Start-up costs are the one-off expenses required to set up your business. Different businesses will have different start-up costs, but they often include things like:

  • premises (purchase, fit out and connecting utilities)
  • materials and equipment
  • licencing and registration fees
  • logo design and website development.

Step through this process to get an idea of how much it will cost to start your business.

1. Work out your major expenses

Review your business plan to identify your major expenses.

If you're unsure of what they are, talk to others who have started a similar business and do further research on the needs of your business.

2. Seperate start-up costs from other costs

Break down all the costs from your business plan into:

  • one-off costs – establishment costs such as licence fees and insurance
  • equipment outlay – all necessary equipment to be used in the business over the next few years (for example,
  • assets such as equipment, tools)
  • working capital –the funds you'll need to cover your running costs during the initial set-up stage of your business (until you start to turn a profit).

The following lists are some of the most common start-up costs for many businesses. Whether they apply to you will depend on the nature of your business.

Keep in mind that some costs, such as insurance, can recur on a regular basis even if they're considered 'one-off'.

Common start-up costs

Setting up your premises

Common costs relating to your business premises are:

  • site design and architectural plan
  • basic premises modifications – electrical, lighting, painting, security system, ventilation system
  • fit-out, kitchen installation, bathroom construction and plumbing (gas and water).

Compliance needs

There are many licences that can come with starting a business, including:

  • business name registration fees
  • vehicle registration fees
  • licences – for example, a liquor licence or council permits for business signage and footpath trading
  • Food Handling Certificate, Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Certificate
  • insurance – for example, public liability, contents, and WorkCover.

Marketing expenses

It's important to factor some marketing into your plans so you can get customers to your business. Some things to consider are:

  • graphic design for logos and signage
  • opening marketing, including advertising
  • setting up an online presence (website design, web hosting fees, SSL certificate and registering a domain name).

Staff costs

Often businesses will need to employ staff from the beginning. If you need staff, you should consider:

Professional service fees

You might need to employ professional services when setting up your business. Some fees to consider are:

  • legal fees
  • accounting - bookkeeper or accountant
  • financial adviser
  • banking costs or loan fees
  • internet and phone installation.

3. Factor in your running costs

It's normal for new businesses to take time to make a profit. You can make this period less stressful by factoring a period of your running costs into your start-up.

Running costs can include:

  • wages
  • rent or lease
  • utilities
  • mobile phone and landline bills
  • internet access
  • buying stock
  • shipping and delivery charges.

The 'Detailed profit' sheet of the template lists some common running costs.

Get help in person

Attend a workshop

Attend Business Victoria's Starting your business right workshop to step you through the process of starting a business, help you get set up right the first time and connect you to a range of government resources and free mentoring.