During your time as a contractor, when you are running your own company, you may decide that you would like to change your company’s name for one reason or another. It could be that you feel that the name does not suit your current line of work. Alternatively, you may also feel that the current company name sounds no longer suitable for the type of professional services that you are offering.
I have many other guides that help you navigate Companies House and how to report and make certain changes. I have covered in my articles The SIC code, the UK Public Register, the duties of a company director, the Confirmation Statement, your official address as director (and how you can change this to protect your home address) and if you need a company secretary.
Check if the name is available
Before you apply to make the change in the name, you will need to check that you can obtain your new company name and that it is not already in use by another company. If the name is not available, Companies House will reject your request. Furthermore, Companies House may also reject this if the name is very similar to that of another company.
The process when you change your company’s name is fairly simple. The form to complete is NM01 -notice of change of name by resolution. You need to file the form with Companies House, and you can do this either by filing a form online or by sending one through the post.
I have a separate guide covering choosing a name for your company when you are forming your company for the first time.
How much does it cost?
When you submit a paper form to Companies House, the fee is £10, or £50 for a `same day service.’
You can, on the other hand, file the form online via the Companies House WebFiling service. The fee is £8, or £30 for a `same day service.’
As part of the process of changing the business name, your company can pass a special resolution at a director’s meeting. Furthermore, if you are a contractor with your own company, the shareholders can sign a written special resolution. There may also be another method defined in your Articles of Association.
Once you pass the resolution, you can submit the NM01 form with the correct fee to Companies House. They will process the name change within two or three working days.
If you are changing the name via a different method as defined in your Articles of Association (this is not likely for a contractor), the form to file is NM04.
Once Companies House process the change, they will issue a Certificate of Incorporation on Change of Name.
Once you receive approval of the change in name, you can then inform all other relevant parties.
First of all, you can inform your business bankers. The next step is to tell any clients or contacts. Finally, you can advise the VAT, PAYE/NIC, and Corporation Tax offices although in many cases contractors rely on their contractor accountant to make the changes with the tax offices.
Link to Contractor Advice UK group on