Registering your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Nigeria could be expensive if you involve a third party.
So, we want to see how you can register your company without the service of an agent or visiting the commission.
This article will walk you through how to register your business name with CAC in Nigeria and make it become a legal entity.
With the use of the Corporate Affairs Commission online registration portal, you can register your business at a minimum cost.
It was stated on the official website of the commission:
Assuming you want to register your company and you give the job to a lawyer, you’ll be charged higher than the official rate.
As a result of this, most small business owners are discouraged from registering their businesses.
When you fail to register your business, the implication is that the business doesn’t exist.
And in a situation like this, your business will lack credibility.
That makes it very important to first discuss why a business should be registered before discussing how to register your business name with CAC in Nigeria.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- 1 Benefits of registering your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission
- 2 How much to register a business name in Nigeria
- 3 Requirements to register a business name in Nigeria
- 4 How to register your business name with CAC in Nigeria
- 5 Conclusion
Benefits of registering your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission
Registering your business name with CAC has a lot of benefits which you need to know.
CAC was launched in line with the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), promulgated in 1990 and amended in 2020.
The commission is saddled with the responsibility of regulating how companies are formulated and managed in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, there are countless numbers of benefits you get when you register your business name with CAC.
And this includes:
- Opening a corporate bank account
- Online payment integration
- Social media account verification
- Protecting your brand name
- Protecting your legal liability
- Preventing police harassment
- Access to government loans
- Customer trust
- Government contracts
- Continuity of business
Let’s briefly discuss each of the benefits one after the other.
Opening a corporate bank account
Some customers might not feel comfortable paying into your personal bank account.
If doing business with them requires your corporate bank account, then you need to walk up to any bank in Nigeria and open an account in your business name.
But without your business name being registered with CAC, opening a corporate bank account isn’t possible.
Online payment integration
One of the things to consider before moving your business online is how to receive payment from your customers online.
Selling a product or service and receiving payment online is never a difficult task.
There are various online payment gateways that can help you receive payments from customers online and credit your local bank account.
The only issue is that without registering your business with CAC, you might not be able to achieve this task in Nigeria.
Most online payment gateways, PayStack for example, require a copy of your business certificate of incorporation
For that reason, it might not be possible to use their services without duly registering your business with the commission.
Social media account verification
As part of the benefits of registering your business with CAC in Nigeria, verifying your social media account isn’t possible without your company certificate of incorporation.
In the bid to curb internet scam on social media, businesses are required to verify their accounts and pages.
Facebook for example, requires a copy of your certificate of incorporation to get verified.
The reason is that the audience is more comfortable when they stumble upon your page and realise that your account is verified.
So, to take advantage of this behaviour, you need to register your business with CAC and verify your social media account.
Protecting your brand name
If you leave your business name unregistered and someone else knowingly or unknowingly hijacks the name from you, you have no legal rights to claim the ownership of the business.
Meanwhile, it’s only when you register a business in your name that you can claim its rightful ownership.
Whatever credit goes to the business goes to you.
Protecting your legal liability
Another reason why you need to register your business name with CAC is to protect your legal liability.
This can prevent you from being responsible for any civil wrong committed by the business.
For example, when an industrial accident claimed 7 lives at Phoenix Steel Mills Limited, Ogijo, Ogun State, a series of petitions was written against the company.
But because the company is a legal entity, none of the petitions were personally directed to the owner of the business.
Assuming the company wasn’t registered, you can see that the owner would be in soup.
So, when your business is registered, you’re not answerable to any legal issue caused by the business.
As a legal entity, the business would have to deal with its problem itself.
Preventing police harassment
The only thing that can differentiate you from a fraudster when police ask you to identify yourself and you claim to be a businessman is your registered business.
At a point in time, most entrepreneurs have experienced police harassment in Nigeria.
Assuming you’re into online business, you might be regarded as an internet fraudster if it’s not registered.
You can’t claim to have a legitimate business that fetches you so many fortunes and the business isn’t registered with CAC.
That is the belief of the police and you need to protect yourself against that.
So, to some large extent, registering your business name with CAC in Nigeria is regarded as one of the ways to avoid police brutality in Nigeria.
Access to government loans
If you apply for a government loan, you need proof that you’re a business owner.
And the only proof that your business is a registered company in Nigeria is your certificate of incorporation, which must be provided alongside your business loan application.
Without registering your business with CAC, your business can’t qualify for government grants or financial support such as the anchor borrowers programme in Nigeria.
Customer trust is very important and you must do everything to get it, most especially when dealing with new customers.
This is possible by registering your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Nigeria.
So, any fear entertained by the customers can be erased, knowing that you can be traced with your RC number.
Registering your business, however, can help you gain customer trust, thereby boost your credibility and reputation.
