Best Businesses to Start in Idaho

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Referred to as “The Gem of the Northwest,” Idaho is known for its business-friendly regulations, low taxes, and easy access to infrastructure. What’s more, the state experienced a 3.4% growth in its gross state product (GSP) between 2014-2015, making it a great place to start a new business.

Many entrepreneurs start out knowing the type of business they want to run. Even so, you shouldn’t worry if you haven’t chosen which business structure you want to use yet. Our business experts have put together this guide to the best business to start in Idaho to help you find a business idea that’s right for you.

Many new and aspiring entrepreneurs might wonder, What is the best business to start in Idaho? While some great ideas are discussed in this article, you can start the process by thinking about what might match up with your skills, connections, and talents. Why do you want to start a business? If you’re a woman or minority owner, consider exploring local options for resources. For example, Idaho Women’s Business Center offers mentoring, education, and grants for women to start a business in Idaho.

When you’re ready to start your new business, we can help. We offer business formation services that help you to properly complete the registration process. In addition, we offer specialized services for registering an Idaho LLC or Idaho Corporation.

And formation is just the start. We can also provide support at every stage of your business’s lifecycle, starting with an idea and continuing with maintenance and legal compliance.

The Most Profitable Small Business Ideas in Idaho

If you’re wondering about the best business in Idaho to start, consider what might be profitable in the state. You want your new business to be lucrative, have access to the right resources and employees, and match your strengths, talents, and goals. The list below offers some ideas for the best small business in Idaho to start.

Idea #1: Real Estate

Idaho’s homeownership rate is 71.4%, higher than Nevada and Montana. Because Idaho is a rapidly growing state, it’s a great time to get into real estate. To become a real estate agent in Idaho, you must pass a licensing exam. However, if for any reason you don’t want to take classes to get your real estate license, there are other options in the real estate area, such as investing or providing related services.

Idea #2: Outdoor Recreation

Idaho often boasts of its natural outdoor spaces. Consider manufacturing outdoor equipment, technology in outdoor recreation, or providing outdoor recreational services such as guided hiking or fishing. Idaho projects a 67.6% growth rate in outdoor recreation over the next 10 years, making this an excellent choice for the outdoorsy entrepreneur.

Idea #3: Agriculture and Food Production

Idaho is famous for its potatoes and produces nearly one-third of the potatoes in the United States. Idaho farmers also produce other crops, seeds, dairy products, livestock, wine, and beer. If you have a passion for food, animals, or the outdoors, agriculture might be the best business for you to start in Idaho.

Idea #4: Advanced Manufacturing

Advanced manufacturing uses highly technological, cutting-edge processes and offers skilled, comparatively high-wage jobs. Many industries and occupations can use advanced manufacturing, so you have many choices. 6% of Idaho’s workforce works in manufacturing, and the sector contributes more than $9.7 billion to the state’s GDP.

Idea #5: Tourism

It’s no surprise that Idaho has a $3.7 billion tourism industry. From hiking and backpacking to wineries and craft breweries, Idaho draws thousands of tourists each year. You could get started in lodging, transportation, or dining. Also, consider offering vacation rentals or a bed and breakfast if you have extra space in your home.

Idea #6: Energy

Idaho’s energy costs are 20% below the national average. That’s because the state dedicates itself to improving natural energy sources and availability. Further, the Idaho energy sector has average yearly earnings of $91,000 (the highest of many of the state’s industries). If you’re a technical person who likes management and working with the government, this might be the right sector for your new business.

Why these are the best small businesses to start in Idaho

Our business experts chose these as good businesses to start in Idaho because they:

  • Capitalize on Idaho’s skilled and educated workforce
  • Come with significant tax incentives
  • Benefit from Idaho’s stable tax environment
  • Have low operating costs

These factors reflect Idaho’s business-friendly environment, but they shouldn’t be the only things you consider. Think of the strengths and resources you already have access to. What will you be able to maintain long-term? You’ll have a better experience running a business if it’s something that you enjoy and that you know has long-term benefits for yourself and others.

Best Cities in Idaho for Starting a Business

If you’re not sure which city to start your business in, these Idaho cities may provide incentives and benefits for your new business:

  • Boise
  • Idaho Falls
  • Treasure Valley
  • Coeur D’Alene
  • Post Falls
  • Twin Falls

We’ve listed these cities as the best place to start a business in Idaho because they offer local tax incentives, access to the I-90 and I-15 corridors, and small business support resources.

Why Form Your Business with Us

Forming your business with us is easy and efficient. If you file by using our formation services, we can get your Idaho business set up quickly. And then, we’ll be here to support you throughout your business’s growth with legal compliance with our Worry-Free Compliance Service and beyond. With these tools and more, we can help give you the confidence to move forward and start achieving your Idaho business goals.


  • The cost of starting a business in Idaho depends on the type of business you want to start and the business structure you choose. Typical costs include fees to register your business with the Secretary of State, and other start up costs like licensing and permit applications.

  • The best time to start a new business in Idaho depends on the type of business and your individual circumstances. If your business is seasonal, such as an ice cream parlor or ski shop, you may want to time the opening of your business with the start of that season. It would also help if you started your business when you’re ready to focus on completing the legal requirements and managing your finances. It’s never good to start a business when you aren’t financially prepared.

  • In most cases, yes, a new business needs an EIN from the IRS to pay federal taxes and report wage withholding.

  • eCommerce is a growing and lucrative industry, but the best business to start is one that you enjoy and can manage. Online sales can be a simple, beneficial way to break into eCommerce.

  • Any business you can run with minimal equipment and space will be an excellent business to start from home. Consider online sales, child or pet care, or consulting as a starting point. Don’t forget that even if your business is primarily online, you’ll need to register with the Secretary of State and apply for local licenses.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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