Estimating Start-up Costs

How much is it going to cost you to start a business? Find out how to make those calculations here.

Dear Janet,

What is the best way to find out how much start-up costs will be?

For example: supplies, insurance, etc. Is there some sort of guidelines for certain types of business I could look in to?


Dear AM:

You can get a list of the types of expenses to consider – and calculate the total – using our start-up cost calculator at

To determine what dollar amounts to use in the calculator, though, you’ll need to do a little bit of research. If there is a large bookstore near you, browse through the business start-up titles there. Look for books on the specific type of business you want to start, and books that have start-up information about a variety of businesses. Those should give you some rough guidelines. One good way to get input is to ask existing business owners what it costs to start the type of business you want. You can do that in message boards like the boards we have at Be specific about the type of business you want to start. What you’d need to start a business as a virtual assistant is going to be a lot different than what you’d need to start a gift basket business. Industry groups, trade magazines and suppliers can help, too. Suppliers are often a very good source of information since they can estimate your needs based on their experiences dealing with businesses similar to what you want to start. To determine the dollar cost of insurance, get quotes from several insurance brokers. Be sure they understand what kind of business you want to start. Good luck!

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