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How much does it cost to start a business?

Whether you’re seriously considering launching your own business now or casually contemplating the idea of your own venture, understanding startup costs has to be on the top of your list for your bottom line.

So, how much does it cost to start a business? It’s a valid question asked by many an enterprising entrepreneur. That’s why Sage has created startup cost worksheets for you, built around some of the most popular types of startups today—from restaurants to food trucks to gyms to beauty salons and more.

Roundel of a laptop and tablet displaying a budget planner on a wooden table set with plates, cutlery and a bottle of wine

Restaurant startup cost calculator

A lot goes into calculating the cost of a restaurant startup, including costs for food handling permits to weighing whether you should buy or rent your location. Download this easy-to-understand worksheet to help you determine just how much you’ll need to start your own restaurant.
Roundel of a laptop displaying a budget planner on a round metal table in a coffee shop

Food truck startup cost calculator

Whether you want to sell scrumptious servings from a sidewalk for the long haul or your eventual goal is to transform your food truck into a brick-and-mortar location, this downloadable cost calculator will help you discover how much capital is required to get started.
Roundel of a computer displaying a budget planner on a desk with a potted plant

Beauty salon startup cost calculator

From a small bottle of nail polish to a large, industrial hooded hair dryer, the costs of starting a beauty salon all add up. Download this worksheet to calculate the costs of starting your own nail and/or beauty salon.
Roundel of a laptop displaying a budget planner, a pot of pens, a notepad and a phone on a table in the sunshine

Gym startup cost calculator

Want to start your own gym? Before you do, you’ve got to learn to hang in there with the best of ‘em, getting proper coding and health permits, as well as the equipment and machines required for success. Download this gym startup cost calculator to get your financial fitness on track before you open your doors!
Roundel of a laptop displaying a budget planner, a notepad and a glass of soda on the screen positioned on a wooden counter in a bar

Bar startup cost calculator

From liquor licenses to location permits and top of the line stock, there are a number of costs involved in starting your own bar. Find out how much you’ll need to put on your startup tab with our bar startup cost calculator worksheet.

Startup costs, by definition, vary according to industry. Overall, startup costs refer to the initial expenditures needed to get a brand new business up and running. These costs are sometimes referred to as pre-opening expenses. Typically, these are one-time only costs and represent a large chunk of change that must be doled out by aspiring startup owners to launch their business.

Startup costs encompass all of the things you'll need to get your business operational and can include equipment costs (such as weight machine equipment for gyms, or ovens and griddles for restaurants), licensing fees and permits, attorney fees (to have a qualified professional review your documents, employee training), and a variety of other costs associated with opening your own business.

To help get your business off on the right foot, you’ll find detailed information on the amount of capital required to start a specific type of business—and keep it thriving. In addition to our startup cost worksheets, you’ll find valuable insights from startup owners in various industries, sharing knowledge that they wish they had before taking on their dream businesses.

Starting your own business costs a lot of money—but these worksheets are free! In addition to offering guidelines for specific startup costs and line items, you can customize each form with room for additional fields to account for any of the extra costs you may incur on the road to starting your own business.

How to calculate startup costs

Launching your own startup venture isn’t something you just jump into overnight. There is an established process to carefully weigh the practical and financial aspects of starting your own business.

  • Choose your industry - the first step starts with solid market research and developing an understanding of the industry where you want to launch your startup. Weigh the pros and cons such as costs, industries where you have a built-in skill set or expertise, as well as location and trends to help inform your decision.
  • Make a plan - once you know your industry, make a business plan—or hire someone to write a plan for you. Although you can’t always plan for the unexpected, a business plan will give you a roadmap to follow for year one and growing your business. It can also be a valuable tool in attracting backers and investors, if needed.
  • Fund your business - whether you’re saving your pennies, crowdsourcing funds for your venture, or accepting loans and donations from generous friends and relatives, having the cash on-hand to launch your startup is a crucial part of the process. Additionally, many startups are eligible for small business loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), an entity that can also direct you to lenders to help launch your business.
  • Choose a location and a name - you may have already had a specific city in mind or dreamed up the perfect business name a long time ago, doodling it on your notebook or saving it as a note in your phone when the right day came. However, scouting a precise location in your city or county can mean the difference between success and failure for your business. Similarly, a name you may have had your heart set on may already be registered to another business owner. Do your homework and some legwork in looking at different locations for your business and weighing the pros and cons of each, as well as having several backup names that you can live with and love well beyond launch day.
  • Get proper state and federal identification - once you have a name for your business and decide how it will be structured, file the appropriate paperwork to obtain a state and federal ID for your business. This will be required for tax purposes. Your federal ID number is sometimes known as the employer identification number, or EIN. While a person has a Social Security Number, a business will have a unique EIN number. You can obtain a federal EIN via the IRS. At the state level, regulations vary and some states do not require your business to pay income tax to the state.
  • Procure licenses and permits - these licenses and permits vary according to state, city and/or municipality. Do your research on what is required for your particular industry and make sure your business is compliant with the established rules and regulations. When in doubt, ask it in writing from specific, local licensing agencies what permits you are responsible for before proceeding to break ground, and which ones do not apply to you. Finding out what is required in advance can save you time and money on costly setbacks if you do not have proper licensing or permits for your business.

Calculating the cost of starting a business in your industry

There’s a good reason why the very first step in launching a startup is determining which industry you’re going to be a part of. Every industry is different and requires vastly different amounts of capital to get a business off the ground and ensure it can sustain itself for years to come. For instance, although both have a foot in the food industry, there's a big difference in the amount of money required to launch a food truck (approximately $50,000 to $150,000) versus a restaurant (between $275,000 and $425,000).

So, how much money do you need to start a business? Every industry has different considerations that owners need to understand to ensure long-term success. Developing this knowledge of your industry early on is the first step on the long journey before your customers clang their first barbell or enjoy their first bowl of piping hot mac n’ cheese. This cost is all relevant to your industry—and that’s where Sage’s startup cost calculator worksheets come in!

Sage cost calculator: worksheets for startups by industry

Every business is different—but it’s important to get yours off to a good start. The foundations of a strong startup that will stand the test of time are steeped in sound financial planning. Different industries require different startup costs and have specific considerations. The equipment required to launch a food truck will be drastically different in scope and cost from equipment needed to start a gym or beauty salon.

Browse through our collection of free cost calculator worksheets organized by industry. Start developing your knowledge of the funding it takes to begin your dream business and to keep it fully operational in the months and years ahead.

Focus on building your business, not tracking expenses—try Sage Business Cloud Accounting

When startup businesses are already strapped for time and resources, low overhead is critical to success and eventual expansion. In order to keep your startup dream alive and well, you’ll need to keep an accurate record of your expenses. When every dime and every minute count toward your startups bottom line, Sage Business Cloud Accounting online accounting software can help you easily track your expenses—in your startup’s first year and well into its successful future!

Ready to grow your business?

Sage Business Cloud will help you spend less time on administration and more on attracting customers.

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The startup costs shown here by industry are merely guidelines and average estimates based on information pulled from a variety of sources. While we have attempted to present the most accurate information available, please be aware that startup costs can vary greatly according to a number of factors, including but not limited to state and local fees, and contractor quotes. The information presented here is intended to help guide prospective business owners in the search for information on starting a business within a given industry, but should not be interpreted as an exact quote.

Sage provides the information contained here as a service to the public and is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for damages of any kind arising out of use of reference to, or reliance on any information contained on this site. While the information contained on this site is periodically updated, no guarantee is given that the information provided is correct, complete and up-to-date. Sage is not responsible for the accuracy or content of information contained on this site.