If you want to buy a limited company, but baulk at the mountain of pre-planning and legal necessities required, why not buy a ready-made company?
A ready made shelf company is a dormant limited company pre-registered at Companies House. These companies have no trading history and, upon purchase, can begin trading immediately.
Ready made shelf companies - the business equivalent of buying an off the peg suit from Reiss, as opposed to getting yourself measured up for the bespoke equivalent on Savile Row
Ready-made shelf companies do pretty much as they say on the tin. It’s the business equivalent of buying an off the peg suit from Reiss, as opposed to getting yourself measured up for the bespoke equivalent on Savile Row.
The benefits and drawbacks of ready made shelf companies can also be adequately illustrated by the tailoring analogy. Off the peg businesses are all about convenience, the work of registering the company name and URL has already been done on your behalf. Effectively, you’re purchasing the finished product; quick, easy and ready to get started.
On the negative side, have you ever bought an off the peg suit only the find it’s a bit tight across the chest, short in the arm or wide around the ankle? Ready made shelf companies require a certain amount of compromise on the buyer’s behalf. You may not get exactly what you’re looking for, but the trick is to find the nearest possible fit to your desired model.
What do you get for the money?
The number of facets and bolt-ons that arrive with your ready made company will vary between brokers. However, your company should incorporate some or all of the following:
- Domain name
- Registration at Companies House
- Website hosting and design
- Multiple email addresses
- Free accounting
- Certificate of incorporation
- Statutory registers
Buying a VAT registered ready made company is not recommended (it requires a degree of dishonesty on the VAT registration form which will inevitably lead to prosecution). Many brokers will VAT register a newly created off the shelf company on your behalf for a fee of around £150, but you can do it yourself for free at HM Revenue and Customs.
In a hurry? Act now!
If you’re considering the purchase of a ready made shelf company, check out the myriad listings on the aforementioned brokers’ sites today. Be aware that buying a ready made company is generally more expensive than registering a new company; most off the shelf companies incur a ‘holding fee’.
Moreover, annual returns and corporation returns (yearly legal requirements) may also have been filed at a cost to the company’s vendor, and they’ll be expecting you to cover these costs also.