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Company formation agents

Company formation agents

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I have been having somewhat of a Twitter debate with a company formation agent. Basically they tried spamming me with a 'great' offer.  So I questioned their cost structure.

I have a bit of a problem with agents as I hate seeing people get ripped off by them. Particularly being sold extra's that are not necessary - the main one being the 'official' incorporation certificate. We all know that they get an electronic copy like us and print it on some conqueror paper or such like.

I have found a company called Wisteria Formation that have a really simple interface to incorporate with, yes they try to sell you extras but don't ram it down your throat (it is basic coss selling). For £24.99 I get the Memo and Arts, Inc Certificate and a PDF company register. I advise the client to keep a file and the usual records of minutes etc. 

This other company, QA formations are justifying the cost offer as based on personal service. They don't seem to understand that I don't need this. If I wanted to form a company using Companies House forms I could (I ditched Absolute software as that made even harder to deal with!). I just particularly like the ease of use of Wisteria. That said about personal service they are happy to email or phone if there is a query.

I just wondered what other people's thoughts were on this and how they deal with any issues raised. Also are there any other recommended agents that people use?

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By Monsoon
12th Sep 2011 15:08

Company formation agents

I've heard of Wisteria. I don't use them, but they seem good from what I've heard.

I don't expect a personal service, and nor do I want one for standard incorporations. I just want to input the data online, pay a low fee and get the incorporation in my email a few hours later.

We use companiesmadesimple who do the job. It's cheap and cheerful, which is all I need.

I've previously used Simple Formations who are very good but a bit more expensive for broadly the same thing so I switched.

If I ever need what I'd term a 'non-standard' incorporation I would shop around.

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12th Sep 2011 15:26

+1 for companies made simple ...

and no, its too easy to need a personal service. Too easy if truth be told!

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to Flying Scotsman
12th Sep 2011 15:43

agreed

with companies made simple

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12th Sep 2011 16:09

I use Coddan CPM and their service is great but little bit expensive.  For £32, I get incorporation cert, mem + articles, share certificate, register of members form and minutes to say company was incorporated.

Re personal service, we normally don't require this if all the information is made available before incorporation.

Thanks

Gladstone

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By aggy91
12th Sep 2011 16:15

Agreed too

I use UK  Company Formations (or something similar can't remember offhand). They also charge £24.99 for a basic setup. Again the options are their but not forced down your throat (Although I do normally get a seal, old fashioned that way I guess).

 

Companies House now have their own system which is very similar to the online agents. they charge the basic £18. I have tried it, and it worked fine. I was a little shocked that their basic Mem and Arts are much smaller than the agents version, but I guess Co House only give the bear minimum.

 

However I prefer the agents as they keep a database of theinformation I enter, handy as clients often seem to want anothe business sooner or later and the info is already entered.

 

But not interested in a personal service, that said the agents I use did respond to an e-mail I sent at 8pm within an hour the one time I had an issue. So I guess they don't view good service as a premium you need to pay extra for

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12th Sep 2011 17:03

Best of both worlds

For years we used Stanley Davis as they were one of the first established agents to setup the sort of service mentioend above, ie simple & cheap.  I have also used them on several occassions to redraft Memos & Arts and do all the resolutions etc as well as well as other extraordinary stat work and this is where personal service comes to the fore.

 

We now use Iris formations at about £12 a time with the added advantage that all the company & officer details are set up in Iris at the same time.

I too have been pestered by agents but just a case of asking if they can beat £12.

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13th Sep 2011 10:21

Interesting Comments

I've found these comments very interesting to read because I own a formation agent that isn't the cheapest, and to be fair I am proud of that fact. I guess it would be very similar to asking an accountant whether they are the cheapest, and do they want to be? I know my accountant isn't the cheapest and I wouldn't want him to be, I'm happy with the service he provides and he doesn't just do my end of year accounts but I meet with him almost monthly and we go through my management accounts, plans, etc.

I completely understand the reasoning above, that if you are using an online form and don't need any support (read service) then why should you pay a premium? I would like to put another perspective forward though.

At Quick Formations we have clients who we hardly have any "support" issues with, they use our website and order the basic electronic documents to be emailed through to them (or indeed the "Original" certificate or printed M&A's mentioned by others). We have of course offered them discounted rates off our standard prices and they are happy.

We then also have clients who will phone us up with questions on, well just about anything company related. They need some advice on multiple share classes, questions between Limited by Guarantee or Community Interest, it could be anything and their doing some research on behalf of their clients. We're happy to be at the end of the phone for this, and we don't start the clock ticking when they call, we're happy to provide that "service" quoted above.

With an obvious vested interest from my perspective and adding an alternative view to this discussion, I'd argue that surely a small premium charge on company formations to offset the costs associated with being on hand to help clients as mentioned above is worth paying? I know the clients we do have feel this is worth paying, but then it isn't for everyone and that's why there are different agents in the industry offering different rates and services :o)

 

(for the record - we don't "force extra's down our clients thoughts" :o)

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13th Sep 2011 11:19

Quickformation

I understand the personal service need; however, I have just looked on your website and the cheapest standard formation appears to be £80! This includes 2 bound copies of memo and arts, a company register (a file!) and a printed incorporation certificate.

