You can set up a private limited company to run your business.
All limited companies must be registered (‘incorporated’) with Companies House. To do this you need:
- a company name - there are rules on what it can and can’t 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’
Once the company is registered you’ll get a ‘Certificate of Incorporation’. This confirms the company legally exists and shows the company number and date of formation.
Types of private limited company
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.
Limited by shares
A private company limited by shares is owned by its members (called shareholders). Each member’s liable for the original value of the shares they were issued but didn’t pay for.
A shareholder has 500 shares originally valued at £1 each. They have previously paid for 100 shares, ie £100. At the time the company fails, they’re liable up to the original value of shares they haven’t paid for, ie £400.
Limited by guarantee
A private company limited by guarantee means the members of the company financially back it up to an agreed amount.
Its members aren’t called shareholders.