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  • June 20, 2018 11:04:48 PM

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Small Business News and Reviews Here you can learn how to start your own business, grow that business, set up accounting software and find the best software, website builders and SBA business loan information for you, the entrepreneur, to succeed.

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    How to Start Your Small Business Legally: 8 Key Legal Requirements

    Starting a business is both thrilling and terrifying. I know – having started, sold and consulted with many startup companies. As a new entrepreneur you need to know what is legally required of you to start your business.  I have written this in depth guide to inform you about how you can legally start your [...] The post How to Start Your Small Business Legally: 8 Key Legal Requirements appeared first on...

    guide on how to start your business legally information about legal regulations

    Starting a business is both thrilling and terrifying. I know – having started, sold and consulted with many startup companies. As a new entrepreneur you need to know what is legally required of you to start your business. 

    I have written this in depth guide to inform you about how you can legally start your business and the possible legal issues you will face as a new business owner.  I wish I had such a legal guide when I got started! 

    Plus I have attempted to make it as simple as possible by creating multiple sections (with a clickable table of contents too!) covering different legal aspects written in everyday language with lots of links to helpful resources – many of which are free!  

    Come along my entrepreneurial friend, let’s get busy starting your business legally. 

    #1 Business Registration – State & Federal Government

    Your first order of business when you start your business (liked that pun!) is to register your business with your state and federal government. Here’s how. 

    EIN Number – Employer Identification Number

    All businesses, even those without employees, should get an EIN number. Here’s how to obtain an EIN number quickly and easily. 

    Lots of entrepreneurs have questions about the EIN number and what it means for their taxes, employees and business registration. So I wrote this guide to EIN numbers filled with FAQ

    DBA Doing Business As

    In most states your first step is to file a DBA or “doing business as” certificate. Go to your state’s business registration department which can often be the Secretary of State. Find your state’s office and get information about costs on my list of all 50 US State’s business license offices here

    This filing fulfills consumer protection laws that require you to make an official record of who you are so that consumers have full disclosure who they’re doing business with. 

    Once you register you will receive your business certificate that certifies that You, Ms Sally Jones now have the right to do business as under your business name Sally’s Sweets. You will need this document to open a business checking account in most US banks. 

    The process of registering with your state is pretty straightforward and inexpensive.  Go to your state’s site and follow the instructions. 

    Yes, you can certainly file for your own DBA, however, it is easy to use a reputable and low price service such as LegalZoom. They have access to the latest forms and can get the job done quickly plus you can get your needed EIN employer’s identification number at the same time. My clients are pleasantly surprised at how affordable Legalzoom DBA services are – check for best price.

    Web Domain Name Registration 

    In today’s digitally fueled marketplace registering your business name is not enough. You will also want to register your company name as a web domain name for the rights to use that name on your website and email address. 

    Some new entrepreneurs wrongly assume that because they have registered their business name with their state that they automatically have the associated web address rights. That is not so.

    I highly recommend that you concurrently register your domain name and business name – at the same time. You can get a free domain name at Bluehost – check it out here

    My client often asks if their business name website domain needs to match.

    The answer is no, there are two separate regulating parties: your state government and the internet name association ICANN so you can have slightly (or very) different names depending upon the availability and desirability of domain names. To learn more about how to get a great domain name for your company read my in-depth guide here

    An example would be Big Bob’s Plumbing would be registered (and protected) in his home state of Texas as a DBA and if his domain name is not available he could register BigBobPlumbingTX.com.

    Adding a geographic indicator is a smart strategy to find available domain names especially if your company name is fairly generic. Also including your geographic market area helps in both search engine rankings and in customers’ understanding of your service market. 

    Learn more about how to get the right domain name for your business in my in-depth entrepreneurs guide here

    It’s important that you register your business because you need your business certificate of registration, which may be called different names in different states, for you to open a business bank account, get a credit card processing system, enter into a store lease and buy products wholesale. 

    PS here I share my best sources to find wholesale products to resell

    You may also need additional business licenses, permits, and certifications which I cover in detail further on – you can jump ahead here.   

    There is a difference between a business registration and the legal formation of your company. I know it sounds confusing but I’m gonna make it simple. Keep reading

    1- Registering your business with your state as a DBA (doing business as) is by default a legal formation called a sole proprietorship.  

    Some business owners do not proceed to create a more structured legal formation and elect to run their business as a sole proprietorship. 

    This means that all business profits and losses will be listed and paid on the business owners’ personal tax return. Also, there is no legal protection from business debt collectors or lawsuits for the business owner’s personal assets – including their family home and some retirement accounts. 

    So I don’t recommend a DBA or sole proprietorship as an adequate legal formation for any business that is beyond a cash-only side hustle weekend type gig. I highly recommend that most small businesses from an LLC – (surprisingly inexpensive at Legalzoom) protect their family, assets and themselves. 

    #2 Legal Business Formation

    Now that you’ve registered your business, you need to decide what legal business structure you want for your business

    Here are the highlights of the different options of legal structures available to most small businesses, excepting professional companies such as doctors and lawyers who can use a PLLC, and large corporations who will use C-type corporations to issue stock shares to investors and shareholders. 

    Business Partnerships 

    One of the most traditional business structures is a partnership general or limited. 

    Read my article about the different types of partnerships and find out which is right for your situation.  

    Find out how to best split profits in a partnership fairly and equitably in my guide here.

    Business partnerships can be between two or more individuals that enter into an agreement to form a partnership company.

    PLEASE Do not go into a partnership business without a legally binding signed agreement. Thankfully our attorney friends at LegalZoom are giving away this template for a partnership agreement free for download.

    Having a clear cut agreement is even more important if you love your business partner! 

    Married couples, life-partners, and best friends can be good business partner choices (here are my best business ideas for couples).

    If you are looking for a business partner, check out my best advice on how to find a good business partner here.

    Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

    LLC Limited Liability Company

    LLC stands for limited liability company. It is a legal instrument to create a business that gives liability protection for the business owner’s assets including his home, vehicles and savings accounts from the businesses debts and lawsuits.  

    LLC Advantages

    There are multiple advantages to starting your firm legally as an LLC including: 

    1. Inexpensive and quick to set upyou can do it yourself DIY here’s how or you can use the service that I use and recommend at LegalZoom (at a surprisingly affordable price). OR if the promotion is still valid for zero dollars $0 at Incfile here.
    2. Easy to maintain – there is not a lot of complex paperwork nor required government reporting.  
    3. Flexible – because you can add officers and change business locations and functions simply.

    Read more about the advantages of LLC and my complete review of LegalZoom LLC services here

    NOTE: If you are unsure of whether you should remain a sole proprietorship DBA or create an LLC read my informative article here


    A corporation is a more structured type of legal business entity. Companies use corporations to protect the owner’s assets, reduce taxation and share equity with investors. 

    Most small businesses use the subchapter S corporation type of corporation. 

    This offers the advantages of C Corporations, which are used by large firms, without the disadvantages of complex paperwork, expensive annual fees,  strict reporting rules and inflexible operating terms. 

    Incorporation Advantages

    The advantages of incorporation versus DBA or LLC are:

    • Greater legal protection for business owner’s assets 
    • Reduced taxes depending upon your particular business type
    • Ability to offer company shares in exchange for investments and as incentives to employees and partners. 

    Get incorporated at the lowest cost possible here at Incfile – $0 on promotion!

    Learn more about what Inc. means for a business on my article here.

    NOTE: PLEASE… do not try and set up your own corporation. There are far too many things that can go wrong when an inexperienced legal professional person – such as yourself – files these complex documents. I know! I did it and screwed up!

    Early in my entrepreneurial life, I attempted to set up my own S corporation – to save some money. Wrong move. 

    I thought I did the paperwork fine – I even got the incorporation certificate. BUT later on in the firm’s existence certain mistakes I made in the setup paperwork came to light and caused lots of problems. Save yourself the hassle and hire a professional at reasonable costs (if the promo is still active $9) at Incfile – check it out.

    Incorporation can be a smart choice for those types of firms that may have greater liability risks such as consumer products. My cosmetic manufacturer was set up as a corporation with good success.  Learn which is better for your business from attorney Jane Haskins LLC vs INC

    #3 Intellectual Property 

    Know that when you start a business a good portion of that business’s assets are the intellectual property and business ideas and that you create. As such, you may elect to use the law to protect those vital business assets from your competitors stealing or copying them. 

    Earlier we spoke about using a trademark to protect your business name which I highly recommend if your company is any larger than one person, one location, and on a part-time basis. You can read more information about my recommendations for trademark registration here

    When you file your DBA your business becomes a sole proprietorship which is a form of legal formation. This means that you are the sole owner i.e. proprietor and that you alone are responsible for the business operations, taxes, and compliance with government regulations.

    Yes registering your business name as a DBA gives you some limited protection from intellectual property theft; HOWEVER it is ONLY within your State and Industry not nationally or internationally. 

    So if you get a DBA (check out the cheapest and easiest way to register your DBA here) for Hot BBQ in Austin, Texas that DOES NOT protect your name from another pitmaster opening a Hot BBQ in Dallas, or Chicago or New York. 

    Want To Grow Your Business?

    To get national protection across America for your intended business name you will need to register your trademark. Don’t worry,

    It is actually quite easy and relatively inexpensive to register your trademark. Read my full review of the inexpensive trademark registration service I recommend to my clients at LegalZoom.

