How to start a business in Montana: The Ultimate Guide, Step-by-Step

With Montanta ranking 30th among best states for business in the US, starting a business in the state shouldn’t be so upheveal a task. However, the limitation may just be how to start a business in Montana.

Whether you’re thinking of starting a fitness business, a food truck business, or something huge, this post answers all your specific concerns and inhibitions, even myths, about starting a business in Montana.

This step-by-step guide on how to start a business in Montana will prolly be your 2022 miracle. All you need do is read through meticulously and please, remember to go through the table of contents to get an overview of all juiciness this post will offer you.

What to Know About Montana?

Montana is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States. It is bordered by Idaho to the west; North Dakota and South Dakota to the east; Wyoming to the south; and by the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan to the north.

It is the fourth-largest state by area, the eighth-least populous state, and the third-least densely populated state. The western half of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges, while the eastern half is characterized by western prairie terrain and badlands, with more (albeit smaller) mountain ranges found throughout the state. In all, 77 named ranges are part of the Rocky Mountains.

Montana has no official nickname but several unofficial ones, most notably “Big Sky Country”, “The Treasure State”, “Land of the Shining Mountains”, and “The Last Best Place”.

Map of Montana, USA
How to start a business in Montana

What About Montana’s Economy?

According to Forbes, Montana’s economy held up better than most states during the economic downturn.

Furthermore, in 2020, unemployment in the state was expected to average 3.25%. This indicates that there is room for new private business owners to join the unemployed populace.

The economy is primarily based on agriculture, including ranching and cereal grain farming. Other significant economic resources include oil, gas, coal, mining, and lumber.  The health care, service, and government sectors also are significant to the state’s economy.

Industries in Montana?

Montana’s fastest-growing sector is tourism; nearly 13 million annual tourists visit Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Beartooth Highway, Flathead Lake, Big Sky Resort, and other attractions

Agriculture is a major employer in Montana with roughly two-thirds of the total land dedicated to farmland or agriculture. Startup activity is also high with the Kauffman Foundation ranking it eighth in the rate of new entrepreneurs.

High school attainment ranks 3rd highest in the U.S. Another plus: the fourth shortest commute times of any state, with a median of 18 minutes.

Montana offers new businesses a variety of benefits including a strong economic climate, growth prospects in the competitive national and international markets, lower business setup and operation costs, a variety of incentives, and many more.

Why You Should Start a Business in Montana

Here are a few reasons you should consider doing business in Montana.

Business Incentives

Montana offers several state and federal incentives, loans, grants, tax credits, etc., available to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Perfect environment for startups

With a plethora of entrepreneurs in Montana, the ground is super conducive for startups. This is so because of the healthy business-friendly system that compliments competition.

Tax benefits

Montana has instituted several tax benefits and incentives to help ease the burden on small business owners. New businesses operate tax-free if they’re located on or near certain universities in the state.

Also, the New Markets Tax Credit Program gives money to businesses and real estate developers to create jobs and foster community development in low-income neighborhoods throughout Montana State.

If you have good culinary skills you can Start a Food Business in Montana: follow our guide on how to Start a Food Truck Business.

Montana Fuels Innovation

At the local and state level, regulatory agencies provide support to existing and new businesses through access to capital for innovation and growth projects.

Exploring the benefits and knowing your reasons for wanting to start a business in Montana will help you stay motivated, even if you experience obstacles along the way. This motivation will make it easier to overcome any setbacks and scale your cleaning business to success. 

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Business in Montana?

To create your LLC in the state of Montana, you’ll need to file the Articles of Organization with the Montana Secretary of State and a filing fee of $100. If you file online, the fee is $95. To complete the documents, you’ll need to know the following information: The name and address of your LLC.

How to Start a Business in Montana- step-by-step Guide?

Here are the steps you need to take in starting your own business in Montana.

1. Self Determination

Be determined enough to take yourself and your business idea very seriously. Your success will largely depend on your ability to self-motivate and internal discipline.

