Starting Your Business in Massachusetts | A Step-by-Step Guide


Steve Bennett
Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert
Hi there, I'm Steve. My mission is to empower the next generation of online entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed. My business insights are based on real-world experience, ensuring that aspiring entrepreneurs can confidently start and run their own businesses.

All Posts by Steve Bennett →
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Staff
Last updated: 
WebinarCare offers informative content for educational purposes only, not as a substitute for professional legal or tax advice. We may earn commissions if you use the services we recommend on this site.
WebinarCare is led by Steve Bennett, a seasoned expert in the business world. He's gathered a team that's passionate about giving you reliable advice on everything from starting a business to picking the right tools. We base our tips and guides on real-life experience, ensuring you get straightforward and proven advice. Our goal is to make your business journey smoother and more successful. When you choose WebinarCare, you're choosing a trustworthy guide for all things business.
Start a Business in Massachusetts

If you want to start an LLC in Massachusetts, there are numerous factors to consider. Starting your own business is one of the most exciting and profitable things you can do in Massachusetts. But where do you start? Follow our comprehensive guide on How to Start a Business in Massachusetts. We will assist you in removing doubt from the process and investigate your success chances. It will begin with defining your business idea and progress to establishing, launching, and expanding your business. Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you every step of the way!

What Business to Start in Massachusetts?

If you’re looking to start a business in Massachusetts, consider starting a limited liability company (LLC). LLCs offer personal liability protection for their owners while also providing the flexibility of a partnership or sole proprietorship. Beyond that, here is the list of businesses to consider in Massachusetts.

  1. Digital Marketing Agency
  2. Convenience Store
  3. Car Rental Business
  4. Business Consulting Firm
  5. Life Coaching Business

Whatever business you choose to start, it’s important to conduct thorough market research and create a solid business plan before diving in. We reviewed some of the Best LLC Services and provided features as an add-on with their packages for you to check out.

LLC Service

Rating & Pricing

Top Features

Learn More

#1 Recommendation

$0 + State fee

  • Free LLC Formation

  • Legal Support

  • Highly Reputed Company

$299 + State fee

  • Single LLC formation package

  • Flat price for all services

  • Legal consultation

Starting a business can be a challenging but highly rewarding endeavor. By taking the time to research and plan, you can increase your chances of success. Whether you choose to form a corporation or start an LLC in Massachusetts, it’s important to surround yourself with a strong team that will guide you. Don’t let fear hold you back, take that first step towards turning your business dreams into a reality.

WEBINARCARE EDITORIAL TEAM

How to Start a Business in Massachusetts?

To form a business in Massachusetts, you must follow a few steps that include creating a business plan, choosing a business entity type, determining your business costs, naming your business, registering a business, and lastly, marketing your business.

Please continue reading to learn more about the overall procedure and what new small business owners should keep in mind as they complete each step.

Step 1: Creating a Business Plan

When developing a business plan, many factors should be considered during the decision-making process. Your business plan in Massachusetts serves as a road map for your company’s success.

A business plan should take into account the specific goals of your company. You should know the product or service you will provide in Massachusetts. A well-thought-out business plan is essential for determining how your company will make a profit. If the purpose of the business plan is ambiguous and unrelated to the service you provide, it will impact the business you are forming. Make sure your business goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound). Also, researching your competitors’ services will help you determine your strategy for your state business. Finally, you should consider your company’s funding.

With this article’s assistance, you can better comprehend your business’s essential components and success strategy. You can apply for Massachusetts Small Business Loans from banks and investor funding to help support your company in Massachusetts.

Once you have the entire plan in your hands, you can work on the legal framework of your company. Legally, you can form an LLC for your ideal business.

Step 2: Choose a Business Entity in Massachusetts

Selecting a business entity for your Massachusetts company. When starting your own business, you must choose a business structure. How well your personal assets are secured, how much tax you pay, and how much paperwork you have to deal with will all be significantly impacted by the type of corporate entity you choose. Consider setting up a corporation, LLC, LLP, or sole proprietorship as your business entity in Massachusetts.

Sole Proprietorships

Consider a sole proprietorship if you want to start a business in Massachusetts by yourself. A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure in which a single individual owns and operates the entire business. The owner and the business are considered the same legal entity in a sole proprietorship. There is no legal distinction between the owner and the business, meaning that the owner has complete control over the business operations, profits, and losses.

Sole proprietorships are best suited for Massachusetts small businesses with low risks and for individuals who want to maintain complete control over their business without the complexities of establishing a separate legal entity.

Limited Liability Company

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure that combines features of both partnerships and corporations, offering limited liability protection to its owners (called members) while allowing flexibility in management and taxation. An LLC is a separate legal entity from its owners, meaning the members are not personally liable for the business’s debts, obligations, or liabilities.

It is a popular choice for small to medium-sized businesses that want the liability protection of a corporation while maintaining management flexibility and simpler tax treatment. It’s essential to consult with a legal or financial professional to determine if an LLC is the best choice for your specific business situation.