    This is an area I specifically do not recommend doing it yourself, Trademark registration is way too important a process for you to try to save a few bucks by doing it yourself. If you are going to be investing thousands of dollars in a new business it is foolish to try and save a few bucks by doing your own trademark registration. 

    You could end up years down the road with a nasty (and expensive) trademark lawsuit when you find out that a  competitor who legally owns your business name. Think of the hassle of changing your name and all the costs of changing your website, signs and merchandise!  

    It is actually quite easy and relatively inexpensive to register your trademark. Read my full review of the inexpensive service I recommend to my clients at LegalZoom.

    Who should register their trademark. 

    YES Register Trademark 

    • Product Line & Brand – If you are developing a brand or line of products, fashion line or are investing over $5,000 I recommend that you register your trademark name.
    • Multiple Locations – nIf you plan to open locations in other states it is imperative that you trademark your name to avoid any nasty legal battles from existing trademarks in other states.
    • International Distribution – If you plan to distribute your products internationally it is wise to register your trademark. 

    NO Trademark Registration Needed

    • Solo Entrepreneur and Part Time – If you are a solo entrepreneur and using your own personal name such as Sally Smith Cleaners it is less it is not as important and you can probably just get away with the limited protection offered for your DBA registration. 

    Know that a DBA has different names in different states. Some states call DBA fictitious business names, assumed business names or trade names. These are all the same thing – they are the name that your company is using on its products and services to the public and or business clients. 

    Learn more about the different types of names every company needs and how to create a catchy name for your business in my complete guide here

    Service Marks

    Perhaps you are selling a service, and not a product, if so, here is information on protection for your service brand called service marks in my article


    Other forms of intellectual property protection include copyright for works of art such as brochure copy slogans and books and patents for products and inventions. Get more information in my copyright article here


    Most of my entrepreneurial clients worry about their business ideas getting stolen and thus think they need a patent before they begin before they launch the company or meet with investors or the bank. 

    Happily, that’s usually not the case. While you certainly can go for the full patent process it can be very expensive and time-consuming. Instead, I give my clients my list of the best ways to protect your business idea without a patent so they can get started right away

    Read more about my review of surprising affordable trademark services here and provisional patent services

    My best advice to you is please get started in business – don’t sit at home with your brilliant idea worrying it’s gonna get stolen. Because if you never bring it to market it won’t matter it will die in your desk drawer along with millions of other useful products and inventions that never saw the light of day.  

    You see, my friend Richie has a brilliant idea for a board game but won’t show it to possible partner companies (learn how to sell your business ideas to companies in my article here) because he is scared it will be stolen and does not have the money to pursue a patent or trademark. I shared with him my list of the best ways to protect his intellectual property without a patent. (many are free! )

    #4 Taxes

    What’s the old joke there only two things you can be certain of – death and taxes! Well, as a business owner there are plenty of taxes you must legally pay or collect that you need to know about. Keep reading to learn more about the world of taxes including sales tax, income tax, payroll tax and special use excise taxes.

    Sales tax 

    Depending upon your state and type of business product or service,  most likely you will be required to collect a certain percentage of sales as sales tax. 

    The fastest way to calculate the amount of tax you need to add all of your products and services is to go to your states tax collection website for the forms and current regulations requiring the amount of sales tax depending upon your county, type of product or service and other factors. 

    You can find your state’s office on my list here on my list.

    Income Tax 

    You must pay tax on the profits from your business operations. The manner in which you pay those taxes will depend directly on how you as the business owner have decided to set up your business legally. 

    If you have a legal business formation of a DBA or one-member LLC your business profits will be a part of your personal income tax statement on Schedule C and submitted with your personal 1040 tax return. 

    If you are a legal business formation of a corporation it is different depending upon the type of corporation you used. Type S corporations pass-thru income to the owner’s tax returns while type C requires their own corporate tax return to be filed. Get more information here from the experts at Incfile.

    Payroll Tax 

    If you hire employees, or even if you claim yourself the business owner as an employee as the business manager you are legally required to pay various payroll taxes such as Social Security taxes, unemployment taxes and disability payments. 

    Learn more about these types of taxes how much each one is and how to pay them legally from the experts at Legalzoom here.

    Property Taxes 

    If you use your property for business purposes such as a store, warehouse or factory or farm, you will need to pay property taxes to local authorities for school tax, and roads and other public services. 

    Special Use and Excise Taxes 

    Excise taxes are sometimes required on environmental products such as petroleum oil spill treatments and ozone-depleting chemicals. Other special use taxes include communications and air transportation taxes. 

    Learn more on the IRS site here.  https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/business-taxes#excise

    #5 Licenses and Permits – Government

    Depending upon the type of business you plan to start and operate you may require additional licenses permit certifications and professional licenses. 

    You can research the type of licenses required in your state by referring to my list of business license offices by state here.

    These industries and businesses require additional licensing to be in legal compliance:

    Building Permits 

    If your intended business location is requiring interior or exterior building improvements you will likely need building permits for the work being done. Check with your local building department for more information.  

    Certificate of Occupancy 

    In our state a specific Certificate of Occupancy must be issued by the local authorities to allow for a building to be used for a specific purpose. The building must be inspected and be in good repair, pass fire safety guidelines and be in the appropriate zoned area i.e. business, industrial or agricultural. 

    Zoning requirements are specific for business operations such as restaurants, factories, retail stores and even home businesses! 

    In my town, home businesses are permitted as long as they do not increase the number of parked cars on the property on a regular basis. 

    Also, my town, which is a small rural town, allows homeowners to grow produce in your gardens and sell it on a farm stand or cart by the roadside. This is a good part-time business idea for small towns – here are more of my best rural business ideas.

    #6 Employment Law 

    These days hiring employees can be more complex than ever and this includes sub contractors, employees, freelancers and even online gig workers. 

    It is wise for all entrepreneurs to have a working knowledge of the employment law in their area and nationally. 

    Employment law covers various aspects of the hiring process such as interviewing, candidate selection, training and continuing employment. 

    POWER TIP: I always recommend that entrepreneurs use the legal document work for hire agreements when they hire freelancers to help them develop their business ideas. This prevents hired workers from claiming your inventions as their own. 

    Work for Hire agreements (here is a free template from the attornies at Legalzoom) clearly state that the person you are hiring is paid for doing a task and is in no way a co-inventor of your product you will co-owner in your business. 

    Listen to me I learned this lesson the hard way! Once I hired a website developer for one of my companies and somehow he got in their head that we were suddenly business partners. It got to be messy and cost me a lot of time and money to resolve which could have been avoided with the use of work for hire agreements. 

    Read all of my best tips on how to protect your business ideas without a patent in my article here.

    #7 Banking and Accounting 

    Legal Requirements to Open Business Bank Account

    In most states to legally open a business bank account, you will be required to present your DBA business certificate or business registration form. We discussed above how to get your DBA – check out this surprisingly affordable option.  

    Your business certificate issued by your State informs the SEC Security Exchange Commission, Consumer Affairs and banking authorities that you have legally registered with the federal and state government and thus are entitled to open up a bank account in a business name. 

    In many states it’s also legally required that a business have a separate bank account from the business owner’s personal account to prevent commingling of funds. Even if it is not specifically or legally required in your state it is my recommendation that you DO have separate accounts for personal and business for ease of bookkeeping and tax record preparation. 

    Plus your credit card merchant processing accounts must clearly note your business name as it is on your business registration certificate. This is important to prevent credit card fraud which is sadly rampant these days. 

    Check the settings in your credit card processing software and/or device so that it clearly tells your customers which company is charging your credit card. Too many times I get weird sounding names on my credit card statement from new businesses who forgot this crucial step. 

    Also be sure to check your electronic payment accounts such as PayPal to be sure that they are set up properly and that your customers see your transactions properly labeled to understand their origins. Otherwise you could get chargebacks and lose money, customers and your credit card processing account. 

    Double-check your transaction settings is especially important if you opened up your PayPal as a personal account and never switched to a business account.

    If you are using Paypal for the business you should upgrade to a business account. Here’s how to upgrade your PayPal to a business account. There is no fee and it gives you greater protection and spending limits.

    Accounting and Bookkeeping Legalities

    You are required by law to keep business records for accounting purposes to support your tax return statements which include your gross sales, business expenses and tax payments. 

    There are high-quality accounting software options online such as my favorites – Quickbooks and Freshbooks for ease of use, quick setup, flexibility, and affordable rates.

    Here’s my recommendation on which accounting software to select based on your business needs. 

    Use Freshbooks Accounting Software

    IF you are just starting out in business and plan to do electronic invoicing I highly recommend Freshbooks for its ease of use and robust integrations.

    Use Quickbooks Accounting Software

    IF you are a retail establishment, consulting firm, or construction firm you will find that QuickBooks offers you more options for industry-specific reports,  estimates and expense categories learn more here.

    NOTE: Legally you must clearly state your LEGAL business name on all invoices, contracts, credit application forms and leases. It must be the exact same name as on your DBA certificate (the letters DBA are not necessary) or if you are a legal LLC you must include “LLC” on these legally binding documents.  You do not need to add these legal indicators on your store signs or product bottles (except in certain cases – check with your attorneys).

    I recommend getting a good business legal plan so you have access to professional attorneys to ask specific questions about your business at any time for a low price. Check out this super-affordable (and comprehensive) business legal plan at Legalzoom.