Sure, you’ll feel like quitting at almost any stage, but hey, don’t you dare! Be determined enough to give yourself all the push you need to start.

When you’ve secured your stamina, move seamlessly to action 2.

2. Choose a Business Idea

The next step to business ownership is deciding what kind of business to start. Look for an idea that suits your interests, your personal goals, your natural abilities, skills, and the reason why you want to form the business.

You should also evaluate the likelihood of success based on the interests and needs of your community. This will help you stay motivated when the going gets tough and will greatly improve your odds of success.

3. Choose a Name

For LLCs and corporations, you will need to check that your name is distinguishable from the names of other business entities already on file with the Montana Secretary of State (SOS). You can check for available names by doing a business entity search on the SOS website. You can reserve an available name for up to 120 days by filing a Reservation of Name Application with the Montana SOS. Name reservations cannot be renewed to extend the reservation.

There are certain name requirements for LLCs and corporations (like including a word such as “LLC” for LLCs or “Company” for corporations).

Sole proprietorships and partnerships in Montana should file an Application for Registration of Assumed Business Name with the Montana SOS if they use a business name that is different from the names of the business owner (for a sole proprietorship) or individual partners (for a partnership).

If you plan on doing business online, you may want to register your business name as a domain name. In addition, to avoid trademark infringement issues, you should do a federal and state trademark check to make sure the name you want to use is not the same as or too similar to a name already in use.

The most common legal structures for a small business are:

  • sole proprietorship
  • partnership
  • limited liability company (LLC), and
  • corporation.

There also are special versions of some of these structures, such as limited partnerships and S corporations. You’ll want to consider which business entity structure offers the type of liability protection you want and the best tax, financing, and financial benefits for you and your business.

5. Plan Your Business

Successful businesses are founded, run and managed on meticulous planning.

To gain proper guidance through each stage of starting and managing your business, you need a business plan. It is a written description of your business’s future. it contains the goal of your business and tells what to plan to do and how you plan to do it.

When you create a plan, you will have a better idea of the startup costs, your competition, and strategies for making money. Investors and lenders will ask to review your business plan before providing financial assistance.

When planning your business, take into consideration the following:
  • Product Development: Carefully write out the problem your business will solve, and also what will set your product or service apart from the competition.
  • Sales & Marketing: Research who are your potential customers are and how you will get their attention and convert them into buyers.
  • People and Partnerships: What roles you will need to hire and what professional relationships you will need to form in order to succeed.
  • Financial Planning: The number of clientele or sales you will need in order to break even. How much money it will take to get there, and where how you will get the funding?

6. Create Your Business Entity

Sole proprietorship: To establish a sole proprietorship in Montana, you don’t need to file any organizational documents. More information can be gotten here.


To create a general partnership in Montana, you don’t need to file any organizational documents with the state. Although not legally required, all partnerships should have a written partnership agreement. The partnership agreement can be very helpful if there is ever a dispute among the partners.

To form a limited liability partnership(often used by professionals), you must file a Registration Form with the Montana SOS.


To create an LLC in Montana, you must file articles of organization with the Montana SOS. You will also need to appoint a registered agent in Montana for service of process. In addition, while not required by law, you also should prepare an operating agreement to establish the basic rules about how your LLC will operate. The operating agreement is not filed with the state.


To create a corporation in Montana, you must file articles of incorporation with the Montana SOS. You will also need to appoint a registered agent in Montana for service of process.

Although not legally required, you also should prepare bylaws to establish your corporation’s internal operating rules. Bylaws are not filed with the state. S Corporations must also file IRS Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation, with the IRS.

7. Licenses and Permits

Tax Registration. If you will have employees in Montana, you must register with the Montana Department of Revenue (DOR) for an employer withholding tax number. You can register online using the DOR’s Taxpayer Access Point (TAP) or on paper using Form GenReg, Registration/Application for Permit.


