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Common costs when starting a business

Ensure you have enough money to start a business

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  • Review your business plan
  • Estimate your start-up costs
  • Work out ongoing costs

Attend Small 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.

Three steps to work out your start-up costs

Different businesses will have different set-up costs. Step through this process to work out how much it costs to start your business:

1. Review your business plan to determine your major expenses

Your business plan helps you to identify the cost items. 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.

Guide to writing a business plan (DOC 144.5 KB)DOC icon

2. Estimate your start-up costs

Depending on the nature of your business, break down your costs into:

  • one-off costs (establishment costs such as licence fees, insurance)
  • cost of purchasing all necessary equipment to be used in the business over the next few years (for example, assets such as equipment, tools)
  • working capital which is the money you need to set aside to cover the initial set-up stage of your business for running costs

Some common start-up costs are listed below. Bear in mind not all costs are applicable to your business, and some costs can recur on a regular basis.


Common costs relating to your business premises are:

  • site design/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 often many licences that come with starting a business. Some you should consider are:

  • licences - these could include a liquor licence or council permits for business signage and footpath trading.
  • Food Handling Certificate, Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Certificate
  • insurance - public liability, professional indemnity, building, contents, income, WorkSafe etc.
  • legal work and a lawyer
  • accounting work and a bookkeeper/accountant.

Use Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS), a one-stop application that helps you find all the local, state and federal licences, registrations and permits you need.  


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 signage (logo etc.)
  • opening marketing, including advertising 
  • website design, web hosting fees, SSL certificate and domain name registration.


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


In the set up of your business, it will often be necessary to employ professional services. Some fees to consider are:

  • banking or loan fees/costs
  • business registration fees
  • vehicle registration fees 
  • internet and phone installation.

3. Determine your running costs

Running costs can include wages, buying stock, mobile phone and landline charges, internet access, shipping/delivery charges, rent, and utilities. Fill out the detailed profit and loss sheet in the financial statements template.

Financial statements template (XLSX 296.44 KB)XLSX icon

Case Study: Estimate your costs when starting a business

'Draw up a business plan to anticipate costs, research this by talking to mentors with similar small businesses...'
Max Wald, Clymax

Read more about estimating your costs when starting a business

Max Wald, Owner of Clymax provide tips on estimating business costs

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