Before you can bid for and win a government contract, you need a duly registered business name in Nigeria.
This is a number one requirement for eligibility.
Continuity of business
The last but not the list of the benefits of registering your business name with CAC in Nigeria is to make the business outlive the owner.
Regardless of what becomes of you, ill or die, your business can sustain if it’s registered with CAC before your death.
Whether you’re a foreign or local investor, these are some of the benefits you get from registering your company or business in Nigeria.
How much to register a business name in Nigeria
The cost of registering a business name in Nigeria varies as the agents differ.
They all charge more than the official fees required by the commission.
If you know how to register your business name yourself, it would be easy to determine how much it will cost you to register your business name in Nigeria and you won’t have to pay extra fees.
So, as found on the official website of the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria, the following are the official charges for registering your business name in Nigeria.
Fees for application forms
Before registering, you need to obtain an application form which is ₦500.00.
More on this will be discussed later.
There are three types of forms obtainable from CAC to register your business or company and these include:
- Application form for company registration
- Application form for business name registration
- Application form for incorporated trustee registration
As for someone who wants to register his business name, you can apply for the first and second form.
The other goes for big businesses as the case may be.
Fees for registration and other services
The following image contains fees for business name registration in Nigeria and other various services obtainable from CAC.
As a new business, all you have to pay for is registration of your business name which is ₦10,000.00.
Other fees can be paid for as the need arises.
Requirements to register a business name in Nigeria
Since the 2020 amendment of the Company Allied and Matters Act (CAMA), the principal law guiding a business and company formation, there have been a lot of new developments in the requirements to register a business in Nigeria.
So, with the following requirements, registering a business could be as easy as possible for startups and young entrepreneurs in the country.
- You must be as old as 18 years except where there are two or more adults having shares in the business.
- You must propose two names for the registration.
- You can’t register a name that is already in use by another company or a name related to a government agency.
- Your business must have objectives which must be well stated.
- You must indicate the type of business you want to register – be it a private limited company, private unlimited company or company limited by guarantee.
- The business must have a verifiable physical address.
- If you have partners, the share capital of each shareholder must be stated.
- You must have a means of identification such as voter’s card, national ID, driver’s licence or international passport.
Previously, a minimum of two persons was required to register a company.
But now, with the provision of single-member/ shareholder companies in the 2020 CAMA, you can register a company without entering unnecessary partnership with anyone.
This is to encourage small business owners and make them have an enabling environment where their businesses can thrive in Nigeria.
How to register your business name with CAC in Nigeria
As of today, registering your business name with CAC in Nigeria can take place online and offline, depending on your choice.
For offline registration, you would have to visit any CAC office that is close to you, while online registration can also take place using the official website of the commission.
Either way, the following contains the best steps on how to register your business name in Nigeria.
#1. Give your business a name
Before you can register a business name, you have to first verify if the name is available for use or not.
For this reason, it’s advisable to propose two names, so you can secure one if the other isn’t available.
Giving your business a name is very important as it contributes to your brand identity.
With this strategy, your business will have a great affinity with the customers.
In most times, your business name must be relevant to your niche or what you sell.
For example, Shoprite, Shopify, Taxify, Opay, Oride and the likes.
Someone that sells clothing products may name his business as “Trends Villa”, or “Bourgeoisie Wears” and many other names.
That will make your brand search engine friendly in case you decide to launch an eCommerce website for your business in the near future.
#2. Verify your business name
After knowing what two names to give your business, you need to verify their availability.
And to do this, you’ll have to visit the CAC public search portal and search on any of the proposed names.
Type in the name in the search form and click Search.
A result will be sent on the web interface, which will state if the name is already in use or not.
If your proposed name is in use by another company, the result will state that the name isn’t available.
That means you can’t use the name. And the reason is that two different companies can’t use the same name under the law.
This is just like opening an account on Instagram. If a username has been taken, you can’t use the username again.
For this reason, you’ll have to search on the second proposed name.
If the result of the second name comes out to be available, it means no one has used the name before.
Hence, you’re good to use it.
#3. Sign up to create account
Creating your user account will enable you to register your business name with CAC online.
Click on this link to sign up.
You’ll see a form on the next page, which must be filled to complete your account opening exercise.
Fill the form as applied to you.
So, ensure you use a valid and active email address in the form to avoid any glitch.
Once you’re done filling the form with your personal information, click Register. Then, go to your inbox and look for the confirmation email sent to you.
Open the email and click on the confirmation link to activate your account.
After confirming your account, you’ll be redirected to the CAC registration portal where you will see a congratulatory message as seen in the image below.
From that page (Dashboard), you’ll move to the next step (Name Reservation).
#4. Reserve a name
To apply for your business name reservation, look through the menu bar on the dashboard and click on Name Reservation.
