to Companies House but it is generally far less expensive that trying to use an accountant or solicitor, it means that everything is handled for you and it offers you many services that Companies House cannot provide.

If you have not dealt with Companies House before and would rather not take the risk then using a professional Company Formation Agent is an excellent choice. Most UK company formation agents are securely linked to Companies House and file incorporation papers electronically, affording you the quickest service possible whereby your firm can be registered in less than 24 hours or, sometimes, even on the same day.

There are several more benefits to hiring a formation agent rather than attempting to incorporate a firm or form a partnership on one’s own, even though there is a Companies House web form. You need not worry about any paperwork since we will handle it all for you.

Add-ons are a vital component of many formation services. A professional formation service may include, among other things, help with the type of business that best meets your needs, company name creation guidance, registered office address and post forwarding services, VAT and PAYE registration assistance, business bank account referrals, and so forth. Everything that you need to start on the right foot is available through a Formation Agent.

The costs vary and you can pay anything from a few pounds to a few hundred, depending upon the company formation package that you choose.

At Uniwide Formations we offer a variety of company formation packages – beginning from as little as £15.99. Simply select the package that best suits your needs.

* All costs mentioned are as at the time of writing and may change.

This is only a brief overview of the cost of setting up – i.e. registering – a limited company. Several options are available to you, as you can see, and the cost will depend upon which route you choose. 

For more information on setting up a limited company, please contact Uniwide Formations today. We will be happy to discuss your specific needs and help you find the best solution for your new business.

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