This Company Registration Guide is for you if you’re looking for a step-by-step on how to apply for a legally registered new South African business without going to the CIPC offices.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through all the practical steps of picking your company structure, making sure your Company name is available and how the online Company Registration process works. This Company Registration Guide will show you how to do this online without going to the CIPC’s physical offices.
I will cover multiple topics related to these 5 Steps and relevant to our Company Registration Guide in South Africa:
Your preferred Company Structure is the first consideration you need to make when you want to register a new business at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).
You need to consider which company structure will work best for your business’s setup and goals.
Oftentimes, the easiest place to start is profit. Would you like a company structure that allows you the freedom to withdraw profit as you wish? With a for-profit, you can do that.
With a non-profit, you can’t. You’ll only receive your monthly salary. The profit will remain the non-profit’s asset because the goal of a non-profit is the advancement of a social cause not to advance personal financial wealth.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to assume you need a for-profit structure.
Other common structures I won’t be discussing are State Companies, Public Companies, and Personal Liability Companies. They generally don’t work well for most startups businesses in South Africa.
State-Owned Businesses are businesses like municipalities, Public Companies are large companies who want to sell their shares on the stock market to the public and Personal Liability Companies only applies to very specific professionals like Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants, etc
Here are the most commonly used for-profit Company Structures in South Africa:
* Close Corporation (CC) can’t be registered in SA anymore. According to the latest 2011 amendments to SA’s Companies Act, new Close Corporations can no longer be registered, although existing CCs are allowed to continue operation. We also have Shelf CCs for sale – contact us for more details You can read more about the 2011 changes here. You can also find a PDF of the Companies Act here.
Let’s just say this right off the bat: there is no “best” company structure.
There is, however, a company structure that would be most advantageous to your specific business.
Here’s a quick overview of the most commonly used Company Structures in South Africa. I’ll also briefly discuss why each could be advantageous or disadvantageous to your South African business. Please note this is not legal or accounting advice; it’s simply a rough overview.
Here’s an overview of some advantages and disadvantages of the most common startup Company Structures in South Africa.
I am going to color the advantages, the disadvantages and the sections that might be both as follows:
In the following section, I’m going to discuss how you can choose a great name for your new company and also how to make sure it’ll comply with the CIPC’s requirements.
Your Company Name needs to capture the attention of your potential customers AND it needs to help customers find you on the Internet.
It needs to be short and memorable, so your potential clients can remember it easily and retype it into Google.
It also helps if your Company name describes what you do and/or where you do it, for e.g. Paarl Swimming Pool Services.
If your company name includes what you do and which area you serve, it’s might help people find you online. The main reason is SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
In short, SEO refers to the ways you make it easier for Google to identify what your website is about. This makes it easier for Google to identify when your site is relevant to the specific services or products people search for.
It’s important to ensure another company doesn’t already use your company name online. If another business does, that not mean that company is registered or that the company name is unavailable.
It does, however, mean your potential customers will struggle to find you online – as the other business will pop up online.
Here’s how to check if another company uses your Preferred Company Name online or on social media.
Go to www.google.co.za and enter your new Company name in the search bar and press the blue search button (far right-hand side):
If there is clear evidence in the search results that your new Company name is used by another ‘South African’ company or business, it is best to think of another name as your current name is possibly used by another business.
At your website domain bar (in your internet browser) type in www.“the name you want for your company with no spaces in between”.co.za or .com.
Press ‘enter’ on our keyboard:
It’s better to think of another name if another Business is already using your Preferred Company Name as their domain.
You could try something close and relevant to your name for e.g. yourbusinessza.com. However, if you need to significantly adjust your domain name, you might want to reconsider your name.
People don’t easily remember complicated domain names.
It’s up to you whether you choose .co.za or .com. A. com is slightly more expensive but perhaps more suitable if you focus on international clients. There are other forms as well, like .org (mainly used by organizations) or .uk (England) etc.. A .co.za is probably the best option for a South African business because people will automatically type that in when they search for you.
It’s also important to note that some companies buy popular domains to resell them. So oftentimes some domains aren’t available but they aren’t online either. You can contact Company Partners toll free on 0800 007 269 for help with your domain name.
If your new Company will offer products and/or services in a specific industry, its best for your Company Name to end with the word that best describes this Industry.
You can use descriptive words like ‘Logistics’, ‘Transport’, ‘Catering’, ‘Security’, ‘Consulting’, etc.
