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Calculate Your Startup Costs

Estimate your startup costs and determine how much money you’ll need to get and keep your business up and running.

Starting a small business can be expensive and estimating how much money you’ll need may vary widely depending on your business model and industry.

Smaller, freelance businesses, often online or home-based, may need only a few thousand dollars to get started, but other types of businesses requiring inventory, a location and staff will need substantially more funds. Prepare for business ownership by understanding the costs required as you start and expand your business.

Accurately estimating your potential costs is important, so never try to fit your costs to the money you have available. Consider a different approach or a different business model if you lack funding or access to funding. If you do require financing assistance, the USA.gov Finance Your Business tool can guide you to government resources where you may find funding through loans and grants.

Small business costs to add to your startup budget may include the following:

  • Assets or capital expenditures such as inventory, property, vehicles, equipment and upfront payments including security deposits
  • Expenses that occur during startup and continue for as long as you own your business

Examples of initial organizational expenses may include:

  • Legal fees
  • State incorporation fees
  • Rent
  • Payroll
  • Office supplies
  • Travel costs
  • Marketing materials

When developing your budget, create two lists — one for your startup expenses and one for your assets. Then, you should factor in other financial considerations, including the following:

  • Securing equipment, facility improvements, brochures or a website
  • Hiring an accountant, lawyer or tax adviser
  • Determining essential costs and optional costs

For additional information on starting and running your own small business, visit the Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment section of the Employment Readiness lifecycle stage of MySECO. You can also contact a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or use the Live Chat feature on MySECO for additional guidance. 

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