    #8 Insurance 

    There are many types of insurances that businesses both large and small need to know about and consider purchasing. Here are the ones that I recommend:

    Free Business Insurance Quotes From CoverWallet
    • Workman’s Comp – Many states require a specific amount of workman’s comp insurance for companies to have in the case of accidents of employees and/or subcontractors on job sites. Learn more from the insurance experts at Coverwallet
    • Health insurance – Some states require employers of a certain size to apply health insurance to their workers but that is not true for all states. You can find more at Healthcare.gov
    • Disability insurance – covers a portion of an employee’s income when they lose their ability to work due to a non-work-related illness or injury. There are two types: short-term and long-term disability plans. Employers are required to offer Disability insurance in some states, so it’s good to check local regulations.
      In addition, Disability insurance can be valuable for those in highly skilled or physical professions, such as surgeons or contractors. Learn more about these affordable insurance plans which beginner entrepreneurs can afford to have quality coverage.
    • Life Insurance – Is worthwhile for business owners to have in place for the top executives in the case of injury or death. Firms will buy policies called key people policies that pay firms in the event of the death of a key executive due to the loss of that firm’s ongoing operations. 
    • General Business Liability  – Running a business is challenging enough without having to worry about lawsuits, employee injuries or property damage. Having the right insurance gives you the peace of mind to focus on what matters – running your business. 

      The coverage you need depends on the type of business you run. A restaurant owner needs to be covered against customers possibly getting food poisoning while an accountant needs to be covered against calculation errors. CoverWallet’s intelligent assessment system will identify the insurance you need based on your specific business, get you a policy that fits your budget, and do it all in less time than you think. Check out the affordable and comprehensive plans available here

    NOTE: Insurance gives a different kind of protection then a legal business entity structure such as an LLC or INC does. Your legal entity protects the business owner from being personally sued over a business debt, whereas business insurance covers the business and the business owner in the case of a customer falling in your store or your product unintentionally hurting someone. 

    The post How to Start Your Small Business Legally: 8 Key Legal Requirements appeared first on Best4Businesses.com.

    425 Profitable & Catchy Handyman Business Name Ideas

    Ready to start your handyman (or handywoman) property repair business and looking for creative and unique name ideas? Custom logo designed in by 99designs (save $99 with this exclusive coupon code) You have come to the right place. Here are hundreds of the best, catchy handyman business name ideas that are available and not taken! [...] The post 425 Profitable & Catchy Handyman Business Name Ideas appeared first on...

    Ready to start your handyman (or handywoman) property repair business and looking for creative and unique name ideas?

    handyman services company names and logo ideas
    Custom logo designed in by 99designs (save $99 with this exclusive coupon code)

    You have come to the right place. Here are hundreds of the best, catchy handyman business name ideas that are available and not taken!

    Handyman Business Name Ideas

    Able Handyman – Check Availability 
    Absolute Tools – Check Availability 
    Absolutely Handy – Check Availability 
    Accurate Handyman – Check Availability 
    Affordable Handyman – Check Availability 
    After Hours Service – Check Availability 
    All Done Handyman – Check Availability 
    All Hands on Deck Handyman – Check Availability 
    All Out Handyman – Check Availability 
    All-American Handyman – Check Availability 
    Ann the Handywoman – Check Availability 

    Handyman logo example designed by 99designs (save $99 with this exclusive promo code)

    Any Job on Demand – Check Availability 
    Anytime Job Handyman – Check Availability 
    Around Your House Repair Services – Check Availability 
    Arrow Straight Handyman – Check Availability 
    ASAP Handyman – Check Availability 
    At Home Crew – Check Availability 
    At Home Handyman – Check Availability 
    At Home Helper – Check Availability 
    Available Handyman – Check Availability 
    Be There Right Away Handyman – Check Availability 
    Best Houston Handyman – Check Availability  (add your city name)
    Best Solutions Handyman – Check Availability 
    Best Value Handyman – Check Availability 
    Branded Handy – Check Availability 
    Broke Handyman – Check Availability 
    Brothers Handyman – Check Availability 
    Budget Handyman – Check Availability 
    Busy Bees Handyman – Check Availability 
    City Handyman – Check Availability 
    Clever Handyman – Check Availability 
    Coastal Handyman – Check Availability 
    Collegiate Handyman – Check Availability 
    Conduit Handyman – Check Availability 
    Country Handyman – Check Availability 

    Cool handyman logo example designed by 99designs (save $99 with this exclusive promo code)

    Handyman Names Generator – How to Use for Naming Ideas

    If you have not found your perfect handyman business name from the lists above (more are below too!), use a company name generator like this one for handyman names.

    Here are are my top tips on how to use a business name generator for good results – complete with examples for home repair companies.

    Step 1: Create Handyman Keyword List

    To name your home repair service start by researching and brainstorming a list of keywords. These are the terms you will enter into the company name generator.

    Remember garbage in – garbage out.

    This means that the better, more focused, and creative, that your keywords are the better your results will be.

    An easy way to brainstorm keywords to use in name generators is to use Google. Put in your business type (handyman, home repair, construction, property maintenance,) plus “keywords”. Example “handyman keywords”.

    Scroll through the search results to find pages filled with good related keywords such as this page

    I found these additional keywords =  home, improve, renovation, contractor, remodeling, painting, plumbing, window installation, power washing, moving, hauling

    Another source of creative keywords to use in the name generator is a glossary of handyman terms.  I found even more good keywords to input into the name generator including angled corner, bevel, wood grain, first cut, cornice, and plumb bob.

    Step 2: Generate Names

    Experiment by entering various keywords – single and multiple variations – into the name generator tool to generate creative name ideas.

    Check out the ones I created by using my keyword list I created using the prior steps:

    List of Home Repair Name Ideas – Generated and Improved by Me 🙂

    Home Universe
    Home Wind
    Fantastic Homes
    Agile Home Repairs
    Your Better Home
    Optimum Home
    Boss Handy

    CHECK if these names are available instantly using this domain search tool

    Check out my list of the best free business name generators here.

    Step 3: Review and Edit Names

    Now let’s take those names you generated and customize them for your perfect business name by adding your personal name (John, Bob), nickname (Dad, Slim) or town name/region (NYC, Tri-State, Southern).

    Create a shortlist of ones you like. Next step is where we will pick your final name.

    Step 4: Select Final Name

    The final step in naming your handyman company is to ask your customers, employees, friends, and family to give their opinions about your name ideas.

    Have a list of 3-4 choices and ask them which they like best and why. Try not to influence them so you get their true opinion.

    Ask them for any name ideas they can think of. Some of the best names have come about just this way!

    Step 5: Trademark Your Handyman Name

    Congratulations on creating your new business name! Now let’s protect it from your competitors. Register your business name by trademarking it affordably at Legalzoom.  They will research the marketplace to be sure your desired name is not taken and will then protect it with legal registration.

    Step 6: Reserve your Home Repair Domain Name

    Check to see if your intended name is available as an internet domain name for your website.

    Dads Handyman – Check Availability 
    Dan the Handyman – Check Availability 
    Dandy Handyman – Check Availability 
    Dependable Handyman – Check Availability 
    DIY Handyman – Check Availability 
    Done Right Repair Service – Check Availability 
    Dream Handyman – Check Availability 
    Drill and Bang Handyman – Check Availability 
    Drill Lady – Check Availability 
    Drill Sargent Handyman – Check Availability 
    Dude Handyman – Check Availability 
    Eastern Handyman Services – Check Availability 
    Elite Services Handyman – Check Availability 
    Empowered Handyman – Check Availability 
    Epic Tool Repair – Check Availability 
    Excellent Handyman – Check Availability 
    Expert Handymen – Check Availability 
    Extra Hands Handyman – Check Availability 
    Faith in Tools – Check Availability 
    Fire and Ice Handyman – Check Availability 
    First Choice Handyman – Check Availability 
    First-Class Home Services – Check Availability 
    Five Star Repair Services – Check Availability 
    Fix it Addicts – Check Availability 
    Fix it and Forget it Solutions – Check Availability 
    Fix it Expert – Check Availability 
    Fix it Fast Freddie – Check Availability 
    Fix it Fast Handyman – Check Availability 
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    Naming Tips: How to Come Up with a Catchy Business Name

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    Related Business Name Ideas Lists

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    The post 425 Profitable & Catchy Handyman Business Name Ideas appeared first on Best4Businesses.com.

    How to Protect Your Business Idea Without a Patent: Pitching Tips

    I know that one of your greatest entrepreneurial fears is having your business idea stolen while presenting it for licensing or partnership. It is one of mine!  It is crucial for you to get out into the world and share your business ideas with possible investors, partners, and companies. Tons of powerful business ideas and [...] The post How to Protect Your Business Idea Without a Patent: Pitching Tips appeared first on...

    I know that one of your greatest entrepreneurial fears is having your business idea stolen while presenting it for licensing or partnership. It is one of mine! 

    It is crucial for you to get out into the world and share your business ideas with possible investors, partners, and companies.

    Tons of powerful business ideas and products NEVER come to market because their investors are scared of intellectual property theft. 

    You know that you must protect your business idea but you don’t have a patent or tons of money or time to get one. Or perhaps your idea or invention is not patentable.  What then?

    Keep reading to learn the best ways to protect your business idea without a patent – many of them cost little to no money. These are the tactics I used successfully and recommend to my clients. 

    Getting this knowledge will be the first step to getting out into the world of business with your brilliant ideas. 