If your business has employees or is taxed separately from you, you must obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Even if you are not required to obtain an EIN, there are often business reasons for doing so.

Banks often require an EIN to open an account in the business’s name and other companies you do business with may require an EIN to process payments. You can get an EIN by completing an online application on the IRS website. There is no filing fee.

Regulatory licenses and permits:

These covers areas such as:

  • health and safety
  • the environment
  • building and construction; and
  • specific industries or services.

For regulatory licenses and permits issued by the state, check the Licenses section of the website. For information about local licenses and permits, check the websites for any cities or counties where you will do business.

Professional and occupational licenses:

These cover people who work in various fields. The Licenses section of the website has links to the licensing requirements for most professions.

8. Business Location and Zoning

You’ll need to pick a location for your business and check local zoning regulations. That includes if you work from home. You may be able to find zoning regulations for your town or city by checking

9. Taxes and Reporting

Montana taxes every kind of business. View Montana state business income tax for information on state business taxes in Montana.

Sole proprietorship:

 Pay state taxes on business income as part of their personal state income tax returns (Form 2).


Partners pay state taxes on partnership income on personal tax returns. In addition, most partnerships also must file Form PR-1Montana Partnership Information and Composite Tax Return.


Members pay state taxes on their share of LLC income on personal tax returns. In addition, the LLC itself must file an annual report with the Montana SOS. Montana LLC’s taxed as corporations for federal tax purposes must also file a state corporation tax return. See Montana LLC Annual Report and Tax Requirements for more information.


Shareholders must pay states taxes on their dividends from the corporation. A shareholder-employee with a salary also must pay state income tax on his or her personal state tax return. Moreover, the corporation itself is subject to Montana’s corporation license tax. Finally, corporations must file an annual report with the Montana SOS.

If you have employees, you must also deal with state employer taxes.

And, apart from Montana taxes, there are always federal income and employer taxes. Check IRS Publications 334, Tax Guide for Small Business, and 583, Taxpayers Starting a Business, available at

10. Insurance

Insurance is a good idea for most kinds of business. While insurance often is regulated at the state level, the types of business insurance available are usually similar across the fifty states. Check Obtaining Business Insurance for more information.

11. Create business banking and credit accounts

Using dedicated commercial bank and credit accounts is essential to protecting personal assets.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is known as piercing your company veil.

Additionally, when you learn how to build business credit, you can get credit cards and other finance on behalf of your business (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and much more.

There are two steps you can take to protect your business:

a. Opening a commercial bank account:
  • Separates your personal assets from the assets of your company that are necessary for the protection of personal assets.
  • Facilitates bookkeeping and tax returns.
b. Get a business credit card:
  • Helps you separate personal and business expenses.
  • Creates your company’s credit history, which can be useful for later raising capital (such as small business loans).

12. Join Professional-Associations

Joining professional organizations will give you a chance to network- you never know where a business lead will come from. So you have to be open to exchanging services with other professionals.

You also may be able to receive discounted insurance rates for being part of one of these organizations.

13. Create an Online or Social Media Presence

Creating an online presence that highlights the type of services you are offering is one of the best ways to attract potential clients in today’s world.

Social media can play a huge role in overcoming that industry problem by giving you an outlet to point out the good your company is doing. Remember, social media reviews are the new word of mouth.

What Type of Business Can I Start In Montana?

Startups in Montana create new business models, develop new industries, and also come up with ideas that positively transform the economy.

Moreover, any business idea can be great and successful if it’s solving a specific audience’s core problem and creating value.

Here is a list of small and mid-sized business ideas to start in Montana:

  • Food Delivery
  • Luxury Travel Planner & Discount Deals
  • Property Management
  • Specialized Recruitment Agency
  • Daycare
  • House Keeping
  • Bakery
  • Flowers Delivery Service
  • eCommerce
  • Being Webpreneur
  • Business Broker
  • Insurance Broker
  • Dry Cleaning Service
  • Beauty/Hair Salon
  • Mobile Auto Workshop

Food Delivery

Freshly cooked homemade food during lunchtime is an awesome treat for people at work, but time limitation doesn’t allow them to travel long for it. Offering a service whereby they can subscribe for a weekly or monthly package online and get the lunch delivered every day, right before the lunch break can be a great business in Montana.