If your new Company will offer a variety of products and/or services, it is best to NOT restrict your business. You can ensure this by ending your Company Name with:
You can simply use ‘Trading’ too. Here are some more examples: ‘Trading and Services’, ‘Enterprises’. ‘Trading Services’, ‘General Trading’, ‘Projects’, ‘Suppliers’, ‘Services’, ‘General Dealers’, ‘Trading and Suppliers’, etc.
Your Preferred Company Name should be unique for two reasons. Firstly, when you clients look you up online (as discussed in Step 2) your Company Name should not be confused with another Company’s name. Secondly, if your Company Name is not unique, the CIPC won’t accept it.
If it’s already taken by another registered Company, the CIPC won’t be able to register your Preferred Name.
Luckily there’s a very easy way to do a Company Name Search at the CIPC.
Firstly, you have to follow this link. It’ll take you to the CIPC’s Intellectual Property Commission page.
On the left-hand-side, you’ll see a blue bar. Type in your Preferred Name under “TYPE THE ENTERPRISE NAME” section. See below.
The results that relate to your Preferred Company Name will pop up.
I typed in ‘mynewcompanyname’ and no results popped up, which means that specific name isn’t registered yet.
The CIPC should accept this specific Company Name, because there doesn’t seem to be another registered Company with the same name. However, there are no guarantees that another Company doesn’t want to register that name as well.
That’s why Company name Reservation is the first step to registering a Company.
Here’s exactly what is needed for registering a company online. Please note that we do not require any documents from you – the only Company Registration requirements is your SA ID number and address.
If you’re not a South African citizen, you can still register a company. Take a look at the following blog post we did:
After you’ve decided which Company Structure will work best for you and what your new Company Name will be, the next step would be reserve your Company Name.
We include fast-tracked Name Reservation with our Company Registration service here. Consequently, I won’t be discussing that step here. You can click HERE to talk to an expert who will walk you through the process and get you started.
In this section, I’ll be showing you how our easy and online Company Registration service works. We’ll register your company at the CIPC hassle-free in record time with the support of a CIPC expert and your very own assigned Business Expert.
We also specialize in all other Business and Tender Documentation services. That means we can assist and advise you on whatever paperwork you need in the future, We cover everything: affordable accounting services, Tender Compliance Documents, Industry-specific Compliance Documents, Business Plans, Tax Clearances, Letter of Good Standing, etc.
However, if you wish to register your business it directly at the CIPC yourself, without our expert service, here’s what you need to do:
The benefit of using us is getting an assigned consultant who walks you through the entire process very quickly and effortlessly. Click HERE to start.
Either call us tollfree on:
Or book a Call-back like this by following this link and clicking on the FREE CONSULTATION bar.
Next simply pick a time, you’d like one of our experts to call you back.
Lastly, simply provide us with your details so we can give you the specialized FREE consultation you need.
Once you’ve called us on 0800 007 269 toll free or we’ve called you back if you made a call-back booking, one of our experts will sign you up telephonically or show you the ropes on our easy online system. After that, the consultant will send you all the information you need straight to your email inbox.
If you are a South African citizen, we only require your ID number and address. (no documents are required) Foreign citizens will need to send us a copy of their passport.
You then simply make the payment so we can pay the CIPC and necessary fees to process your Company Registration.
Yes, it’s as simple as that. Our business consultant will also remind you of important dates and renewals. Your Company Registration needs to be renewed one year after your initial registration (through annual return) – this is legally required by the South African Government and we can assist you with this easy process.
You can also just send your assigned consultant an email whenever you need anything else related to your Company’s business administration and he or she will assist you in record time.
Here are a few of the other services we offer, that might assist you in growing and launching a brand new company:
Within 1 month, the above services should cost you less than R4 000.
You can ‘upgrade’ by initiating the ‘Formalise’ and ‘Grow’ phase, once you’ve launched your company and it starts generating an income. Contact your Consultant on 0800 007 269 for more details.
We offer you a One-Stop-Shop for ALL the Company Registration and Tender Compliance Documents you need! Plus our online system and a team of Experts will get you what you need in record time.
Our services relate to everything business. We offer marketing and branding materials; Compliance Documents needed for Contracts, RFQ’s and Tenders; assistance with your business bank accounts or accounting services; the works. You can search for any Business service you need right HERE.