How to Open a Business in London

London is one of the busiest and most profitable cities in the UK and around the world for all sorts of businesses. There is much success available for all types of businesses but you will need to find the best location in order to be competitive. For example, if you are opening a resaurant you will want a busy location with stores and no other restaurant similar to yours.

Organize a business plan. Decide how you will advertise, how much money you will need, best location for your business in London, and how many employees you may need. Decide how much money you will pay your employees in order to attract them to work for you.

Decide on an original name for your business. You should choose a name that differentiates you from the competition since there is plenty of competition in London.

Fill out forms 10 and 12 and have a notary present to sign and stamp. The links to find the forms are included. You can also fill these forms out in the presence of the justice of the peace in London. The cost is about GBP 245. You will need to inform them if you are opening a self-employed company or operating as a company with more than one owner on these forms. Location and name of business are also required.

File incorporation documents with the Registrar of Companies at the Company House in London. The cost is about GBP 30.

Contact Inland Revenue. The IR will register your business for VAT with Customs and Excise. You will need to contact IR concerning registering for pay as you earn (PAYE) as well. PAYE deducts taxes automatically out of employees wages. You will receive a reference number within 5-10 days.

Sign up for insurance. In London it is required that every business has insurance for employees. The Employee's Liability Act of 1969 requires your business to display proof of insurance in the workplace.


  • Small businesses can pay a flat tax rate. Large businesses have to pay a 10 to 25 percent of earnings depending how frequently the taxes are paid.