    Want to know how to sell your business idea to a company? Read my article here

    14 Ways to Protect Your Business Idea Without a Patent

    Tactic #1: DIY Patent Search 

    Conduct your own patent search on the US Trademark and Patent website. This is the official site with instructions and links to all the different databases. https://www.uspto.gov/patents-application-process/search-patents

    Document your findings and store the report in a secure location. You can elect to get it notarized to establish the date or do the poor man’s patent – mail it to yourself and keep in the sealed envelope! 

    Check out these good tips on how to do a patent search yourself.

    Tactic #2 Professional Patent Search Trademark Copyright 

    Spend a small amount of money (less than a cheap TV set) for a professional patent search. I have successfully used Legalzoom for many projects.

    By hiring, legal professionals, who are experts at patent searches, will yield you the best results. They will search the multiple government databases for patents, trademarks, and copyrights related to your concept.

    This professionally prepared report will be a valuation section in your proposal to investors. Not only will it impress them with your thoroughness, and it will also answer many of their intellectual property questions. 

    Tactic #3  Provisional Patent 

    This is a stop along the road to a fully issued patent. Here you are beginning the product patent application process, after a professional patent search has been conducted. It costs far less and is much quicker than a complete patent submission. 

    In fact, once you submit the application, you can begin immediately using the important designation “Patent Pending” to be applied to your products.  Often these two words are enough to scare off possible idea thieves and inform your investors of your seriousness. The cost is surprisingly affordable at Legalzoom – get the latest discount here.

    Learn more about provisional patents read my review of affordable options for entrepreneurs here

    Tactic #4 Trademark Search 

    You could either conduct a trademark search yourself on the USPTO website. Here is the link along with helpful suggestions from patent attorneys on how to best search here 

    Or you can spend a surprisingly small amount of money (less than $200 at Legalzoom here) and have a professional trademark search done by legal professionals. 

    Doing this will uncover similar concepts and products currently being sold or planning to be brought to market. Then you can modify your products or how about contacting those companies and partners to develop a full line of products/inventions together. 

    Tactic #5 Copyright 

    Copyrights are generally reserved for artistic works and other forms of intellectual property.

    However, you can use a copyright to protect various written parts of your concepts such as product names, product images (such as board game graphics) brochure copy, and slogans. 

    Read more about the copyright services I recommend for entrepreneurs here

    Tactic #6 Trade Secrets 

    A trade secret is a proprietary knowledge that is of value to the final production of the product or service.

    The most famous example is the formula for Coca-Cola which is actually a trade secret and not patented.

    Learn more about what is a trade secret and how to protect it in my article here

    Tactic #7 Service Mark 

    If your business idea is in the form of a service you will want to explore getting a service mark as opposed to a trademark that is reserved for physical or digital products. 

    A service mark would be used to protect your service name and process such as the American Airlines flight service.

    Instead of the symbol R which is used for the registered trademark, you would use the symbol S which stands for registered service mark.

    Learn more about the differences between service and trademarks in my detailed article here. 

    Tactic #8 Non Disclosure Confidentiality Agreement 

    You can ask potential investors, license buyers, and key employees to sign NDA or non-disclosure agreements. These legal instruments, here’s a free one from our friends at LegalZoom, are legal protection for your business idea. 

    However, know that many large companies and investors will not sign these agreements. These people are not intentionally planning on stealing your ideas. Often they have company policies in place,. because other people may have earlier disclosed similar ideas and they do not want a lawsuit. However, it is worthwhile to have one on hand and request it.
     Use this free non-disclosure agreement from Legalzoom

    Tactic #9 Non Compete Agreement 

    Request that employees, subcontractors and designers execute a non-compete agreement. This is a different legal document than a non-disclosure. This agreement states that this particular individual will not be able to compete directly against your company within an established location marketplace and timeframe.

    Our friends at Legalzoom are giving away a free copy of a non-compete agreement for your use here.  

    Another way to protect yourself from inside theft from employees or those you hire in your product development process is the next tactic to use work for hire agreements. 

    Tactic #10 Use work for hire agreements 

    I strongly recommend that you use a standard work for hire agreement such as the free one here by our friends at LegalZoom.

    Use for any individuals that you hire to help you develop your business idea invention. This usually includes model makers, engineers, designers, and manufacturing consultants. 

    This establishes:

    1. That you are the owner of this invention
    2. You have hired this individual for a job
    3. They are not co inventors
    4. They do not have any claims to your intellectual property and future patents 

    Use this free work for hire agreement from our friends at Legalzoom

    Tactic #11 Partial Disclosure 

    Use aunt Betty’s technique she uses to protect her treasured recipe for Lemon Squares –  don’t tell people everything you add! She may give you the recipe but it won’t be complete.

    Protect your business idea by purposely leaving out key parts of the manufacturing process of your invention. By withholding this information the people that you share with cannot properly steal your business idea or duplicate your invention exactly.  

    Tactic #12 Investigate the Individual 

    Before you meet any potential investors or companies for product licensing negotiations do your due diligence research. 

    Who is this individual or organization and what is their reputation and past business dealings? Try to ascertain if they are honest, straight dealing business people with a good track record of partnerships or whether they are unscrupulous and underhanded. 

    Based on your research, decide to meet with them or not. Better to know about the type of person you are dealing with than to walk into a dangerous situation unprepared with your precious business idea. 

    Tactic #13 Make Friends with Your Competitors  

    How about an interesting about-face? Get your competitors onto your success team. Contact them and ask them to manufacture your product so that they profit from your success. You would be hiring them as subcontractors. 

    This is a very wise and proven business model. Your competitors often have manufacturing plants in place that could easily create your product plus they usually have beneficial sales contacts in your industry also. 

    Tactic #14 Establish a Confidential Relationship 

    If you can establish the concept of a “confidential relationship” (which is a legal term) with your business partner dealing with prospect investors you are granted some protection under the law. 

    While a signed agreement is the best protection an implied confidential relationship can be legally binding. You will want to prove that an “implied confidential relationship” existed because these factors were present:

    1. You told the person that this invention was a business proposition
    2. You requested payment
    3. When you disclose your business idea you asked that it be kept confidential
    4. The information about your business idea is a trade secret because it has commercial value and was not known by your competitors. 

    My fellow entrepreneurs, now that you know the many ways you can protect your business idea without a patent, get out there and start selling your idea and making money.

    Most good business ideas die in secret for fear of being stolen.
    Don’t let yours die unnecessarily.  

    Next check out my recommended steps to take to sell your business idea to a company for investors. 

    The post How to Protect Your Business Idea Without a Patent: Pitching Tips appeared first on Best4Businesses.com.

    Sell Your Business Idea to Investors or a Company: Step by Step

    So you’ve got a great business idea but you’re not ready to launch a business (got no money and no time) what can you do? You can sell your business idea to big companies or investors that will pay you upfront and then take the item to market.  This form of business model is called [...] The post Sell Your Business Idea to Investors or a Company: Step by Step appeared first on...

    how to sell your business idea to investors

    So you’ve got a great business idea but you’re not ready to launch a business (got no money and no time) what can you do? You can sell your business idea to big companies or investors that will pay you upfront and then take the item to market. 

    This form of business model is called licensing. It involves you receiving licensing fees and being paid royalties on product sales because you are allowing others to profit from your intellectual property i.e. your business idea. 

    This article will explain the two most important parts of this business model, the first being how to sell a business idea to either a big companies small businesses or investors and secondly how to protect your idea and defend it from being stolen while you pitch and present your proposals. 

    I will discuss in depth how to protect your business idea with and without a patent if you have a small amount of money or no money practical suggestions based on industry standards. 

    Part 1: How to Sell a Business Idea to a Company or Investors 

    How to Present a Business Idea Without it Getting Stolen 

    First order of business while pitching your product idea to investors or companies is to make sure it does not get stolen! 

    Here are my top three recommendations to protect your business idea from dishonest investors: 

    1. Provisional Patent – Contrary to popular belief you do not need to be issued a patent to protect your intellectual property. You can start by quickly getting an inexpensive provisional patent that will allow you to mark your invention as “Patent Pending”. My clients are shocked that for under $200 at Legalzoom they can get this level of Federal protection!
    2. Trademark – Another way to provide protection to your business brands and product names is with a trademark. For just a few hundred dollars (get the deal here at Legalzoom here) you can greatly expand the legal protection to your brand. When you register your trademark it puts the public on notice that you intend to use your brand for commercial purposes. You are granted the exclusive right to use your registered mark on goods and services.

      Get more information and read my full review of Legalzoom trademark services here.
    3. Copyright – Original ideas such as board game graphics, books, and ideas for screenplays can be protected by copyrights. Once you register your copyright you establish public record which helps support your claim in potential infringement claims. 

      PS Our friends at Legalzoom are giving away for Free! this copyright license agreement you can use to license artwork

    Check out my in-depth post on how to protect your business idea from getting stolen – without a patent

    3 Steps to Sell Your Business Ideas & Inventions 

    Here I will break down the three steps on how to sell your business idea whether it is an invention, a product board game or manufacturing process. 

    By licensing your invention or business idea you are selling the rights to a company to develop it into a saleable commodity. The buyer is performing all the necessary actions to take it to market by using their financial and human resources. 

    Licensing or selling your business idea can be an excellent way for cash-strapped entrepreneurs to get started making money from their inventions. 

    Step One Research Market  

    You need to be equipped with data about your market to demonstrate the commercial value of your invention. Do this before you begin preparing your proposals and presenting to investors. 