Luxury Travel Planner & Discount Deals

Even though it’s a developed sector already, topping up your service with unique offers can bring you a huge customer base. Do not just stick to overseas tours, luxury travel, and cruise international deals, but also find exotic places to explore nearby or across the state!

Property Management

The rich in Montana has so many things to think about. Sometimes they don’t provide due attention to their properties and have difficulty in managing them. Find them and offer them your exclusive services!

Specialized Recruitment Agency

Though too many recruitment agencies are already there, and the presence of web portals makes it quite a saturated market, there’s still a huge gap that needs to be filled. 

Specialized recruitment companies are very few as they offer their services for a minimal set of industries. Get hold of two or three relevant industries and set up your unique presence with better value delivery.


The biggest concerns of working parents are their kids’ safety and security when they are away for work. Thus, daycare centers provide the best option for them. Not only does it ensures the child is safe, but it also makes them learn good things.

House Keeping

As people are getting so busy with their professional lives that there is hardly any time to look after the home. Thus, in such circumstances, the option of maids, cleaning services, and handyman jobs comes handy and is affordable. Establishing such a company is easy and can prove quite successful within a short time frame.


There are many reasons for celebration in the day to day life, snacks and cakes constitute an important part of all celebrations. Yes, there may be tens of others offering the same services, but if you’re a master of the skill, you can get a bigger market share with a simple Facebook Ad campaign even.

Flowers Delivery Service

As there’re too many reasons to celebrate everyday events and a plethora of ways to do so. A bouquet is one most powerful ways to express your joy on occasion, but no one can always afford to go to a florist! This is what makes it an amazing business idea.

Related post: How to Start an Online Boutique: The Ultimate Guide, Step-by-Step


Selling on Amazon and eBay is a quick and fine way to start your online trading business, but you must have something awesome to sell at an amazing price to succeed in the business.

Being Webpreneur

If you’ve expertise in content, marketing, or web development, you can make your own empire in a limited time. Let it be a content agency, a business networking portal, or a marketing platform. All you need is a product/service that attracts a bigger audience!

To promote your company, you can create a marketing video with the business video maker

Business Broker

The trend of entrepreneurship has shot up the demand for buying established businesses that meet existing clients’ business requirements and much more. This is aptly suited for business brokerage. Even though this field is slightly tricky and complex and requires some B2B experience, it can prove to be quite profitable for you.

Insurance Broker

To meet the insurance sector’s ever-growing demand, you can act as an insurance company agent and earn your share of the profit.

Dry Cleaning Service

Like cooking and cleaning, laundry is yet another tedious and time-consuming task for the working-class, and you will see a large population always finding ways to avoid it as much as they can. If you are considering a laundry business plan, then do consider that mobile laundry pickup and delivery services address the laundry concerns in a better way.

Here are tips on how to start and run a cleaning business successfully.

Beauty/Hair Salon

Depending upon the locality and target audience, you can start a business that offers multiple services, or you may want to stick to a hair salon only!

Mobile Auto Workshop

Having a mobile car workshop in a state where there are cars will not just give you a competitive advantage, it will also solve an aged-long issue.

A mobile workshop can provide the ideal help in all cases including emergencies and bring a lot of customer satisfaction and profit for the workshop.


Your concerns about how to start a business in Montana have been addressed. understandably, we have ensured you know all the legal and necessary information you require to take into account to successfully run a business and make lots and lots and lots of profit in the state.

That’s no exaggeration, you can make money to live the cool life you’ve always fantasized about from a multibillion-dollar idea or not!

So dear, take these steps and rule your world with that business idea!



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