Who to contact when setting up

Organisations to contact when starting up (in the UK)

When starting a business, there are a number of organisations that need to be contacted, some compulsory for all businesses, and some dependent upon your business type. Use the list below as a guide.

HM Revenue & Customs

Everyone starting a new business must register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC, www.hmrc.gov.uk). This is primarily for tax and National Insurance purposes. If you intend to employ staff you will need to register with HMRC as an employer.


Companies House

You must contact Companies House if your new business is to be either a limited company or a limited liability partnership (LLP). Limited companies and LLPs must be registered as legal entities with Companies House before they can start trading (this is known as incorporation).


Local authority

You should contact the local authority in the area/s in which your business will operate to check whether you will be liable for business rates and whether you require a trading licence or permit, or need to apply for planning permission.

Business rates will be payable for a property that is used for purposes other than domestic accommodation.  This may also apply if you use a section of your home exclusively for business.

Licences may be required for businesses that:

  • Provide special treatments such as hairdressers and masseurs
  • Sell goods in the street or at markets such as market stall holders
  • Uses skin piercing such as tattoos, acupuncture, ear piercing
  • Involves the use of animals such as dog kennels
  • Runs a campsite or caravan site
  • Involves a sexual nature such as sex shop or adult nightclub
  • Sell or serve alcohol
  • Hold events or entertainment
  • Run gambling facilities
  • Sell or prepare food or drink
  • Play music on the premises


Mortgage provider or landlord

There may be a clause in your mortgage agreement that prohibits you from running a business from your home.  If you rent your home you must get permission from your landlord before running a business from their premises.



A limited company, partnership or LLP will need to have a business bank account. If you are a sole trader, check whether you are able to use your personal account for your business banking also.  Some banks have a restriction not allowing you to use your personal account for business banking.


Insurance broker

There are a number of insurances that are mandatory when starting a business and it is important to ensure you have the right cover for your business.  Insurance always seems expensive until you need to make a claim so please don’t think it won’t happen to you.  Contact a broker who is familiar with, or specialises, in your business type.


Jobcentre Plus

You need to inform JobCentrePlus if you are claiming benefits as any hours you work and income you make are likely to affect your entitlements.


Dependent upon your business type

Dependent upon your business type you may also need to register with

Trading Standards

Businesses that trade in second-hand goods, sell poisons, or operate public weighbridges may need to register with their local trading standards department.


Health and Safety Executive

All businesses need to be aware of health and safety practices but those such as shops, hotels, sports facilities, restaurants etc will be subject to a visit from their local authority.


Pollution Prevention and Control

Pollution prevention and control (PPC) permits and waste management licences regulate business activities that could have an impact on the environment or human health.


Commercial Waste Disposal

As a business, you have a legal Duty of Care to make sure the waste you produce is stored, transported, disposed of or recycled in a safe and legal manner.  You may need to register your business if you produce or store hazardous waste.


Information Commissioner’s Office

If you handle personal information about individuals as part of your business you will need to register as a data controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).


Financial Conduct Authority

The Financial Conduit Authority regulates any business that provides financial services to consumers.


Please note this list is not exhaustive and you will need to do your own research to check if there are any other organisations that need to be contacted dependent upon your business type.