    • Marketplace Intelligence – Begin by researching your intended market including existing products and services to determine where your invention fits in. What gaps in the market are your product serving? Create a database of all similar type products, company data on who is producing and retailing, and distribution channels. 
    • Focus Groups – Experiment with customer focus groups using friends, family, or neighbors that match the target customer demographic for your product. Reports of these groups’ reactions and feedback will be an excellent addition to your investor presentation.  
    • Legal Research – Do some initial (free) market research on the patentability of your business idea. Start with a patent search on the government website here This will an overview of patent grants. 
      • KNOW that patent law is very complex and often a quick (untrained) search will often not give you all of the information you need. I recommend that serious investors hire reasonably priced (under $200 at Legalzoom) professional attorneys to do an initial patent search. This will save you tons of time and hassle. You need to know if there are other similar patents granted presently. It is surprising how inexpensive this can be and how much good information can be obtained. 
      • PLUS including a professionally prepared patent search in your pitch presentation will impress investors. It shows that you are serious and will answer many of their questions and objections to your product licensing proposal. 
      • For less than a cheap television set, you can get a “patent pending” designation from the US government. These two small words “patent pending” will be gold when you negotiate licensing agreements. 
    • Manufacturing Production – Take time to research the production process that your invention will require to bring to market. This information is an important section of your proposal. Also, you may identify potential investors or partners during this research phase. You may also find out this information during your product prototype process.
    Product prototype of business product idea

    Note on Product Prototypes 

    While creating a product prototype can be a powerful persuader to potential investors, it is NOT required to sell your invention. What IS critical is the research on how a product will be manufactured.

    Sure professionally crafted 3D prototypes are cool but they are also expensive and take a long time to create.  Effective product prototypes can take many forms. One of the best product prototypes I created for my business was a handmade bottle of skincare moisturizer. 

    You see,  I wanted to test my business ideas of expanding my existing cosmetic line into men’s products. So I handcrafted a few samples of proposed products and presented them for sale at our annual trade show. Then I took orders for future delivery. At the end of the show I could easily gauge the interest from my market buyers.  Yes they loved it Thus my $20 handmade prototype generated thousands in profits.  

    Step Two Prepare Proposal 

    how to present business idea to sell company

    Now that you’ve gathered all the research information from the bark including market research, focus groups, and production processes, it is time to prepare a professional presentation for companies investors. 

    While a product prototype, functioning or not, can be an asset a professional presentation is the most important.

    I recommend a short succinct document of up to 2 pages that clearly states the necessary information detailed below.

    Make the document easy to scan and understand for non-technical readers who are unfamiliar with your invention. Make liberal use of charts diagrams and images to visually communicate important points. 

    Your products features and benefits 

    There is a distinct difference between a feature and a benefit. A feature is something that is intrinsic about the idea i.e. that it is blue that it is made of plastic that it is 6 inches tall.

    While a benefit is a more important value proposition of what the idea or service gives to the end-user.


    Solution your product provides 

    This is a critically important point that many people forget. You must discuss the exact problem that your product or service solves which will allow your investors to understand the need for your product to come to market. 

    Market demographics 

    Detail the market demographics of your target customer, age, gender, location, lifestyle, buying habits and hobbies to create a customer persona. 

    Legal status of your idea

    Add details about the current legal status of your product. What patent and trademark searches have been conducted either by yourself or professionals. What were the results of those findings? Do you have a patent-pending or provisional patent? Remember for a few hundred dollars you can get “patent pending” on your invention at Legalzoom.

    Also, write a cover letter to introduce your proposal and yourself and your professional qualifications to investors. 

    Step Three Pitch Investors 

    Now that you’ve done your research and prepared your presentation you are ready to start contacting prospective buyers. But first you will need to find them! Here is how to create a list of prospective investors or licensees (buyers of your product invention license rights). 

    Of course, just like all sales processes this is a numbers game. The more contacts you put in your database the more success you are likely to achieve. 

    I suggest that you begin with at least 100 prospective targets. Please Don’t just come up with two or three companies – you think will be perfect – and contact only them. You are very likely to be disappointed. Successful entrepreneurs cast a wide net to get more investor fishies. 

    How to Find Prospective Licensee Companies 

    • Shop retail stores – if your invention is a consumer product go to the related marketplace stores and look at similar products and take note of the manufacturers, distributors and retailers. All are possible buyers of your business idea. 
    •  Browse online stores – search online stores and jot down manufacturers and companies that could be a good fit for your invention license. 
    •  Find trade associations – explore industry trade associations for your product categories and get names and contacts from many firms from one source.  Find your related trade associations here. 
    • Attend trade shows –   Visit industry trade shows to meet prospective buyers (and research competitors). If you are unable to travel to trade shows, simply go to the show website and access the list of exhibitors. Check out this list of trade shows by industry 
    •  Visit your local library – most libraries have links to professional databases that will allow you to search industries and obtain lists of companies and executive contacts. 
    •  Online industry databases – visit top industrial databases such as Hoovers and Thomas Net that list large companies that could be interested in your inventions. 
    • Manufacturer’s representatives – these are the firms that represent many companies and could be a good source of connections. Look through the manufacturer representative directory here
    • Distributors and brokers – these firms also have connections with many companies that could be your ticket to licensing deals. 
    •  Linked in and social networks – Search in social media sites for company on Linkin and other social media sites. Use keywords related to your product idea. 
    • Import export firms – these companies work with domestic and international firms that could be a good fit to bring your product idea to market. 
    • Industry forums – join online forums related to your industry and look for active posters and profiles of possible business partnerships. 

    Refine Your Target Database 

    Now that you’ve got at least 100 possible buyers, using the techniques listed above, let’s start to refine your list. Prioritise your list into the best prospects to start your campaign. Start contacting companies in the order below: 

    Large Companies 

    These firms have excellent distribution channels and the needed capital to consider outside product submissions. Many of them also have formalised submission processes. Here are the top 100 global licensors.   

    Smaller companies

    Small companies can often be excellent targets because they do not have in-house inventors and are often looking for ways to expand their market. 

    Local firms 

    You have the advantage of proximity plus possible contacts through friends, family or neighbours which will allow you to set up in person meetings which can prove extremely profitable. 

    Similar products 

    Companies with similar products to your invention are a good bet because they may be interested in expanding their line. Your invention could be their perfect next product launch. 

    Make a Deal 

    You now have everything in place to get busy selling your business idea!  

    Next learn about industry standards for licensing agreements and payments.

    Add note about negotiation here 

     Begin by negotiating a deal that is a win-win for both you and the manufacturer. In many cases, this could be the beginning of a long term partnership. You will continue to develop new inventions and this manufacturer may continue to purchase them. 

    My father had a 20-year long business licensing relationship. He was a graphic artist and would design products that this company would manufacture and sell paying him royalties. 

    Four Main Parts of Payment Licensing Agreement

    Upfront payment 

    This is the assignment of rights payment that is paid at the beginning of the contract. Most cases it is an outright payment but also could take the form of an advance against future royalties. Most upfront payments cover the cost of patent searches and filing. 

    Product royalties 

    These are ongoing payments that are made to the product inventor or business idea generator based on a percentage of the product sales. The average royalty ranges from 2% to 5%. This means that you will be paid 5% of the wholesale price of each unit sold. Note I said the wholesale price not the retail price. Which means that if a product is sold for $100 in a retail store the wholesale price is likely $50 and that is the amount that will be used to calculate your royalty payment. 

    Royalty payments are absolutely the most important part of your licensing negotiation. This is because they are ongoing and directly relate to product sales. You get the advantage of ongoing income and the manufacturer has the advantage of paying you only when the products sell.

    When I sold my cosmetic company I negotiated a profitable royalty deal in addition to an upfront payment. I accepted a lower upfront payment for a higher royalty fee. This worked out very well in the long-run because the cosmetic line is still selling well a decade later – and I continue to receive royalties.

    Annual Minimum 

    This is a part of the contract that requires the buyer to pay the inventor a minimum amount of royalties annually regardless of the amount of product sales generated.

    This is an important element in your contract because it incentivises the manufacturer to promote the product adequately ensuring strong sales. 


    Most manufacturers will request exclusive rights to your product internationally. You can negotiate this country by country as you deem appropriate. 

    Specific Industry Tips

    How to Sell Your Board Game Idea

    An expert in board game licensing, Scott Morris is the President of Passport Game Studios, a board game publisher based in the United States recommends that creators create a video of their game in action.

    A short action-packed video showing how to play your game, what is in the box and player experiences will impress and excite investors and retailers about your cool new board game idea.

    Contact the top board game distributors in the USA:

    1. Alliance Games
    2. PHD Games
    3. Southern Hobby
    4. ACD Distribution
    5. GTD Distribution

    More great tips on how to sell your board game to a publisher here

    Small business ideas

    YouTube Video

    The post Sell Your Business Idea to Investors or a Company: Step by Step appeared first on Best4Businesses.com.

    Calculate Startup Costs: What It Costs to Start a Business

    Entrepreneurs, are you researching startup costs for your next venture? As a successful business owner, let me help you and share some important tips so you can avoid the mistakes I made in my first business! Let’s get busy calculating your startup costs together. Two Phases of Startup Costs – Setup and Operational First, you [...] The post Calculate Startup Costs: What It Costs to Start a Business appeared first on...

    business startup cost calculator and tips

    Entrepreneurs, are you researching startup costs for your next venture? As a successful business owner, let me help you and share some important tips so you can avoid the mistakes I made in my first business!

    Let’s get busy calculating your startup costs together.