Limited Liability Partnership

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is comparable to an LLC. However, it is usually used by licensed business professionals like attorneys or accountants. A partnership agreement is necessary for this kind of business entity. You can form an LLP in Massachusetts if you are planning to.

Corporation

Forming a Corporation in Massachusetts reduces your personal liability for business debts as an LLC does. A corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners, known as shareholders. It is created under the laws of the state it is incorporated in and is considered a separate “person” under the law. The corporation can enter into contracts, own property, sue and be sued, and pay taxes separately from its owners.

A corporation can be taxed as an S-corporation (S-Corp) or a C-corporation (C-Corp). If a small corporation satisfies certain Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards, then S-corporation status is available, providing pass-through taxation. However, most larger businesses and startups seeking venture financing are taxed as C-corps.

To choose the right business structure in Massachusetts, consider personal liability protection, taxation, management flexibility, administrative requirements, and setup costs. Consult a legal or financial professional to help you make the best decision.

Recommended: Incorporating a business has never been easier that’s why Legalzoom’s corporation formation provide a comprehensive and streamlined approach for your business. Whether you have plans to crowdfund or go public, get help from LegalZoom every step of the way. We recommend using –

LegalZoom Starts at $149 + filing fees

Step 3: Determine your Massachusetts Business Cost

In Massachusetts, you should determine the cost of your business. You should consider paying the Certificate of Organization fee, business licenses fee, office supplies and equipment, payroll, rent, utilities, transportation, and taxes.

Usually, filing an initial Massachusetts Certificate of Organization fee costs $500, while the LLC annual fee costs $500 in Massachusetts. In terms of filing Massachusetts Articles of Incorporation, the costs usually range up to $275 for filing online, in-person, or by mail.

If forming an LLC is your ideal business, consider knowing the LLC Cost in Massachusetts.

Step 4: Name your Business in Massachusetts

Naming your business doesn’t take a lot of time. With the help of Massachusetts Business Name Search, you can acquire a name for your business. If you form an LLC in Massachusetts, you must follow the below rules while naming your business-

  • The name should not be confused with a government entity.
  • The name should be unique.
  • The name should be available to use.
  • Any other business does not use the name.
  • The new name must include “LLC” if it is a limited liability company.

In Massachusetts, if you do not wish to file your business right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your business name. You must file a name reservation application in the Massachusetts Secretary of State to keep the name.

If the business name is available, you may choose to reserve it for a specific period of 60 days. The online name reservation fee is disclosed and the mail name reservation fee is $30. If your business plans to operate under a name other than its legal name, you may also need to register a fictitious or “doing business as” (DBA) name.

The DBA filing can be done in two methods, by mail and in person, which you can file in Massachusetts Secretary of State. You can check out how to file a DBA in Massachusetts for clearer understanding.

Recommended: Unlock your business’s full potential with LegalZoom’s DBA service, providing a hassle-free experience that allows you to focus on what matters most – turning your passion into profit. We recommend –

LegalZoom – Starts at $99 + filing fees

Step 5: Register Massachusetts Business

To register a business in Massachusetts, you need to file it with the Massachusetts Secretary of State. Before that, you must have a Massachusetts Resident Agent for your business. The Resident Agent is a person who is responsible for receiving important legal documents on your behalf.

You can serve as your own Resident Agent, or you can appoint a friend or family member, or you can check the Best Resident Agent Services in Massachusetts.

Apply For Certificate of Organization

After you have a Resident Agent, you need to file the Massachusetts Certificate of Organization, if you want to have an LLC structure, or you need to file the Massachusetts Articles of Incorporation if you want to have a Corporation.

Request For an EIN

In addition to the paperwork, your Resident Agent should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in Massachusetts. An EIN will serve as the tax ID for your professional corporation. EIN can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. EIN, however, is distinct from SSN. It is only used for business-related activities, particularly for submitting general taxes. The form must be completed and uploaded to the IRS website. You can obtain the EIN for free from the IRS.

The application of an EIN in Massachusetts can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone (for International Applicants)– International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

After you have your EIN number, you can benefit in several ways. It will give your LLC the absolute advantage necessary to operate at full capacity without encountering legal or judicial issues.

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

LegalZoom($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 6: Apply for Business License and Permit

Business licenses and operating permits are necessary to run any business in Massachusetts. Before launching your new business, request any required business license or permission. Most Massachusetts businesses need licenses or permits to operate. Federal, state, and local governments may all require businesses to have licenses and permits. The business license fee depends on the type of license you are applying for. It can start from $25 till going up to $100+. However, in Massachusetts, the business license fee ranges from $50 – $300.

Step 7: Obtain a Bank Account

Your business dealings in Massachusetts might be simpler with a US business bank account because it boosts your company’s legitimacy and liquidity. Opening a separate bank account for your Massachusetts business is essential for maintaining a clear separation between your personal and business finances.

You can check out the Best Banks in Massachusetts, which offers the best fees, services, and convenience for your business needs.

