Business startup costs calculator

Learn and calculate all the startup costs that go into launching a business.

Startup Cost Calculator

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Starting a new business can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it also requires careful planning and financial management. One of the essential aspects of starting a business is calculating the startup costs. This process can seem overwhelming, especially if you're not familiar with the various expenses involved. In this article, we'll discuss how to calculate start up costs for your new business, provide common costs to plan for, and offer tips to save money during the start up process.

How to calculate the cost of starting a business

Calculating startup costs is crucial for any new business. The first step is to determine what kind of business you want to start and the type of expenses that will be required to help you determine the costs involved.

  1. Determine your business model: The cost of starting a business can vary widely depending on the type of business you plan to start. For example, a service-based business may have lower costs than a manufacturing business. Therefore, it's important to determine your business model, draft a business plan and understand the unique costs associated with it.
  2. Create a list of startup expenses: Make a comprehensive list of all the expenses you'll need to pay before your business can begin generating revenue. This may include everything from rent and utilities to marketing and legal fees. Be as thorough as possible and do your research to ensure you don't overlook any critical expenses.
  3. Estimate the costs of each item: Once you have a list of expenses, it's time to estimate the cost of each item. This may involve researching the cost of office space in your area, getting quotes from equipment suppliers, or consulting with a lawyer or accountant.
  4. Add up your estimated costs: After estimating the costs of each item on your list, add them up to get a total estimate of your costs.
  5. Consider ongoing expenses: In addition to startup costs, it's important to consider ongoing expenses such as rent, utilities, and employee salaries. This will give you a better idea of the total cost of operating your business over the long term.

By accurately calculating the cost of starting your business, you can create a realistic budget and financial plan that will help you manage your finances and make informed decisions as your business grows. Ramp’s startup cost calculator can also help with all these steps to help you throughout this process.

10 common startup costs to plan for

Starting a business involves many different costs, and it's important to plan for these in advance. By considering the common monthly and one-time business expenses listed below, you can develop a more accurate budget and better prepare your business for success. Here's a breakdown of the common startup costs to plan for, including some examples:

Office space

Renting office space is one of the largest expenses for many businesses. Depending on your business needs, office space could include a storefront, a warehouse, or a co-working space. You'll need to consider the location, size, and layout of the space, as well as the associated costs such as utilities and internet.

Equipment and office supplies

Equipment and supplies are essential for many businesses. This could include anything from computers and phones to machinery and tools. Consider the cost of purchasing or leasing equipment, as well as the ongoing cost of office supplies such as paper, pens, and printer ink.

Rent and utilities

In addition to office space, you'll also need to consider the cost of monthly rent and utilities. This could include rent for a storefront, warehouse, or other commercial space, as well as the cost of electricity, water, and internet.

Permits and licensing

Depending on the type of business you're starting, you may need to obtain permits and licenses from the local and state government. These can include business licenses, permits to operate in a certain location, and health and safety permits.

Business insurance

Business insurance can help protect your business in case of accidents, liability claims, or other unexpected events. The insurance needs of a startup can also depend on various factors, such as the business type, industry, size, and level of risk.

Lawyers, accountant, consultants

Many businesses will require the help of legal, accounting, or consulting professionals. This could include lawyers to help with contracts and legal compliance, accountants to help with bookkeeping and tax planning, or consultants to help with business strategy and planning. It’s important to consider various legal fees that may come up.

Product and inventory

If you're starting a small business that involves selling products, you'll need to consider the cost of purchasing or producing those products. This could include the cost of raw materials, manufacturing, and storage.


If you plan on hiring employees, you'll need to consider the cost of salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes. This could also include the cost of recruiting and training new employees.

Marketing and market research

Marketing and market research are essential for getting the word out about your business and understanding your target audience. Consider the cost of advertising, social media, and other marketing efforts, as well as the cost of conducting research.


A website is an essential part of many businesses, and a domain name is required for that website. Consider the cost of purchasing a domain name and setting up a website.

To give you a better idea of the costs involved, let's take a closer look at the average costs in various industries.

