Displaying Your Business Name

Displaying Your Business Name

Sole traders and partnerships

Sole traders and partnerships that are not registered companies are required to display and disclose detailed information about their businesses when they use a business name that is not their surname (with or without forenames or initials), or one that does not use the names of all the partners.

For example, if John Smith has a shop called Happy Family Bakers the disclosure requirements would apply to him; were he to call his business Mr Smith, John Smith, or J Smith, they would not. The same would apply to a partnership. If John Smith and Sarah Jones have a business partnership called Happy Bakers the disclosure requirements would apply; were they to call their business J Smith and S Jones, or Smith and Jones, they would not.

As well as the above, the disclosure requirements do not apply when a business is continuing the trade of a former owner, and the new name includes both the former and current owners - for example, 'Mr Smith (formerly Ms Jones)'.

Business names display

Where a sole trader or partnership carries on business under a name that is not that of the proprietor or partners their details must be fully disclosed to customers and suppliers in order to make it clear who they are doing business with.

The following information is required to be disclosed:

  • full name of the proprietor or all of the partners
  • an address at which the business can be contacted and have legal documents formally served on it

The required information must be:

  • displayed in a prominent position in all business premises where customers and suppliers have access
  • included legibly on all business documents:
  • letters
  • written orders for goods or services
  • invoices and receipts
  • written demands for payment
  • business websites (a requirement under the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002)
  • given immediately in writing to any customer or supplier who requests business details information

Partnerships of more than 20 persons are not required to disclose details all of the partners in business documents if:

  • a list of the names of all the partners is maintained at the principal place of business
  • none of the partner's names appear in documents except in the text or as a signatory
  • documents state legibly the address of the partnership's principal place of business and that the list of the partners' names is open to inspection there
  • the list of the partners' names is available for inspection during office hours

Example Notice

Sole traders should clearly display the following. Partnerships need to include the full names of all the partners in addition:


Full name of owner: John Smith

Documents relating to the business may effectively be served to:
The Cottage Bakery
10 Cobb Street
BA23 3UN

Get in touch

Please contact one of the team for further information on any of these areas.

Phone: 01508 333040

Email: office@abcabacus.co.uk

Website: abcabacus.co.uk