    Two Phases of Startup Costs – Setup and Operational

    First, you need to know that there are two distinct types of costs, those you will incur as you set up your company and those that will continue to be expensed as you operate.

    Set Up Costs

    One time investment to open your store or launch your website includes such items as legal business formation, building renovations, and manufacturing equipment. 

    These are easier to calculate. You will research each item and simply add up the list for your total set up costs.

    Learn more in my guide: How to Start Your Small Business Legally – Important Legal Requirements

    Operational Costs

    Ongoing expenses to continue business operations including rent, supplies, employee salaries – and most importantly working capital. Keep reading to the next section for how to quickly and easily calculate your business working capital needs.

    These costs are more difficult to calculate because they have many more variables. As your sales increase so will your labor and material needs.

    Startup Costs Calculator Worksheet

    Use this interactive worksheet from the SBA government website to quickly determine your rough costs. Enter your expenses and it will automatically figure out your total funds required to start your business.

    I like using this free template because it prompts you with a list of common startup cost expenses, so you don’t forget some expense categories.

    Below I detail each category and give you my tips on how to best figure out your capital startup needs.

    Get your business start-up costs worksheet pdf FREE!

    Location Costs

    All businesses are headquartered in a particular location- physical or virtual. This location could be a brick and mortar store,  manufacturing  warehouse, business office or a virtual location such as an e-commerce website or your telephone. Begin by calculating the costs of these locations. 

    Costs to include are rent, security deposits, building permit fees, construction, website development and retail store display shelving. 

    Most locations have some form of the monthly fee that needs to be budgeted also:

    An e-commerce website has monthly payments to software (such as my recommendation Shopify) or web host (I like BlueHost for their easy startup and cheap price)  

    Learn more in my articles about what it costs to start an online store and what it costs to maintain a website monthly here.

    Brick and mortar locations have monthly rent payments including other utility payments such as grounds maintenance, common area fees, and utilities such as electric, internet, telephone plus heating, and cooling costs. Also figure in the necessary furniture to make your company operational which could include desks, shelves, conference tables and chairs. 

    Technology costs such as computers, telephones and internet servers also need to be considered. Be sure also to set aside monies for the inevitable computer repair and replacement. 

    Other business services needed on an ongoing basis could include bookkeeping, legal plans (I like Legalzoom’s surprising affordable business legal plans ), IT technical support, cleaning staff, and website maintenance.

    startup costs
    Check out my list of restaurant startup costs here

    Low Startup Costs Average

    According to the US Small Business Administration, most small businesses get off the ground for less than $5,000.  

    This surprisingly low start-up cost is due to two very successful small business models: the home-based sole proprietorship and the home-based franchise.  Here are my best home business ideas.

    The key to both of these is to limit startup costs by initially working out of your home. As a large percentage of businesses move away from physical locations and inventories, this is an increasingly viable option for many entrepreneurs.

    Check out my list of the top low startup cost business ideas

    Smart Startup Cost Tips

    Start Small

    Many serial entrepreneurs endure one or multiple failures before enjoying their first success.  It’s important not to expend a potentially crippling amount of resources before you have verified that there is a market for your new product or service.

     Test market your new enterprise in a controlled setting and don’t be afraid to move on if there is little interest.

    Know Your Break-Even Point

    Every business has a break-even point.  This is the bare minimum of revenue needed to begin turning a profit.  Generally, the higher your fixed costs, the higher your break-even point.  

    If you are able to operate your business from home with a minimum of expenses, your break-even point may be very low.  This is optimum for the ‘small start’ method I recommend to first-time entrepreneurs.

    FAQ: How long does it take from startup idea to business launch?

    Employee Costs

    You will need to determine your labor needs and the associated costs. How many employees do you need? What are their hours? What is the average hourly wage of these types of employees? 

    The SBA reports that for every new employee that you add to your payroll it will cost up to 1.4X their salary in tax and other fees. Other associated labor costs include health insurance, recruiting fees, classified ads, employment agencies, payroll services, training, uniforms and taxes. Read more at the SBA website

    Here is where you will add in your moderate salary as the manager of the company into your startup budget. 

    Product and service fees 

    Next calculate by researching prices  for the various items you will need to deliver your products or services. In the case of products you will want to source vendors for your inventory or raw materials, components and packaging.  

    If you are offering a service there are also associated costs such as the price of textbooks if you are a language tutor for the costs of pressure washing equipment (and soap!)  if you are offering power washing services. 

    Add in your advertising and marketing costs here. You will have an initial cost for website setup, logo development and launch ads. Then you will have an cost for continuing promotions and marketing activities. It is wise to expect to spend approximately 10% of gross sales on marketing. This means that if you estimate sales of $10,000 monthly, budget $1,000 for ads and promotions.

    Want to open a store? Read my guide to startup costs for retail stores here

    Special note on equipment 

    I strongly recommend that you consider starting your business with used equipment (that is serviceable), with warranties if possible, as opposed to buying brand-new. You will save tons of money which will be better spent on marketing your new business yielding a higher return on investment.  When I started my cosmetic business I bought a used steam jacket mixer to blend body lotions that had previously made donuts! 

    This same applies to vehicles. I know it is tempting to buy a new vehicle to start a new business, however, it is a grave mistake. 

    Car lots are filled with late model trucks from guys (and gals) who bought a new vehicle and started a new business but could not make the payments. Instead use a serviceable vehicle (perhaps one of those gently used ones from overspending entreprepreneurs) and invest the difference in promotion and your business will grow stronger. 

    Administrative Costs

    Don’t forget to include the necessary admin costs of billing your customers, collecting payments, accounting software, credit card fees and monthly bank account charges. 

    Working Capital 

    Working capital is undoubtedly the most important start-up expenses you will calculate and sadly for many failed businesses it is one they calculated incorrectly. 

    Working capital is the amount of money you need to KEEP in your business to pay for bills and ongoing expenses while you are waiting for customers to pay you or credit card payments to be deposited.  Textbooks will explain it as the difference between Current Assets and Current Liabilities = Working Capital. But, for most business owners that definition is a bit confusing and not helpful. We need to focus on cash flow.

    An excellent rule of thumb for adequate working capital / cash flow is to keep three times 3X the amount of monthly spending in the bank at all times. This means that if your firm spends $10,000 a month total(rent, salary, inventory, services) you should have a minimum of $30,000 in working capital in your liquid bank account.  

    So to quickly calculate your working capital needs in your startup budget, add up all your monthly expenses and multiply by 3. 

    In small business – Cash is King.  Maintaining adequate capital in the form of cash flow will keep your small business doors open.  Lack of working capital is the number one reason why businesses fail. Check out this practical cash flow advice from two seasoned entrepreneurs. 

    Startup Costs by Industry

    My readers have requested detailed lists of startup costs for specific industries, so I compiled these articles below: 

    Startup costs to open a retail store

    Startup costs to open an online store

    Startup costs to open a restaurant

    Costs to open a bakery

    Startup costs to start a lawn care business

    Startup costs to start a dog kennel

    Startup costs to open a laundromat

    starting a landscaping lawn care business
    Ready to start your lawn care business?
    First, read my list of startup costs for landscaping companies here

    Tax Deduction and Depreciation

    Because small business is an important driver of the local, regional, and national economy, the government engineers tax code to benefit the entrepreneur.  

    Generally, expenses related to opening a new business are tax-deductible, either in the first year or amortized over the first few years of operation.

    Read more in my list of startup expenses that are tax deductable here.

    While capital expenditures cannot be deducted, they can sometimes be written off your taxes through the process of depreciation.  

    Startup financing for new business

    The post Calculate Startup Costs: What It Costs to Start a Business appeared first on Best4Businesses.com.

    How Much It Costs for a Website – Design, Hosting and Monthly Maintenance

    There are several ways to get information out to a target audience online. If one is an entrepreneur or business owner, then realizing that a website is required is very real indeed. Or rather, it isn’t much of a decision at all.   One of the first questions that come to mind is how much it [...] The post How Much It Costs for a Website – Design, Hosting and Monthly Maintenance appeared first on...

    cost for website design and development

    There are several ways to get information out to a target audience online. If one is an entrepreneur or business owner, then realizing that a website is required is very real indeed. Or rather, it isn’t much of a decision at all.  

    One of the first questions that come to mind is how much it costs for a website for those new to building sites. Well, wonder no more because we’ve come to shed some light on the dark: website creation’s real cost.

    The cost of a website can vary dramatically. Ten major contributing factors affect the overall cost of the website.

    1. What does the domain cost?
    2. How will the website be hosted?
    3. What type of website?
    4. What size of the website?
    5. What platform will the website use?
    6. What are the add-on fees?
    7. How will the website be designed?
    8. How will the website be setup?
    9. How will the website be launched?
    10. What will be needed to maintain the website?

    Naming Tips: How to Come Up with a Catchy Business Name

    Domain Types and Cost

    Domains are at the root of every website. The domain can convey a brand message and be short, memorable, and offer information either of the brand name or the industry. For example, we all know about Facebook. The primary domain for Facebook is facebook.com. It is a secure domain for brand recognition.

    For many smaller businesses that do not have the marketing budget or strategy to grow nationally or internationally like Facebook, using a local approach is sometimes much more effective.

    An excellent example of a domain using both brand, location, and the industry is Scott’s Flowers in New York City. The domain this company has chosen is scottsflowersnyc.com. This domain conveys three pieces of information – brand, industry, and location.

