Manage by yourself your own business
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Questions & Answers

Business quick reference guide

Check our FAQs to know everything you need about making business

What is a Private Limited Company?

A business entity that is legally distinct from the people running it, among other things.

Also called “private companies limited by shares”, this type of company limits the liability of its shareholders: if the company fails, they can't lose more than the value of their shares. The number of shareholders is limited, and they aren't allowed to publicly trade their shares or to sell shares without first offering them to other shareholders in the company. These companies are denoted by the abbreviation Pvt. Ltd. or simply Ltd. Other features include the obligation to keep personal and business finances separate.

What is a franchise business?

In a franchise business, business owners (here, the franchisors) license the rights to their business model, name and logo to a third party (the franchisee); the franchisor will also specify which products and services the franchisee can offer.

The most common type of franchising is Business Format Franchising. Here, the franchisor provides the overall blueprint for the business and will typically help with site selection, a marketing strategy and development support. While the franchisor benefits from the income derived from franchise businesses, the franchisee benefits from the latter’s brand recognition and the support of a larger company.

How do I register my company name?

Once you’ve found your perfect business name, check the Companies House register to determine whether it is available. As long as it’s not already taken or too similar to another company’s name, you’re set to register in the UK. If you’re going into business as a private limited company , you’ll have to end your business name in either “Limited” or “Ltd.” If you’re going into business as a sole trader, you don’t actually need to register a business name at all; but, should you wish to protect your trade name, you can register it as a trade mark .

How can I register myself as self-employed in the UK?

If you run your own business as an individual and are self-employed, you are a sole trader.

You need to register as self-employed with HMRC and file a self-assessment tax return every year, as well as register for Class 2 National Insurance. You should do this as soon as possible after starting your business, and at the latest by 5 October in your business’ second tax year. You can register online or print and post the form.

What is a leasing broker?

In the context of financing a business van, a leasing broker is an independent party acting as an intermediary between van customers, manufacturers, and funders. Their role is to offer their customers the most beneficial prices and terms, be it through a van finance lease, contract hire or lease purchase. A good lease broker will also provide impartial advice regarding transport needs and fleet management.

How to remove your van signwriting ?

When removing vinyl stickers or decals from your van, special care must be taken to avoid damaging the paintwork and finishing.

By taking the following steps, you should be able to change your van’s exterior without causing any damage.

First, make sure to clean the van surface you are about to work on.

Second, melt the glue by applying a heat gun to the stickers and/or decals until their edges begin to fray; a hairdryer will also work for this purpose.

Third, slowly start separating the adhesive from the van with a plastic scraper (a plastic card may do in a pinch); you may be able to use your fingers to pull at larger pieces, which are better to remove in one go.

Then, spray glue remover on the remaining adhesive and continue scraping away until the surface is clear. Finally, go over everything with a wet cloth to finish the job.

How can I stop being self-employed?

Once you’ve stopped trading as a sole trader or left a business partnership, the first thing you need to do is to notify HMRC by filling out this form. The next step is to submit a Self Assessment tax return by deadline, which must include the incomes and expenses tied to terminating your business. Note that some of these, such as the sale of equipment like your Renault van(s), could result in capital gains; check whether you qualify for various kinds of tax relief, such as Entrepreneurs' Relief. Finally, be sure to cancel your VAT registration if you were registered. Read up on additional details here.

What is a lease purchase?

A lease purchase is a type of lease contract combining traditional leasing with an option to purchase the asset or property.

Under a lease purchase agreement, part of the lease payment goes toward the purchase price of the leased asset. Once the full price has been paid up, the title to the asset is transferred from the owner (the lessor) to the buyer (the lessee). A lease purchase is therefore a type of hire-purchase. For accounting purposes, lease purchases are typically considered to be capital leases.

How do I get my VAT number?

You must register for VAT if your business VAT taxable turnover exceeds £85,000; you can also register voluntarily under this threshold.

Registration with HMRC can be done online, and you will typically receive your VAT certificate within 14 days thereafter. It will show your VAT number, when your first return and payment is due, and your “effective date of registration”. You cannot charge VAT until you receive the certificate, although you must pay VAT due from the date of registration. Returns and payments can be made through your online account. Find out more here

How often do you have to get the electrical equipment of your food truck tested?

If some of your food truck equipment plugs into a wall, it is considered electrical equipment and must be properly maintained in order to prevent danger.

Test frequency for electrical equipment in your food truck, whether through regular Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) or other means, will depend on the kind of equipment you have and how often it receives a formal visual inspection by a competent (trained) person. Your equipment should probably receive testing at least once a year. Some electrical equipment will need to be checked every six months; this includes some handheld equipment and higher-voltage equipment such as generators.

What is the right insurance for me and my business?

The right insurance depends on the business you run. The usual needs are:

- Van insurance – check that it includes use by employees and covers contents such as materials and tools.
- Equipment and tools insurance for any location.
- Employer’s liability insurance is required by law if you have any staff.
- Public liability insurance if you have premises to protect, including your home, in the event of accident or injury to a third party.
- Professional indemnity insurance to cover you if you give professional services or advice.

Do I need to register a patent to protect my intellectual property?

Strictly speaking, patents protect new inventions and products; they must be registered by the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Patents are a form of protection for intellectual property that one must apply for, as opposed to being granted automatically. They apply to things that are new, can be made or used, and represent a truly inventive development. Other forms of legal protection include [trade marks and service marks], which cover businesses and services.

Patents grant their owner the right to mount legal action against those who infringe on their patent rights – that is, use their invention without explicit permission. However, patentees must be careful not to infringe on the rights of other patent holders in using their invention, given that new technologies always employ other older technologies, some of which may have an active patent. Find out more with the Intellectual Property Office.

Can my van be exempt from vehicle tax ?

There are several types of vans that may be exempt from tax. This is the case for all-electric vehicles, provided that the electricity comes from an external source or a battery – such as the Renault Kangoo Z.E. 33. Non-ambulance vans used by organisations to provide transport for disabled people are also exempt. The third type of exemption is for historic vehicles – as of 1 April 2018, any van made before 1978 is exempt. Note you must still apply for vehicle tax even if you won’t be required to pay it.


My Van & Traffic Regulation

My Van & Traffic Regulation

Check our FAQs to get an overview of traffic regulation.