How To Start A Business In South Carolina: The Ultimate Guide, Step-by-Step

Listed among America’s top ten Pro-Business States, starting a business in South Carolina is a great choice for entrepreneurs.

With the business-friendly climate in the state, one can grow and expand any kind of business ranging from sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company, or LLC. But, how do you get started?

South Carolina has been growing economically over the last decade. Statistics show that the Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state in 2019 was $213.45 billion. 

Apart from the strong economic climate, SC offers new businesses a variety of benefits including growth prospects in the competitive markets, lower business operation costs, and many more.

You can queue into benefits by following our simple step-by-step guide and get on the fast track to financial and personal independence.

Facts About South Carolina

South Carolina is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered to the north by North Carolina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the southwest by Georgia across the Savannah River. South Carolina is the 40th most extensive and 23rd most populous U.S. state.  

South Carolina has a diverse economy and its Industrial outputs include textile goods, chemical products, paper products, machinery, automobiles, automotive products and tourism. Major agricultural outputs of the state are tobacco, poultry, cotton, cattle, dairy products, soybeans, hay, rice, and swine.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March 2012, South Carolina had 1,852,700 nonfarm jobs of which 12% are in manufacturing, 11.5% are in leisure and hospitality, 19% are in the trade, transportation, and utilities, and 11.8% are in education and health services. The service sector accounts for 83.7% of the South Carolina economy.

Many large corporations have moved their locations to South Carolina creating business and employment opportunities for residents in the state.

Why You Should Start a Business in South Carolina

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

Business Incentives

South Carolina offers several state and federal incentives, loans, grants, tax credits, etc., available to small and medium-sized enterprises. Let’s take a closer look at the most popular incentives available for businesses. source:

  • Tax Credits: There are a variety of tax credits that a business entity can benefit from and some of the popular programs include Investment Tax Credit, Research & Development Tax Credit, Port Volume Increase Tax Credit, Jobs Tax Credits, Corporate Headquarters, and Enhanced Corporate Headquarters Tax Credit, among others.
  • Sales and Use Tax Incentives: Sales and use tax incentives are offered according to the operational area of the business, which is – Out-of-State Sales or Out-of-State Purchases. Sales Tax Exemptions are also a part of this incentive program. You will have to register a new business in South Carolina to take part in the incentive programs.
  • Local Property Tax Incentives: This includes Property Tax Exemptions and Incentives like 5-Year Property Tax Abatement or Textile Revitalization Credit.
  • No Minutes: An LLC is not required to keep any formal minutes or resolutions as compared to a corporation, thus making it easier to function

Perfect environment for startups

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

Tax benefits

South Carolina 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 South Carolina.

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


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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina

To create your LLC in the state of South Carolina, you’ll need to file the Articles of Organization with the South Carolina 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 South Carolina- step-by-step Guide

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

#1: Choose a Business Idea

The first step toward 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.

#2. Plan Your Business

You know what they said, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Successful businesses are built through careful 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:

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  • 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?

Setting up a legal structure for your business helps increased credibility and protects your business from personal liability in the event your business is sued.

The most common legal structures for a small business are:

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  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC), and
  • Corporation

Choose the business entity structure that offers the type of liability protection you want and the best tax, financing, and financial benefits for you and your business.

#4. Choose a Name

For limited liability companies (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 South Carolina Secretary of State (SOS).

You can check for available names by doing a business name search on the SOS website. You can reserve an available name for 120 days by filing a name reservation application with the SOS. There are certain name requirements for LLCs and corporations (like including a word such as “LLC” for LLCs or “Company” for corporations).

If you plan on doing business online, you may want to register your business name as a domain name. Ensure you check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don’t plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.

#5. Apply for Licenses and Permits

Application for licensing and permits covers the following procedures.

Tax Registration

Is it goods you want to sell in South Carolina? You must register with the Department of Revenue (DOR) to collect sales tax.

Will your business have employees? You must register with the DOR for employer withholding taxes. You can register for both types of tax, as well as other business taxes, by submitting Form BT-1, Business Tax Application, online through the Business Tax Application section of the DOR website.


If your business is taxed separately from you or has employees, 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

Some of the main categories covered by these licenses and permits are:

  • Health and safety
  • Contractor services
  • Daycare services
  • Financial services
  • Transportation, and
  • Professional licensing.

Professional and occupational licenses

This type of licensing takes care of people who work in various fields. The state’s Professional Licensing Agency (PLA) oversees many(not all) of the state’s regulatory boards and commissions.

Those boards and commissions are in turn responsible for regulating the various licensed professions and occupations. The Professions section of the PLA website lists the many professions and occupations that the PLA oversees.

#6. Pick a Business Location and Check Zoning

Choose a location for your business and check local zoning regulations. Before you commit to a location, review the costs of running your business in the desired spot, including rent and utilities. Refer back to your business plan to evaluate whether you can afford your desired location during your company’s early months.

Also, verify that the spot is zoned for your type of business. You might find zoning regulations for your town or city by reviewing your local ordinances and contacting your town’s zoning or planning department.

#7. File and Report Taxes

Whether you are starting a new business or purchasing an existing one, you will need some basic information about South Carolina’s Tax Law and regulations.

South Carolina Tax Guide for Business outlines the procedures to follow and the forms to file with the South Carolina State Department of Taxation and Finance (the Tax Department). This publication also contains valuable information for those purchasing an existing business or purchasing assets from an existing business.

#8. 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:

1. 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.

2. 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).

#9. 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.

#10. 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 attracts 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 South Carolina?

South Carolina is full of startups that create new business models, develop new industries, and come up with ideas that positively transform the economy.

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 South Carolina:

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  • 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 South Carolina.

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 South Carolina 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. (Tramadol 100mg)


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, that option of maids, cleaning service, and handyman jobs comes handy and 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, there’re too many 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 in 2022: 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.


There are unique benefits associated with starting a business in South Carolina. If you think strategically and take advantage of every opportunity to minimize costs while maximizing the value you add for customers, you can build a foundation for long-lasting business success in the state.


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