Business Startup Cost Calculator

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It can be challenging to think about how much capital you will need to start and build a business from the ground up. One thing is certain: no matter how big or small, understanding your costs and budget is imperative to launching a successful, profitable business.

First, let’s explain what exactly we mean by ‘startup costs,’ and how they relate to you and your business plan.

What are startup costs?

Startup costs refer to any costs involved in the setting up of your business, including expenses incurred in getting your business to the point where it’s ready to start selling to customers.

Remember to include your ‘sunk’ costs to accurately reflect the total amount your business will need to start up, launch and operate before making a profit. This total will indicate how much investment you’ll need to become profitable.

Business startup cost calculator - illustration of 3 business scenarios, coffee shop business partners, entrepreneur shaking hands with banker and a carpenter working in his shop with an Open sign

How to calculate startup costs?

Creating a financial forecast for your business is essential to effectively calculate your startup costs, as well as the costs you will incur during your first year of business. To help you, we have built a startup cost calculator which you can use to help assess the cost of your new venture.

Our cost calculator will allow you to estimate these initial costs needed to launch and run your business, whether you have a bootstrap, medium, or large budget.

How to use the startup cost calculator

Using our startup cost calculator is simple:

  • First, pick your startup size (bootstrap, medium or large). This choice will serve as the basis for your startup calculator. Bootstrap means you’re not receiving any outside capital from investors. Medium indicates you may have some outside investment, but will need to exercise some caution with spending. Large means you may have secured substantial external investment and will have more freedom in your spending choices.
  • Next, name your project. Give your project a suitable name and then click the ‘Save’ icon to create a unique web link for your calculator, which you can return to at a later date. You can also use the ‘Share’ button to distribute with friends or business partners, as well as across social channels.
  • Fill in your calculator. The size of startup you selected at the beginning of the process will dictate the starting point for your overall costs. Based on your own research and business requirements, you can amend each field in the calculator to build up your own, bespoke startup cost calculator. As you update the fields, the total costs for the first year will update in the bottom right of the calculator.

There are six broad sections contained within our calculator, each of which have their own fields to populate:

Business startup cost calculator - illustration of coffee shop business partners

    • Pre-trading. These are the costs you’ll incur to set up your business, including articles of incorporation and obtaining appropriate licenses.
    • Administration. These are fees related to accounting, bookkeeping and insurance - plus any ongoing professional fees (i.e. legal or consultant).


    • Marketing. This category includes items like market research, as well as your advertising and promotion for the launch of your business.
    • Operations. This includes the cost of your starting inventory/materials, in addition to general supplies, postage/shipping costs, and telephone & Internet charges.
    • People. This category allows you to specify the salaries for your employees. You can also designate additional employees as contractors if applicable to your startup.
    • Space. This encompasses rental charges, any office equipment, and a POS system if required.

You also have the option to include additional costs - for example, contingency funds - by selecting the optional costs available in each category.

  • Keep your calculator updated. As you discover new information or carry out fresh research, return to the calculator using your saved web link and update your figures.

How to accurately budget for your small business

We have put together six individual guides focusing on some of the most popular business startup industries. Each guide contains a link to a pre-set Startup Cost Calculator, to help you get started.

You will need to do a little extra research into your own state/location to ensure you are able to accurately predict your expenses.

These startup costs guides will help you navigate and understand exactly what you need to start a business; from how to write a business plan, what resources and equipment you might need, what marketing is right for your business, and how to choose the best payment acceptance solutions.

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