    Domains come in all forms of sizes and words. Anything one could come up with can be a domain. However, there are extensions to consider.

    Depending on where the business operates, one might want to consider either a localized country domain extension or a more generic non-locational extension.

    For example, the website Facebook has chosen an extension of .com (facebook.com). It is a generic top-level domain extension, highly recognized as being a website address.

    The original top-level domain extensions are com, us, edu, gov, mil, and net. These domains, first established in January of 1985, are top-level.

    For many organizations and non-profits, using a .org extension is preferred. It is the case with Wikipedia, whose primary domain is wikipedia.org.

    Choosing a top-level domain like .com or .net will be a small business best bet for website address recognition. However, these domains have their problems.

    First, top-level domains are hard to come by for generic word combinations. There are billions of websites, and each needs its domain. The scramble to get top-level domains with common words and word combinations is over two decades deep.  

    It is not uncommon to find a .com domain selling for thousands of dollars. So, depending on the domain name you want, what is available and whether it is a top-level domain or a second or third-tier domain extension will all play into the cost of a domain for your website.

    A typical top-level domain can cost anywhere from $30 to $10,000 or more.

    A typical lower-level domain can cost anywhere from ‘free with hosting’ to $100 or more, depending on the popularity of the word or word combinations and the popularity of the extension.

    Annual domain fees run from $10 to $100 per year to re-register. Costs are often lower if one purchases multi-year registration.

    Hosting Types and Costs

    In a moment, we will get into the type of website that is needed. It can play a role in where one gets hosting for the site. But what is hosting? And what are the costs involved?

    Depending on the type of website, you may want to consider different hosts. Hosting is the service of holding the files that make a website and serving them up to the world via the internet.

    Hosting can be locally run on a physical server that you have in your business, as many companies do. It involves purchasing a server ($500-$10,000 or more depending on specifications) and commercial-grade internet service.

    Many companies do this, but with modern cloud-based technology, many businesses turn to cloud-based hosting solutions instead.

    Hosting a website has many variables that determine the costs. For the average non-techy, hosting can be quite daunting to decide which is best for your website. Let’s break down the basic types of hosting.


    • As mentioned previously, this requires a physical server is set up and run by the business.

    Self-Hosting Costs 

    • Required: Server, server software, professional setup, installation, maintenance – $1,000 – $20,000

    Shared Hosting 

    • Paying an outside service provider who serves websites on a massive server also serves many other sites.
    • Cheapest hosting solution
    • Not as fast or reliable as dedicated
    • Sometimes includes CDN service

    Shared Hosting Costs

    • From $5 to $250 per month. 

    Dedicated Hosting 

    • Paying an outside service provider who serves websites on dedicated servers that are ‘rented’ to the website owner paying for the service
    • More expensive than shared but faster and more reliable
    • Can often handle higher traffic levels than shared hosting
    • Often includes CDN service

    Dedicated Hosting Costs

    • From $30 to $1,500 per month or more depending on requirements.

    CDNs a.k.a. Content Delivery Networks – paying an outside service provider to serve a website on a collection of servers known as a CDN. These servers are often located in multiple states and countries to provide the website to the world as fast as possible.  

    There are several other types of hosting as well, but these are the most commonly used forms. Some include CDN, and some do not. Usually, the more expensive hosting providers include CDN service in their monthly plans. Also, many providers apply a discount if one chooses to pay annually instead of monthly.

    Type of Website

    So, we discussed the hosting types and costs, but the kind of website may have a significant contribution to deciding where to host a site.  

    For example, if the required website is going to be an e-commerce store, then one might be exclusively looking to use the Shopify platform. If the website is going to be a portfolio for an artist, then perhaps a WordPress website would best suit the project. Or, if the site is for web development or programming firm, then it is likely that the site would be a static site hosted in-house.

    Therefore, the type of website plays a significant role in affecting where and how to host a website. We’ll discuss more the host types relating to website type later in the platform costs.  

    Naming Tips: How to Come Up with a Catchy Business Name

    Size of Website

    The size of a website has an enormous role in affecting cost. Think of it just like publishing a book. The more complex and the more pages the book has, the more expensive writing, editing, and publishing will be.

    Luckily, most websites for entrepreneurs and small businesses are relatively low compared with sites like Wikipedia.

    However, depending on the type of site and the public’s intended interaction, a site can grow exponentially fast. It is often the case when a forum website starts on a new topic. For example, the forums for AI programmers have exploded in the last few years due to increased industry.

    If one is planning a fast-growing website due to including user-content, a site can grow much faster than initially expected.

    For the rest of us not creating a considerable user-content based site, the average size is between 5 and 50 pages for a new website.

    Depending on several factors, the cost will vary dramatically. For example, if one uses a platform like WordPress with a generic theme with pre-set templates, the design time may be minimal. For a fully custom site with heavy animations and graphics or a website rich in content, the setup time can considerably increase.

    To sum up, the size of a website plays a significant role in determining the site’s overall cost.

    Website Platform

    As we mentioned previously, the website type will play a role in determining the platform one chooses to use for the site.  

    There are many platforms to choose from if one is familiar with some of the more technical back-end of websites. For the rest of us, there are several commonly used platforms:

    1. Shopify
    2. Squarespace
    3. Weebly
    4. Wix
    5. WordPress


    WordPress is a content management system that makes it easy for non-technical people to create beautiful websites.  

    Many websites claim that because WordPress is a content management system and not a website builder that one will need to know how to code. It is not necessarily the case. With WordPress being quite popular (over 30% of the internet uses it), there is no shortage of builders and plugins to make it easy to set up. There is also no shortage of pre-designed themes to choose from, both free and premium versions.

    These facts make WordPress one of the most versatile website platforms on the internet. It’s no wonder many people use WordPress.  

    Just to clarify, there are two ‘WordPress’ that are on the internet. There are WordPress.org and WordPress.com. These are two different sites. WordPress.org is the home of the open-source CMS that anyone can download and use. WordPress.com is a web hosting company that uses WordPress CMS.

    WordPress.com offers hosting packages free for a simple site to $59 per month at the top-tier eCommerce level.


    Wix is a proprietary site-building system unless WordPress which is open-source. The difference is that if you had a server at home, you could download WordPress and use it on your computer to build a WordPress based website. Wix is not downloadable, nor is it open-source, so one could not just download it as one could with WordPress.

    Again, this sort of thing comes down to your technical abilities with websites. It also means that one is constrained by what Wix will allow you to control on your site.

    Wix has cashed in because most people need an easy way to build websites. After all, most people are not web developers or programmers.

    Wix offers hosting packages from $5 to $29 per month on its top-tier website plans and from $20 to $35 per month for their business plans.


    Weebly is another similar system to Wix. Again it is not open-source like WordPress but is a proprietary site-building solution. The intent is for use by the non-technical individual, and one is limited by what Weebly will allow in terms of site control. And although the sites created with WordPress are likely more complex, Weebly is a simple and easy to use solution.

    With packages ranging from $0 to $30 per month, Weebly is an affordable and simple website solution.


    Another proprietary website builder, Squarespace, started in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2003. WordPress also started in the same year, so these two website platforms competed for nearly two decades.

    Squarespace is relatively easy to use, and although one does not require knowledge of coding, like WordPress, the option to use code is present if desired.

    Squarespace offers website solutions from $12 to $46 per month. Annual payment plans offer slight discounts as well.


    The Shopify platform, dedicated to eCommerce solutions for business, has dominated the eCommerce industry. The platform started in 2004, so it is just slightly younger than WordPress.  

    Shopify uses it’s own proprietary system, much like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. The platform is sophisticated and can be a bit tough to learn all the facets of, but allows for excellent control over the design and every aspect of the website.

    Although Shopify has faced significant setbacks trying to implement its platform in other countries, it is a top choice for hosting eCommerce websites in the United States.

    Shopify offers its hosting plans starting at $29 per month and going up to $299 per month for their advanced plan with premium features.

    What are the add-on fees?

    We’ve all been annoyed at some point or another by discovering a hidden fee. Well, one should not believe that web hosting is any different. Each platform has its version of extra costs for your website, which might be needed.

    Many add-on features are simply eye candy made to entice the website owner to give some of their monthly income to the add-on seller.

    There are some positives to add-ons, to counter the negative of adding on costs. For example, WordPress is notorious for having multiple fees involved with the different add-ons. Let’s take a look at some of these add-ons.

    Premium Themes

    With WordPress, there is a never-ending supply of new themes coming out. And there are several popular themes that many have grown accustomed to using.  

    Each theme has its level of design and functional abilities. Most themes offered are in tiers with typically a simple free tier and a premium tier offering extended features.  

    Premium themes can cost between $50 to $250 per year or more. Some themes have lifetime costs also, but most are annual payments.

    Premium Plugins

    Similar to the themes, WordPress has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of add-on plugins for various functions. Some are required to turn your WordPress website into an eCommerce store. Some are needed to help speed up your site. If one can think of something desired for a WordPress website, chances are there is a plugin for that.

    Premium plugins can cost anywhere from $5 to $250 or more, depending on their popularity, ability, and many other factors.

    One should also keep in consideration that many websites use multiple premium plugins. It is not uncommon for a website to have as many as ten or more premium plugins for various functions.

    It means that a site could have $50 to $2,500 or more in plugin costs. And most plugins are sold as an annual subscription so that these costs will be recurring.