All extra's that bump up the cost for no reason, in my opinion!

Wisteria and some of the others get the nod from accountants because they give what a small start up business needs.

 

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to justsotax
13th Sep 2011 14:24

Ltd co for start-ups?

philhendy wrote:

Wisteria and some of the others get the nod from accountants because they give what a small start up business needs.

 

Is a limited company the most appropriate vehicle for a small start-up business?

If limited liability is that important, an LLP might be more appropriate in many cases.

Obviously there amy be non-tax reasons to go ltd, but...

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to wilcoskip
13th Sep 2011 16:42

Mixing words I think!

James Hellyer wrote:

philhendy wrote:

Wisteria and some of the others get the nod from accountants because they give what a small start up business needs.

 

Is a limited company the most appropriate vehicle for a small start-up business?

If limited liability is that important, an LLP might be more appropriate in many cases.

Obviously there amy be non-tax reasons to go ltd, but...

 

I should correct that to say they give what a small company needs to incorporate, if required. The question of vehicle used would of course be decided first!

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13th Sep 2011 11:29

Missed a few bits :o)

Hi Phil,

That isn't the "cheapest" on our website, as you missed what we call the QuickName, and I just wanted to confirm by file assume you realise we mean the book but we do also provide it in digital format too (some people do still like to have the physical register!).

I don't disagree with you by the way, there is a market for various levels and ways of delivering a service. An example would be what Monsoon above stated, if ever needing something more complex would shop around whereas I would argue find a firm you are happy to work with and build that relationship where they are there for the basic and the complex stuff. Perhaps old fashioned by I still believe "people by from people" and a relationship between customer and supplier accounts for a lot ;o)
 

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13th Sep 2011 12:18

Misunderstood quickname

Ah, I see mis-understood the logic of quickname and what it provided - Is that my fault or the fault of your website, you decide????!!!

I do agree with the people buy from people analogy but it does depend on what you are buying. I actually feel that people should come to an accountant first before they embark on incorporating a company. The main reason being to assess whether a company is the right structure for them.

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13th Sep 2011 12:28

Glad we agree :o)

It is good that we share the same thoughts - people should get proper accountancy (and in some circumstances legal) advice before blindly forming a Limited company as per mine (and James') reply on UK Business Forums below...

Company Formation Advice

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13th Sep 2011 13:57

I use FD - Formations Direct - you can find their details easily on this site. To form a company I complete an online application which takes 10 minutes. I normally have a company incorporated within 3 hours. And this costs me ............

 

NOTHING

 

(providing the company opens a bank account with Barclays or HSBC), When the bank account number is allocated you go online and enter this. The cost of £36 or so is refunded within 24 hours direct to my bank. As the meerkat says ... simples.

 

I would 100% recommend Formations Direct and no I am not connected with them. Just a very satisfied customer.

 

Andrew Clarke

CKS Accountancy Ltd

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By dwgw
to BKD
16th Sep 2011 13:01

Nothing's ever free

Andrew (re Formations Direct) - do you charge the client anything though?  If you do, it seems to me they're paying twice - once to you and indirectly via the bank (nothing's free).  That's quite apart from being shoehorned into an either/or choice of bank.  And if you charge nothing for setting up a company, why not? 

If I were setting up a company, would I choose to bank with the one that offered me £20 to open an account?  I think I'd have other considerations in mind.  This offering seems the worst on here, unless I'd already decided independently to bank with Barclays or HSBC.     

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to justsotax
16th Sep 2011 13:36

Company formation and banking

As director of FD I can assure you that the banking package is something that many clients find useful . Those who do not wish to bank with HSBC or Barclays will give the offer a miss. In terms of whether somebody is swayed by a £20 incentive - you may be surprised to learn there are more people than you may imagine for whom such a sum is meaningful , perhaps even only in gesture rather than spending power.

Accountants in particular see banking introductions as part of their value added proposition to their client.

As they say "you get what you pay for" and those who don't require support of any sort will go for the cheapest option. But stop and ask yourself , for the extra £30 or so is it not worthwhile for one call to arrange the bank account and regsiter domain names at the same time.

 

 

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16th Sep 2011 12:51

Co. Formation Agent

e have used for 5+ years Quick Formations and find their on-line service to be excellent.

W

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16th Sep 2011 13:36

QuickFormations

Hi Phil

In an Accountancy Practice I had the pleasure of using QuickFormations for all our Limited Companies for many years and would highly recommend them for speed of service and price. The application platform is excellent, and they completely understand Accountants and being an Accountant in practice.

 

Phil

-- Accounting the PaperLess way™

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By Alf
19th Sep 2011 09:37

Formations Direct

As a user of Formations Direct, I can also recommend their service as being quick and efficient.

