Types of Business Structure For Farms & Market Gardens

This is the first blog in our mini series on Setting up a Food Growing Business, where we will take you through some of the best advice that we received when setting up our market gardens.

If you're thinking about starting a new farm or market garden in the UK, one of the first things you'll need to consider is what form of company setup is best for your business. In the UK, there are several different options available to entrepreneurs, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the most common forms of company setup in the UK and discuss which might be suitable for a new farm.

Sole trader

As a sole trader, you'll be operating your farm as an individual, without a formal company structure. This is the easiest and cheapest way to start a business, as you won't need to register with Companies House or pay any registration fees. You'll also have complete control over your business and its finances. However, you'll be personally liable for any debts your business incurs, and you won't benefit from the tax advantages of a limited company.

A sole trader setup might be suitable for a new farm if you're just starting out and don't have much capital to invest in your business. However, as your farm grows and becomes more profitable, you may want to consider setting up a limited company to protect your personal assets.

Limited company

A limited company is a separate legal entity from its owners, which means that your personal assets are protected if your business runs into financial trouble. Setting up a limited company involves registering with Companies House and paying a registration fee. You'll also need to appoint directors and shareholders and keep detailed records of your finances.

The main advantage of a limited company is that it offers greater protection for your personal assets and can be more tax-efficient than a sole trader setup. However, it's also more complicated and expensive to set up and maintain, so it might not be suitable for a new farm unless you're expecting to generate significant profits.


A partnership involves two or more people sharing the responsibility for running a business. Partnerships can be either general partnerships, where all partners share equally in the profits and losses, or limited partnerships, where one or more partners are liable only up to the amount they have invested in the business.

The main advantage of a partnership is that it allows you to share the responsibility and workload of running your farm with other people. However, partnerships can be complicated to set up and maintain, and there's always the risk that one partner may let the others down. You'll also be personally liable for any debts your partnership incurs, so it's important to choose your partners carefully.

Community Interest Company (CIC)

A Community Interest Company (CIC) is a special type of limited company that is designed to benefit the community rather than just the owners. CICs must have a social purpose that benefits the local community, and any profits must be reinvested in the business or used to benefit the community.

A CIC setup might be suitable for a new farm if you're committed to using your business to benefit the local community. However, setting up and maintaining a CIC can be more complicated than setting up a regular limited company, so you'll need to weigh up the benefits and drawbacks carefully.


In conclusion, there are several different forms of company setup available in the UK, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. As a new farm, you'll need to consider your options carefully and choose the setup that best suits your needs and goals.

Whether you opt for a sole trader, a limited company, a partnership, or a Community Interest Company, there's no one-size-fits-all solution, so it's important to seek professional advice before making any decisions. If you want to ask any questions of the team here on their experience of setting up many market gardens / food growing related businesses then please do get in touch!

You can do so via our socials: https://www.instagram.com/reagtools or email: marketing@reagtools.co.uk


Please watch out for our next blog post in this mini series as we look at "What To Consider When Hiring an Accountant for your Food Growing Business:.

Setting up a food growing business