    Naming Tips: How to Come Up with a Catchy Business Name

    Premium Site Builders

    Like the other platforms with proprietary builders instead of an open-source CMS like WordPress, there are site builders also available for WordPress. And like the themes and plugins, there are typically free tiers and paid tiers for the premium version.

    Premium site builders cost anywhere from $0 to $250 per year.

    Website Design Costs

    Assuming one is not using one of many available standard templates for their business, a web designer may be required.

    A web designer will design mock-ups of the to-be website using its branding, style, and pleasantly adding the functionality.  

    Costs for website design will vary greatly depending on the type of site, functions, and size.

    Basic responsive design services for a website cost between $2,500 and $12,000 or more for a more advanced and more extensive site.

    Website Setup Costs

    Website setup costs may be included, depending on which provider and the type of site one has chosen. However, in an eCommerce store, the products will all need to be input into the site. It includes any writing from copywriters or images from manufacturers or a hired photographer.

    All articles will need insertion, and depending on the platform, this can take quite some time to accomplish this part of the setup process.

    Essential publishing services for platforms like WordPress can cost anywhere from $20/hour to $100/hour or more if hiring a professional publishing firm. It is not uncommon for a new website to take between 40 and 120 hours to build. The cost would compute at a total between $800 and $12,000 or more, for a complete website setup.

    Website Launch: An Exciting Day or Expense?

    No matter which platform one chooses, no matter which type of website created, there will be an official day when the site is ‘complete’ and ready for the public eye.

    Many businesses set aside some funds to accommodate an official launch for the website. It may be a local event for a local business, perhaps setting up a public barbecue fundraiser to promote the new website. Similarly, it could be a radio or even television commercial used to help support the new site and start traffic off on a healthy first foot.

    Whatever the launch one plans, it is likely going to cost some money.  Typical small business launch for a new website costs between $2,500 and $15,000.

    Monthly and Annual Website Maintenance Costs

    Building and setting up a website and maintaining a website are very different things. Regular maintenance can include several expenses, such as those listed below.

    • SEO – Search engine optimization is critical for any business website using search as a function to drive traffic and, thus, potential clients to the site. Many businesses hire or employ someone to monitor and continuously improve and correct content to increase search visibility.  The cost to hire a professional firm to manage SEO can be anywhere from $500 to $2,500 per month.
    • Marketing – If a business intends to use the website for more than just a placemat, it will need to consider a marketing budget. It can range from taking time to self-promote on social media, forums, and communities to pay a firm for advertising management. If time is money, then how much time one spends at a specific pay rate will determine the cost. However, hiring out marketing could be any of the following
      • PPC (Pay per click)
      • Email marketing
      • Social media marketing
      • Targeted ads

    The final cost of each form of marketing can be determined by the industry, difficulty, and many other factors that will have roles to play in affecting the final price.  However, for a small business, a website’s marketing budget could be anywhere from $250 to $20,000 per month or more.

    • Content Production – Depending on your website type and strategy, you may need to be entering new products or adding new posts each month. If you are selling products, you may need to pay for copywriting services to add to the product pages. If you include articles, you will need to pay writers to add content to your website. A professional writing firm will cost between $200 and $500 for 1000 words of the original copy.  Expect to pay between $500 and $5,000 per month or more for content for a growing site, if one doesn’t hire in house personnel to make the content.
    • Editing Content – Assuming a business made a lot of the original content themselves, or even paid some amateur writers to help build up the content on your site, it is likely that things will need to editing.  A professional editor can cost anywhere from $200 to $4,000 or more to edit a small to medium website. These services are usually charged by the word or by the hour.
    • Updating Content – Overtime content will need to be updated. For an eCommerce site, products will change, new products require addition, old products removed, and new models of products will need to be talked about and sold. In the case of a more content-driven site, perhaps a service company with an active blog, the older articles will need to be updated as a part of the SEO process. After all, search engines love fresh content and updated more past articles is a great way to keep them relevant. This endeavor is essential in industries where technology is rapidly changing. This process will require writers trained in SEO or a sound system in place for your SEO expert to show the writers what is needed and what not to change.  Content updating services range from $75/hr to $800 per hour or more for a specialist. One can expect to have up to 20 hours per month or more of this work for a new site after the first year.
    • Management and Strategy – As time progresses and the ebb and flow of industry carry on, there will need to be to alter or adjust the website’s management and business strategy. It will cost money like anything else. Typically, businesses like to leave this in their marketing and SEO teams, but some pay for outside help.

    Professional enterprise-level management maintenance plans from specialized firms’ costs start at $1,500 per month.

    Website Cost Summary

    We’ve talked about domains and website hosting. Website platforms and add-ons have been addressed. We’ve talked about design, content, and ongoing maintenance. But, we haven’t mentioned a few things like paying extra for domain privacy, an additional fee for hosting side malware scan and removal, or the plethora of extras advertised at each website host.

    For this, we have added a bit of cost to the list. These may not be entirely required, but it’s good to practice to account for a little extra.

    One other cost to note is that a computer is required for a business to have a website. Whether it’s a server to self-host or a laptop or desktop to check, add, edit, and update the website hosted by a hosting provider. Either way, the computer will be required. Most people have one already, but we have included an extra $2500 in the extras to account for a new computer.

    Initial Costs

    Domain – $30 – $10,000+

    Hosting – $0 – $18,000

    Potential Addons 

    • Themes – $0 – $250
    • Plugins – $50 – $2,500
    • Site Builders – $0 – $250

    Website Design – $2,500 – $12,000

    Initial Website Setup – $800 – $12,000

    Website Launch Event – $2,500 – $12,000

    Extras – (security, computer(s), unforeseen expenses) – $4,000 – $10,000

    Website Initial Cost Summary Totals

    $9,880 – $77,000

    These totals make a few assumptions. First, on the high end of things, it is assumed that the site owner is paying someone else for every aspect of the website. The vendors chosen are on the expensive side of the industry.

    On the opposite side, two major assumptions affect the cost. First, assumptions are made that the business owner actively does most of the work to the site themselves. Secondly, there is a big assumption when it comes to extras. The extras include unforeseen issues in the first year, including proper and legal privacy policy and other expenses which may not be included but could quickly become an additional expense. If these unforeseen issues do not arise, and if a new computer or equipment is not required, the initial cost could be as low as a few thousand dollars for a small business.

    Ongoing Costs

    Domain – $10 – $100+ per year

    Hosting – $0 – 1,500 per month

    Themes – $50 – $250 per year

    Potential Addons 

    • Themes – $0 – $250 per year
    • Plugins – $50 – $2,500 per year
    • Site Builders – $0 – $250 per year

    SEO – $500 – $2,500+ per month

    Marketing – $250 – $20,000+ per month

    Content Production – $500 – $5,000+ per month

    Content Editing – $200 – $4,000+ per month

    Content Updating (after year 1) – $1,500 – $16,000+ per month

    Site Management – $1,500 – $10,000+ per month

    Naming Tips: How to Come Up with a Catchy Business Name

    Website Ongoing Costs Summary 

    These assumed costs are quite variable depending on the ability of the website owner. Some small businesses don’t spend much on changing their website, and it may stay ‘stale’ for years before the business owner has decided to update things.

    With technology and design changing so rapidly, the more responsive a website design is, the more it may require updates for not only security but also to improve performance.

    If there is any money exchanged on the website, there will be more required to maintain security and updates than on a site that does not transfer money.

    As well, it is not uncommon for eCommerce websites to have substantially higher monthly maintenance than a standard service business company website, for example. Therefore, the type of business performed on the site, and the website’s intent play significant factors in determining upkeep and maintenance requirements and costs.

    A Note On Extra Costs

    Another note about extras is that a situation can occur with website creation known by many as the rabbit hole effect.

    The rabbit hole effect can cost a lot of money. Here is how the rabbit hole effect works. Let us assume that one is at the design stage of the website. If one is paying a designer on an hourly basis, the more one changes their mind, the more time it will take to get things right.

    If one gets drawn into minor design decisions, it can draw out the site build process by sometimes as much as weeks or even months.

    The rabbit hole effect occurs most when small businesses or entrepreneurs go into the process without a clear vision of what they want the end product to look like and how they want it to function.

    Making significant decisions about function or design in the middle of a website creation process can cripple the process budget. It can send things down a rabbit hole that the business owner surely does not want to be burdened with the financial obligation. Also, it can drive the involved vendors quite mad as well.

    The point here is to make sure that one has a clear and concise plan for the site before jumping in with both feet and an open wallet. A well thought out plan can save thousands of dollars.

    Be sure to read my guide on how to calculate startup costs for your business here


    1. “Generic top-level domain” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_top-level_domain, Accessed July 9, 2020.
    2. WordPress – Pricing, https://wordpress.com/pricing/, Accessed July 9, 2020.
    3. Wix – Pricing, https://www.wix.com/upgrade/website#/, Accessed July 9, 2020.
    4. Weebly – Pricing, https://www.weebly.com/ca/pricing, Accessed July 9, 2020.
    5. Squarespace – Pricing, https://www.squarespace.com/pricing, Accessed July 9, 2020.
    6. Shopify – Pricing, https://www.shopify.com/pricing, Accessed July 9, 2020.
    7. Liquid Web – Hosting Plans, https://www.liquidweb.com/products/, Accessed July 9, 2020.
    8. Media Temple – Web Hosting, https://mediatemple.net/webhosting, Accessed July 9, 2020.

    The post How Much It Costs for a Website – Design, Hosting and Monthly Maintenance appeared first on Best4Businesses.com.

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