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19th Sep 2011 09:51

Banking deals

It's probably a different debate but the problem with the above is the two banks. HSBC and Barclays are, in my experience, rubbish when it comes to the small company banking deals. In addition the service has been poor.

Generally, I tend to recommend Natwest to people. You will get a couple of years free banking and a genuine relationship with the business manager. Maybe I have just been lucky in the latter respect.

Barclays particularly are always on the sell for their pretty crappy by-products.

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19th Sep 2011 10:17

Banks...don't get me started

In the past 10 years I doubt I have been approached more than 2-3 times by a new startup who hasn't already been to see a bank or has a preferred bank and, as Phil has indicated above, if they ever do need to approach a bank, I find it hard to say which frying pan or fire they should jump into.

The £20 incentive is cheap & nasty and in the one instance I was able to mention it, the client laughed.  I would only ever recommend a bank (or anything else) based on my opinion & judgement, and have returned every pen, rubber ball, paperweight or diary they have sent me.

Returning to Phil's question the decision and work involved in getting a Ltd Company is less than that involved when approaching the guy or gal in McDonald's.  You may, from time to time also need Company Law advice and work and it's nice to get it from the same place but by no means essential.

 

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20th Sep 2011 16:44

The pros and cons of using Formation Agents was discussed in depth in my article as below

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/topic/practice/company-formations-whats-best-you/510576 

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22nd Sep 2011 15:36

Stanley Davis

Further praise for Stanley Davis (mentioned above).  I forgot to say that we get newsletters from them with all updates on company law and procedures.

The latest one arrived today to remind us of the new SIC code regime from 1 October and the new URI (company identfier) also starting 1 October....did anyone else know about this?

4 pages in all there's other interesting stuff including the fact that 37,411 companies were incorporated last month (18.7% up on last year!) so we now have 2.5M companies.  Also last month mainained the monthly average for late filing penalties....wait for it....£7M.

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23rd Sep 2011 18:16

Newsletter

For those who are interested...

 

http://www.stanleydavis.co.uk/incorporation-newsletter.asp

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18th Nov 2011 14:46

LLP formation

I read all your comments and I understood you're all well trained about company formations.

I'm from Italy and with a friend of mine, are interested in forming an LLP in the UK. We've been spending days in the jungle of the web finding the best solution for our small LLP. Today I found your site, I read everything and now I'm here to ask you why is it so easy and CHEAP to form an LTD and so complicated (to find the right company) and EXPENSIVE to form an LLP?

As I wrote above, I'm based in Italy which means I also need a registered office address in London and a business bank account.

Well, LTDs companies are much more common and it's normal that the agencies are more prepared on it, but LLPs are pretty common as well in the professional fields.

I don't want to bother you more, I only have one question: Where can I find a good service with reasonable costs?

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By dwgw
18th Nov 2011 14:55

You could try ...

www.onlinecompanyservices.co.uk

Lee there has just set up an LLP for me - £85 (inc VAT).

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19th Nov 2011 13:15

Company formations and company secretarial

www.first-corporate.co.uk

I use First Order and besides the formation of the company - the administration of the companies done on line is the big plus as it reduces time spent on all filling of Annual Returns and other legal necessary forms and including dividend certificates, minutes of the board meetings etc...

Worth checking out if it suitable for your companies needs

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25th Sep 2013 00:38

company formation agent

Hi there,

Having read the article, I would recommend to use archers corporate services as their service packages are quite cheap and fast. The associate who helped me to complete the registration was very work efficient as well, I brought a ready made company from them and all company transferal was done within an hour which the associate called me to confirm everything is fine and guide me through as to how to use the companies house web-service to change company details myself in the future which is great for business startup beginner compare with using companies house to form a company myself as their officials wouldn't give me any full guidance as to how exactly to use their web service.

To thrive, I am satisfied with their services and would recommend this company formation agent to others. www.archerscs.co.uk

Best regards

 

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23rd Oct 2015 12:05

Hi Phil
We completely agree with you! Far too many company formation agents shamelessly upsell or try and get customers to purchase silly add-ons they don’t actually need. It’s a complete farce that wastes everybody’s time and money. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to do things differently.

We’re Formations Factory, and we just launched this year. Like most company formation agents, we specialise in the incorporation of UK companies Limited by Shares, Limited by Guarantee and Limited Liability Partnerships. Our formations start from just £12.99, and include a free consultation with an accountant, unlimited support, business banking and merchant account services.

But unlike other formation agents, we don’t push any unnecessary extras or try and get you to purchase things you don’t need. Our prices are completely transparent, and our agents don’t encourage clients to take on services they will not use. Not only do we cost less than most other formation agents, but we also appreciate that you know what’s best for your company.
If this sounds like the sort of service you'd be keen to try, you can learn more about Formations Factory by clicking here: https://www.formationsfactory.co.uk/

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