Average costs based on the industry

When starting a new business, it's important to have a good idea of the costs associated with your particular industry. Here's a table that provides some average costs based on industry:

Industry Average Startup Cost
Health care $10,000 - $50,000
Construction $10,000 - $50,000
Consulting $2,000 - $10,000
Retail $30,000 - $50,000
Creative Services $5,000 - $15,000
Technology $5,000 - $30,000
Manufacturing $50,000 - $150,000
Food service $50,000 - $250,000

This table was compiled using data from various industry sources, including the Small Business Administration (SBA) and industry associations. 

Note that these costs are only averages and can vary significantly depending on the specific needs of your business. It's important to remember that these are only estimates, and your actual costs may be higher or lower depending on your specific circumstances. Therefore, it's important to do your own research and create a budget that reflects your unique situation.

Tips to save money during the startup process

Starting a business can be expensive, but there are ways to save money during the startup process. Here are some ways to save money:

  • Negotiate prices: Talk to suppliers and vendors to negotiate better prices.
  • Stay on budget: Make a budget and stick to it.
  • Avoid maverick spending: Do not spend money on items that are not necessary for your business.
  • Monitor travel expenses: Track your travel business expenses and find ways to reduce operating costs.
  • Apply for grants: Look for grants and alternative funding opportunities to help cover costs.
  • Use free tools: Use free tools and resources instead of paid ones.
  • Control spending: Monitor spending and find ways to reduce costs.
  • Marketing Costs: Leveraging social media can be a cost-effective way for a new small business to reach a wider audience and save money on advertising expenses.
  • Use tax write-offs: Take advantage of tax write-offs to reduce your overall costs.

How do I use tax write-offs to save on my startup costs?

When calculating startup costs, it's important to consider potential small business tax deductions that can help reduce your expenses. Here are some common expenses that may be deductible on your tax forms:

  1. Home office expenses: If you are starting your business from home, you may be able to deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage, utilities, and other expenses as a home office deduction.
  2. Business equipment and supplies: The cost of equipment and supplies, such as computers, software, and office furniture, may be deductible on your tax forms.
  3. Legal and accounting fees: If you've paid for legal or accounting services to set up your business, you may be able to deduct these costs on your tax forms.
  4. Travel expenses: If you've traveled for business purposes, such as attending a conference or meeting with a client, you may be able to deduct your travel expenses, including transportation, lodging, and meals.
  5. Marketing expenses: Costs associated with advertising and promoting your business, such as website design and hosting, business cards, and brochures, may also be deductible on your tax forms.

It's important to note that there are specific rules and limitations for each of these deductions, so be sure to consult with a tax professional or refer to the IRS website for guidance. Keeping accurate records of all expenses related to your business startup is crucial to ensure you are able to take advantage of any potential tax write-offs.

How Ramp can help startups grow

Ramp can be a valuable resource for startups. With Ramp, you can use our business startup cost calculator to estimate your expenses. We can also help with other financial needs as you grow your business, such as startup accounting software, expense management, and financial insights.

Starting a business requires careful planning and preparation. By calculating your costs and planning for common business expenses, are a few steps that can help set you up for long-term success.

Time is money. Save both.

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“Diving into a new venture excited and inspired sometimes can cause tunnel vision to startup and operational costs. That's why we made our business startup calculator. Keep that excitement, let it fuel your vision, and have a handle on all business startup costs the entire time.”
Shaun Hinklein
Head of SEO, Ramp


What should be calculated as startup costs for a business?

Startup costs include expenses incurred before a business generates revenue, such as equipment, rent, utilities, legal and accounting fees, marketing and advertising expenses, and inventory.

What startup costs can't be deducted?

Costs associated with purchasing an existing business, research and experimentation expenses, and intangible asset costs cannot be deducted. If you do not start the business, incurred startup costs are also not deductible.

What are ways to calculate startup costs?

You can calculate startup costs by conducting market research, creating a business plan, consulting with a financial advisor, or using a startup cost calculator or template.

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