New Hampshire boasts the country’s best access to funding and ranks as the second lowest in sales tax. With fast-growing cities and a reputation for ease of doing business, the Granite State provides a fantastic platform for those who want to start a new business there.
How to Start a Business in New Hampshire:
1. Determine your business structure.
Choosing the right legal structure for your company is important. Your choice will have an impact on taxes, paperwork, personal liability, and your ability to raise funds.
You can choose from the following legal structures:
A sole proprietorship is the simplest structure and usually involves one individual who is solely responsible for the enterprise while a partnership is suitable for businesses with two or more owners. A corporation is a standalone entity with shareholders while a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is the most popular type because of minimal paperwork, flexibility, tax benefits, and simple implementation process. LLC business owners are not obligated to file a corporate tax return.
Businesses are regulated by New Hampshire state laws and must be registered through the New Hampshire Secretary of State website.
2. Write a business plan.
Your business plan is the foundation of your new business and will serve as an invaluable guide for how to structure, run and grow your company. The business plan must meet your needs and can fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup.
The traditional plan is very detailed, takes more time to write, and is quite comprehensive while the lean startup plan is high-level and quickly written.
A strong business plan can help you get funding and makes opening a new business easier. You can consult with the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, a free service that offers business planning and consulting for small business owners in New Hampshire.
3. Sign up for business banking.
Your business and personal finances must be kept separate to maintain accurate records. With a business bank account, you can easily obtain statements and access products that would not be available to you as an individual.
Best Banks for Small Business in New Hampshire:
4. Seek funding.
Opening a new business often requires capital. If you are unable to fund your new business, you will need to take out a loan. There are three common ways to fund your business: commercial loans, business lines of credit and small business loans.
A popular organization that can assist you with small business loans in New Hampshire is the Community Loan Fund.
5. Decide on a business name.
Make a list of names that you like and perform a Google search to find any conflicts with other New Hampshire business names.
Once this is done, you will need to do a trademark search to ensure that the business name that you chose has not already been trademarked. You can perform the trademark search at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Trademark Electronic Search System. These databases have a comprehensive list of business names that are registered together with their classification.
After you have confirmed that your business name is not trademarked, you need to check the New Hampshire Department of State website to ensure that your business name is not the same or similar to another corporation registered in New Hampshire.
If you are satisfied that your business name is available, you can then register it on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. You can check out our guide on How to Name a Business to assist you with naming your business.
Once you have found a suitable name, make sure to register the matching web domain and social media handles, should you wish to market your business online.
6. Request an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Every business needs to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Registering for an EIN is very easy—all you need to do is go to the IRS website. You can complete the application online, and save your EIN confirmation notice once you receive a number from the IRS.
7. Acquire business licenses and permits.
The state of New Hampshire does not require businesses to have a statewide business license. You may however require a specific business license depending on the type of business that you start. You can view the specific business types with license requirements here.
8. Hire employees.
To start hiring you will need to register at the New Hampshire Employment Security (NHES). Each employee will need to be registered within 30 days of starting work by submitting an Employer Status Report. Once you have submitted the Employer Status Report, you will receive a Determination of Liability and the NHES will then create an account for you.
The New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination (NHLAD) protects job applicants against discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability.
With reference to the pre-employment screening process in New Hampshire, an employer is entitled to view a job applicant’s criminal history and obtain the relevant records from the criminal justice system.
Important Posters at New Hampshire Business Premises:
- Protective Legislation Law.
- Whistleblowers’ Protection Act.
- New Hampshire Minimum Wage Law.
- Workers Right to Know.
- Workers’ Compensation Law.
- Equal Pay Law.
9. Check your business employer requirements.
Business employer requirements are specific to the type of business that you are starting and include various labor, safety and tax obligations that need to be met. You should consider hiring a tax or business attorney to ensure your business is fully compliant with the laws in New Hampshire.
If you are starting a business in New Hampshire, you will need to take note of the following important items:
New Hampshire’s law requires all employers to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. You can obtain more information at the New Hampshire Department of Labor website.
Health insurance isn’t a requirement for small businesses in New Hampshire.
In New Hampshire, your small business is required to establish an unemployment insurance tax account with New Hampshire Unemployment Insurance System. If your business is required to contribute towards unemployment insurance, you will need to file quarterly reports.
New Hampshire Business Tax
New Hampshire is one of five states that do not have a state sales tax or personal income tax on wages.
You may require a tax operators license depending on the type of business that you have. You can get more information on that here.
Starting a business in New Hampshire FAQs:
How much does it cost to start a business in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire articles of incorporation for LLCs, Corporations and Partnerships cost $100.00.
New Hampshire Registration and Business Fees:
Corporation for profit
Notice of Change
How do I register a business in New Hampshire?
You can register your business with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.
How do I start a business in New Hampshire with no money?
- Use services to generate cash flow and fund a product-based business.
- Get creative to discover funding sources.
- Grind it out and look for business, even if you don't get paid for it.
- Use your current resources in different ways to generate income.
- Get a credit line to help with the early stages of your business.
- Locate an accelerator if you can hit the market swiftly.
- Crowdfund and allow the public to invest a small percentage of money in return for a future buy-in.
- Use a business incubator to provide funding designed specifically to financially assist a startup company.
How can I protect the name and logo of my business in New Hampshire?
The easiest way is to register your business name on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. Prior to registration, remember to check on the Trademark Electronic Search System and the New Hampshire Department of State website to ensure that your business name is not already registered by another company.
Do I need workers’ compensation for my new business in New Hampshire?
All employers in New Hampshire are compelled to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees.
Does my business in New Hampshire need to contribute to health insurance?
Health insurance isn’t a requirement for small businesses in New Hampshire.
Browse The SMB Guide for more helpful articles for small business owners, and be sure to download our How to Start a Small Business checklist.