How to Start a Business In Idaho: The Ultimate Guide, Step-by-Step

Idaho might not be the best place to start a business in the U.S, but it’s definitely a business-friendly state. Idaho sits as the 18th best place to start a business in the country, and, we’d be discussing how to start a business in Idaho.

The article will pay detailed attention to all the necessary steps an entrepreneur must take in his or her journey to becoming a business owner in the state of Idaho.

What this means is that we’d be looking at the trending businesses in Idaho, the cost of starting some of these businesses, regulations about them, and much more.

158,426 small businesses operate in Idaho at the moment, which is 99.2% of businesses in the state. 304,700 Idaho residents are employed by small businesses, and this forms 55.8% of the state’s total workforce.

Facts About Idaho

Idaho is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States of America. As the 14th largest state in the U.S, Idaho has a population of approximately 1.7 million people scattered over 83,570 square miles.

The origin of the name Idaho continues to puzzle visitors and Idaho residents alike – It’s rumored that came from the Apache word “idaahe”, meaning enemy.

Some other people are of the opinion that it’s a Nez Perce phrase that translates to “land of many waters”.

However, Lobbyist George Willing who was among the first to use the name eventually copped that the name Idaho was totally made up by him.

 In 1861, Idaho wasn’t even called Idaho. Originally, Congress dubbed the land the Colorado Territory. Idaho finally became a territory all its own in 1863 and became the 43rd state in 1890.

Idaho’s nickname is the Gem State. It is called the gem state because 72 different precious and semi-precious gemstones have been found in the state. One of these stones is the star garnet – this stone can only be found in two places, the other place is in India.

Additionally, the state is known for its potatoes. However, the famous crop (the potato) isn’t native to the area.

Idaho is among the Thirteen U.S. states split into two time zones. While the majority of the state’s area and population fall under Mountain Time, the area above the Salmon River is part of the Pacific Time Zone.

It’s actually very easy to spot out/identify a native from Idaho – all you need do is ask them to pronounce “Boise”. Natives and longtime residents tend to pronounce it “boy-see,” while outsiders usually say “boy-zee.”

Idaho state is also is known as the major supplier of trout in the United States.

More Facts About Idaho

Another fascinating fact about Idaho is that it’s home to the “Hells Canyon” river, which is 7,993 feet deep. This makes Hells Canyon the deepest river gorge in North America – deeper than the Grand Canyon which is only 6,000 feet deep.

Idaho’s Capitol building remains the only one in the U.S heated by geothermal energy. The heat emanates from the hot springs located 3,000 feet underground.

Additionally, Idaho’s state seal is also the only one in the U.S. designed by a woman. Emma Edwards Green entered a statewide competition for the honor in 1891 by using only her initials.

Idaho is home to the largest wildfire disaster in the history of the United States. The Great fire of Idaho occurred in 1910, and spanned three million acres, killing 87 people – five firefighters were among the victims.

Edward Pulaski was the hero of the Great Idaho Fire of 1910, and now has an ax named after him “Pulaski”.

He led firefighters to an abandoned prospect mine to fight off the fire at its mouth – a duty he carried out until he passed out. Five out of the 45 firefighters that went with him, unfortunately, could not make it home.

A year after the disaster, Pulaski combined an ax and an adze to create the perfect tool for building firebreaks.

If you’re on the road in Cottonwood, Idaho, you can spend the night at Dog Bark Park Inn, a bed and breakfast shaped like a giant beagle.

Or you can Sail from the Pacific Ocean to Idaho (or vice-versa) via the Snake and Columbia Rivers.

Why You Should Start A Business In Idaho

According to Idaho ranks in the top ten for GDP growth and net migration. Idaho’s sale tax is the 12th lowest in the nation, while its property tax is the 4th lowest.

The state’s startup early job creation rate is 6.10, good for 7th overall in the United States.

158,426 small businesses operate in Idaho, which is 99.2% of businesses in the state. 304,700 Idaho residents are employed by small businesses, a remarkable 55.8% of the state’s total workforce.

Idaho small businesses created 14,392 net jobs in 2015.

The health care and social assistance industry is the largest small business employer in the state, followed by accommodation and food services and retail trade.

Looking at these stats, one needs no further convincing as to why they should start a business in Idaho.

The “success stories” behind these numbers should be a major motivation to anyone still considering if they should do business in Idaho.

What Does It Cost To Start A Business in Idaho?

Depending on the kind of business, you might be spending some money starting your business in Idaho. For an LLC you might be filling for registration with nothing less than $100 if you’re doing it online, or $120 for filling it offline.

Meanwhile, if your business isn’t an LLC however, you might need to pay a certain fee to obtain certain licenses.

Nonetheless, the cost of starting a business is highly dependent on the kind of business you have in mind.

So to say, it defers from one business to the other, as there are factors to consider.

Some of those factors include – your location, the property you’d be renting, leasing, or buying to start the business, and of course if you need employees.

While you’re considering what businesses you should start up in Idaho, take a look at our trending business opportunities in Idaho. They are;

  • Grocery
  • Drive-In Movie Theater
  • Bank
  • Clothing Boutique
  • Car Repair Shop
  • Tow Truck Business
  • Candle Making
  • Nightclub
  • Car Dealership
  • Bottles Water
  • Security Guard
  • Convenience Store
  • Car Rental
  • Shoe Store
  • Micro-Lending Company

How to Start a Business In Idaho In 2022

If you’re convinced that you want to start a business in Idaho, then follow these steps…

#1: Choose A Business Idea

If you’re really convinced, then you need a business idea that can work in Idaho. We highlighted some of the trending business ideas in Idaho above.

