Types of Company in the UK: Pros & Cons Explained

Looking to set up a business in the United Kingdom? This blog will cover the various types of company in the UK along with the pros and cons of each business structure. Register your business with OnDemand International experts today.


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    If you are considering launching a firm in the United Kingdom, then one of the most important things to consider is selecting the appropriate legal structure. Different types of companies in the UK offer various advantages and disadvantages depending on your business goals, the level of control you desire, and your financial situation. This guide will walk you through the main types of companies in the UK, including their pros and cons, helping you make an informed decision.

    What are the types of companies in the UK?

    Here are the various types of business structures in the UK:

    1. Sole Trader

    A sole trader is the most fundamental kind of business structure, wherein one person owns and operates the whole enterprise. 


    • Full Control: You have total control over all business choices when you operate as a sole proprietor.
    • Simple to Set Up: The business registration procedure is simple, with minimal documentation and low start-up expenses.
    • Tax Advantage: You can take advantage of certain tax reductions and benefits.


    • Unlimited Liability: You have personal responsibility for the debts and liabilities of the organization.  
    • Limited Growth Potential: It can be difficult to raise money, which could prevent a business from growing.
    • Tax Inefficiency: A higher income can place you in a higher tax band and increase your total tax obligation.

    2. Partnership

    A partnership involves two or more individuals sharing the ownership and management of the firm.


    • Shared Responsibility: Partners can share the workload and bring in diverse skills and expertise.
    • Greater Resources: Pooling resources can help raise more capital and grow the business.
    • Easy Setup: Forming a partnership is a reasonably simple and affordable process.


    • Unlimited Liability: Like sole traders, partners are individually accountable for the company’s debts.
    • Possibility of Conflict: Partner disagreements may have an effect on how businesses operate.
    • Profit Sharing: Partners must split profits, which may lower individual earnings.

    3. Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

    An LLP offers its participants limited liability by combining aspects of limited businesses and partnerships.


    • Limited Liability: A partner’s personal responsibility for the debts of the business is capped at their investment. 
    • Flexible Management: LLPs offer flexible management structures without the requirement for a board of directors.
    • Tax Advantages: Partners can benefit from favourable tax treatment on their earnings.


    • Complexity: Compared to typical partnerships, LLPs need additional formality and regulatory compliance.
    • Public Disclosure: Financial accounts are available to the public after they are registered with Companies House.
    • Cost: Setting up and maintaining an LLP can be more expensive than a standard partnership.

    4. Private Limited Company (Ltd)

    A private limited company (Ltd) is a distinct legal organization from its proprietors, providing limited liability protection.


    • Limited Liability: The amount of liability incurred by shareholders is only what they invested in the business.
    • Credibility: Having “Ltd” in your business name can enhance credibility and attract investors.
    • Tax Efficiency: When compared to personal income tax rates, corporations have a reduced corporation tax rate.


    • Regulatory Requirements: Limited companies must adhere to strict reporting and regulatory obligations.
    • Administrative Burden: Maintaining an Ltd involves more paperwork and administrative tasks.
    • Public Records: Financial statements and other company information are publicly available.

    5. Public Limited Company (PLC)

    Larger companies frequently use public limited companies (PLCs), which have the ability to sell their shares to the general public. 


    • Access to Capital: PLCs can raise a sizable amount of money by offering to sell the public their shares.
    • Increased Credibility: Having a PLC can help your business draw more investors and improve its standing.
    • Limited Liability: The stockholders are not liable for the business’s debts. 


    • Regulatory Complexity: PLCs face stringent regulatory and reporting requirements.
    • High Costs: Setting up and maintaining a PLC can be costly and time-consuming.
    • Public Scrutiny: PLCs are subject to intense public and regulatory scrutiny.

    6. Community Interest Company (CIC)

    A CIC is designed for businesses that seek to better the community rather than maximize profits for shareholders.


    • Social Purpose: CICs are able to draw clients and financiers who are enthusiastic about advancing social concerns.
    • Limited Liability: Like other limited companies, CICs offer limited liability protection.
    • Grant Eligibility: Grants and other support intended for social entrepreneurs may be available to CICs. 


    • Profit Restrictions: CICs face restrictions on the distribution of profits and assets.
    • Regulatory Compliance: CICs must adhere to specific regulations and reporting requirements.
    • Limited Investor Appeal: Profit restrictions may deter potential investors.


    Your desired level of control, financial status, and business objectives all play a role in selecting the best kind of company structure in the UK. Comprehending the pros and cons of each business structure can assist you make an informed choice. 

    Whether you choose the ease of being a solo proprietor, the shared responsibility of a partnership, the limited liability of an LLP, or the growth potential of a PLC, selecting the right structure is a crucial step towards your business success.


    In the United Kingdom, the private limited company (Ltd) is the most prevalent form of commercial entity, due to its limited liability protection and credibility.

    In a traditional partnership, partners are fully liable for company obligations. Partners in an LLP have limited liability, which shields them from personal liability up to the amount of their participation in the company.

    Partners in an LLP are taxed as self-employed individuals, with each partner being in charge of filing their individual tax returns for their portion of the profits.