Once the menu opens, click on New Name Reservation.
You’ll see a short note, “Reserve your preferred company name here”. Click “here” as seen in the image below.
You’ll be directed to another page where you’ll have to carry out the following tasks in order to apply for your business name reservation:
- Choose the name and type of your business
- State your business objectives
- State presenter details
- Preview your application
- Make payment
- Choose name and type
For “Name and Type” of business, see the image below and fill the form as applicable.
There is an instruction right above the form, make sure you read the instruction before filling the form.
When you’re done filling the form, click “Save and Continue” button to state your business objectives.
- State your business objectives
You’ll have to state your business objectives here.
For “Reason for availability search”, select New Incorporation.
And for “Nature of Business”, click the list icon and look through the list and select option that mostly describes your business.
Then in the Additional Remarks box, write a short note about your business and click Save and Continue button to move to the next task.
- State presenter details
By default, some of the information required here will be taken from your profile.
So, to avoid inconsistency in the Presenter Details, take your time to crosscheck what is already taken and ensure all the information is complete and correct.
In case you need to edit the information, you’re free to do so.
When you’re done with the form, click on Save and Continue to preview your application.
Preview your application
This will display all the information you have submitted so far in respect of your application, including your:
- Company Details
- Business Objectives
- Presenter Details
In case there is an error, go to the page of the particular task that is having an error, then correct and save.
But if all the information as previewed is okay, you can proceed to make payment for your business name reservation.
- Proceed to payment
The cost of business name reservation is ₦500.
To make that payment, you need to pay via Remita, by clicking on the Remita button.
You’ll be automatically redirected to the Remita payment platform to complete the payment.
You don’t have to do anything other than clicking SUBMIT and do as prompted.
After the payment has been successfully made, your application for company or business name reservation would be submitted for approval.
- Generate payment receipt
So, right after payment for your business name reservation, proceed to print out your receipt.
You can find the feature on your dashboard.
Click on the “Payment Receipt” button.
On the next page, the receipt would be generated.
Look towards the bottom-right of the page and click on the “Print” button.
You should be able to print out the receipt right away if your computer is already connected to a printer.
Otherwise, make a perfect snapshot of the page and take it to any business centre nearby to print.
Note that your application for reservation of name might take some time before approval.
All you have to do is to check your email and be on the lookout until you get the approval notice sent to your inbox.
While waiting for the approval, you can’t take any further steps to register your company or business name with CAC online.
#5. Generate name availability code
The name availability code is what you’re going to use to register your business name online in the next step.
For that reason, you need to first generate the code as soon as your name has been approved.
Login to your account with your username and password.
Find Action on your dashboard. Click on it and wait for a few seconds for the page to complete the action.
Then you will see “Download Your Name Approval”.
When you click on it, a document containing your business name availability code will be downloaded on your computer.
Open the document and take note of the code.
You can also print the document in order to proceed to the next step on how to register your business name with CAC in Nigeria.
#6. Register your company
Login to your dashboard and click on Company Registration on the menu bar.
Your company or business name registration begins here.
There is a statement on the page that says “Register a company with your availability code here”, click on “here”.
On the next page, you’ll see a form. Fill it with you name availability code and press enter key on your keyboard to search.
On the result page, click on Reserved Name and you would be prompted to fill a form asking for your details.
Fill all the required information about your company as applicable to you.
And after filling the form, you’ll need to proceed to payment.
Just as you did previously, pay via Remita, generate and download your receipt and any other document and print.
A sum of ₦10,000 will be charged for registering your company or business name. So, make sure you have enough fund on your bank account.
#7. Prepare to upload documents
To upload your document, go to the uploading interface….
TO BE CONTINUED…
#8. Receive your certificate
After uploading all the required documents, you’ll be directed to wait for a couple of days for the commission to vet your documents.
In that case, login to your dashboard once in a while to check your registration status. The status ranges from Not Submitted, Submitted, Pending Approval to Approved.
At this stage, what you need is the approval. Once your application is approved, go to the CAC pick-up or originating office that you selected during the registration.
That is where you’ll receive your CTC’s and certificate of registration.
If it was your wish to know how to register your business name with CAC in Nigeria, I hope this guide would be of great help to you.
Most people didn’t want to register their businesses having consulted a lawyer and the bill was too much.
Meanwhile, the official fee of registering a company or business isn’t costly. The fee is discouraging because the lawyer would charge for his service.
As part of the efforts of the government to create an enabling environment for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, the CAMA was recently amended.
Consequently, some of the requirements to register a business name in Nigeria have been simplified.
It’s now possible for you to register your business or company online using the CAC online registration portal.
With such a new development, you should be able to register your business in Nigeria by yourself at a very low cost.