If you have one already picked out, or the ones we talked about doesn’t fit into your plans, then get one that does and get started.

#2: Write Your Business Plan

This should be one of the things you’ve to put in place for your business. Don’t be among those that’d only write a business plan because they need funding.

Your business plan is a guide of what you expect to do in your business and how to go about achieving it. Therefore, you should have one.

It brings your business ideas into something tangible that can be followed to achieve your aims of starting the business in the first place.

If you can’t write one yourself, get someone to help you or learn how to by reading how to start a business plan.

#3: Select A Business Entity

Now you have your business idea and plan sorted, the next thing to do will be to get a business entity.

This simply means choosing the structure of your business.

Are you going to be a sole proprietor, or would you be needing partner(s) in the business, or is going to be an LLC or a corporation kind of business.

Determining the structure you want your business to have will enable know how you’d go about your funding and a lot more.

#4. Select A Business Model

This is very different from a business entity. It is an outline of how a company intends to make money with its product and customer base in a specific market.

Business models are important as they help you to identify what you’d be selling, whom you are selling to, and where and how to see those you’d be selling to.

There are numerous business models, and the important thing is that you choose one that best suits your business.

#5. Register A Business Name

This is what makes your business recognized as legal – registering it.

Registering an Idaho Assumed Name for Sole Proprietorships & General Partnerships

If you’re a sole proprietor or running a general partnership in Idaho and doing business under your full first and last name, you won’t need to fill it.

For example, if your name is Micheal Stones and you wish to operate with that name, you don’t need filling.

However, if you intend to use a fictitious business name like Micheal’s Petcare, Mr, Pet Care, etc., you will need to register an assumed name.

Registering an Idaho Business Name for a Corporation or LLC

As a corporation or an LLC, you can pick a name at the time of formation. This name has to be different from the other entities registered with the Idaho Secretary of State. 

However, registering your business name does not give it all the protection it needs. This means that another person can use the name, but however, they can’t register it with the Secretary of State.

To ensure no one else uses the name, you can;

Legally Protect Your Business Name

Get a trademark. This legally stops any other person from having to use the name(s), slogans, or logos related to your business.

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) manages the registration of trademarks.

Before you decide to trademark any name, ensure that no one else is using such a name as a business name.

You can also register to keep others from using the name of your business, product, or service.

#6: Get an EIN

This is the Employer Identification Number or EIN (sometimes referred to as the Federal Employer Identification Number or FEIN). It is a nine-digit tax identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

This number is to a business what an SSN is to an individual in the U.S. It identifies your business and is used for paying Payroll taxes, filing tax returns, and more.

Nevertheless, not all businesses need this number. Partnerships, corporations, and most LLCs OR sole proprietorships with employees MUST register for an EIN.

While Sole proprietorship or a single-member LLC with no employees is NOT required to get an EIN.

You can file an EIN through IRS website.

#7: Open a Business Bank Account

It’s important that you keep your business and personal account separate. This will help you track your business finances better.

To get a business account, you will need;

Trade Name Certificate, EIN or SSN, and the owner(s) driver’s license – for a Sole proprietorship & partnership.

Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, Certificate of Good Standing, EIN, and owner(s) drivers license – Corporation. And for an LLC;

Certificate of Organization, Operating Agreement, Certificate of Good Standing, EIN, and the owner(s) driver’s license.

#8. Apply For Business Licenses & Permits

Depending on what your business is, you will have to apply for certain business permits. These permits vary on the business activities and location.

Below are some of the common registrations you need:

Business Licenses – While the state of Idaho does not issue state business licenses, many cities in Idaho require one in order for businesses to operate.

Seller’s Permit: Businesses selling products and certain services will need to register for a seller’s Permit with the Idaho State Tax Commission.

Professional Licensing: If you’re a therapist, driving instructor, or collection agent, or operating any business that requires you have a license, you should get one.

However, the license isn’t for your business, but for you to be able to operate.

#9. Get Funds

If you don’t have the financial muscle to float your business, then you need to seek funding. This can be very difficult even for small businesses.

This is because there are different regulations and requirements you must meet up to access funds from some of these financial organizations.

#10. Hire Employees

This is necessary of course if your business needs employees. If It does, the onus falls on you to verify if the employee is eligible to work in the state.

You also have to register with multiple agencies and understand certain labor laws as it applies to your business.

Additionally, you have to take care of income tax withholding, unemployment insurance, unemployment taxes, and payroll withholding taxes, including Social Security and Medicare.

#11. Obtain Business Insurance

A lot of businesses shy away from this while starting their business, however, it is important to protect your business.

While most types of business insurance are optional, workers’ compensation is compulsory in most states. Some states will also require professional liability insurance for businesses offering certain services and commercial auto insurance.

Getting insurance will save you from the stress of paying out-of-pocket if a fire, theft, or personal injury lawsuit should ever come.

#12. Set Up an Accounting System

If you have what it takes to set up and run the accounting system, by all means, do. If however, you’re not a numbers person, then get someone to do the bookkeeping.

This will keep your business out of trouble with the IRS, and can also be used to track and monitor trends in the business and maximize profits.

Final Thoughts:

Starting a business In Idaho like anywhere else requires you to meet some regulatory and financial responsibilities. It needs much more than sheer determination and idea.

So, if you’ve got what it takes, then this guide will help you figure out the rest.

Therefore, get your business idea and plan ready, choose a business structure and model, roll up “those sleeves” and dig in!!

Good Luck



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