Step 8: Market your Business in Massachusetts

Now that your Massachusetts business is registered, you can market it with an ideal marketing plan. An ideal marketing plan can help a start-up business to become known. Making a comprehensive social media network like META, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube falls within this category. While creating an SEO campaign for your company website, you may also look at specialized communities on Facebook and LinkedIn.

FAQs

What type of business entity should I form in Massachusetts?
You can form various types of business entities in Massachusetts, including a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S corporation, or C corporation.
What are the steps to register a business in Massachusetts?
To register a business in Massachusetts, you need to file articles of organization with the Corporations Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
How much does it cost to register a business in Massachusetts?
The filing fee for registering a business in Massachusetts varies based on the type of entity you are forming.
Do I need a business license to operate in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, only certain industries require licensing, such as healthcare, plumbing, and electrical.
Where can I find information on licenses and permits required for my Massachusetts business?
You can find information on licenses and permits required for a business in Massachusetts on the state’s official website.
Do I need to register for Massachusetts taxes if my business is located out of state?
If your business has a presence in Massachusetts, such as employees or property, then you may be required to register for Massachusetts taxes.
What are the tax rates for businesses in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts has a flat corporate tax rate of 8%.
Are there any tax incentives for businesses in Massachusetts?
Yes, there are various tax incentives available to businesses in Massachusetts, including research and development tax credits and job creation tax credits.
Can I file my business taxes online in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can file your business taxes online in Massachusetts through the state’s Department of Revenue website.
How do I apply for a Massachusetts sales tax permit?
You can apply for a Massachusetts sales tax permit online or by mailing in a completed form.
What is the minimum wage in Massachusetts?
The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $13.50 per hour.
Do I need to provide workers’ compensation insurance for my employees in Massachusetts?
Yes, employers in Massachusetts are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
What are the unemployment insurance requirements for employers in Massachusetts?
Employers in Massachusetts must pay unemployment insurance taxes and file quarterly reports.
Can I hire independent contractors for my Massachusetts business?
Yes, but you need to ensure that they meet the criteria for independent contractor status to avoid misclassification.
What are the zoning requirements for starting a business in Massachusetts?
Zoning requirements for starting a business in Massachusetts vary based on the local jurisdiction.
Can I operate a home-based business in Massachusetts?
Yes, but you need to ensure that your home-based business complies with zoning ordinances and other regulations.
How difficult is it to find funding for a business in Massachusetts?
The availability of funding for a business in Massachusetts depends on factors such as the industry and stage of the business.
Are there any resources available to help women-owned businesses in Massachusetts?
Yes, the Massachusetts Women’s Business Center provides resources and support to women entrepreneurs.
Can I receive assistance with business plan development in Massachusetts?
Yes, there are various resources in Massachusetts that provide assistance with business plan development, such as SCORE.
Are there any federal grants available to businesses in Massachusetts?
Yes, there are various federal grants available to businesses in Massachusetts that meet certain criteria.
What types of insurance do I need for my Massachusetts business?
The types of insurance that your Massachusetts business needs depend on various factors, such as industry and size.
Can I sell products online as a Massachusetts business?
Yes, you can sell products online as a Massachusetts business, but you need to ensure that you meet all applicable legal and tax requirements.
What resources are available to help veterans start a business in Massachusetts?
There are various resources available in Massachusetts for veterans looking to start a business, including the Veterans Business Outreach Center.
Are there any tax incentives for businesses that create jobs in Massachusetts?
Yes, Massachusetts offers tax incentives to businesses that create jobs in certain designated areas.
Can I form an anonymous LLC in Massachusetts?
No, Massachusetts does not allow formation of anonymous LLCs.
Can I operate a liquor business in Massachusetts?
Yes, but you need to obtain an alcohol license from the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
What are the obligations of a Massachusetts business to accommodate a disabled customer or potential employee?
Massachusetts business has to post a sign telling people what area is accessible, should be wheelchair accessible, and accommodate anyone that uses a service animal.
What type of business structures are recognized in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts recognizes five types of business structures – sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, and cooperative.
Do I need to obtain a business license to start a business in Massachusetts?
The requirements for business licenses depend on the type of business. Many cities and towns in Massachusetts frequently require that businesses receive a local permit or license.
Is it possible to form a business in Massachusetts online?
Yes, the Massachusetts Secretary of State offers its CorpFile online portal as a time and cost-effective way to render an advantage of incorporating online.
What government agency is responsible for registering businesses in Massachusetts?
The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Corporations Division registers the state’s businesses and offers certifications related to business entity filings.
Are there any incentives offered to startups in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts offers its entrepreneurs several incentive reformative initiatives such as tax credits, wage subsidies, or research and even development funding.
What are the best industries to start a business in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts boasts of its bustling popular industries, i.e., advanced manufacturing, biotech, clean energy technology, ICT services, healthcare, and cybersecurity.
Do I have to register my business name in Massachusetts?
New businesses looking to operate under a different name from their owner’s real name or using a varying entity structure will need to file OBC registration within Massachusetts.
Can businesses in Massachusetts own real estate?
Businesses can own real estate in Massachusetts, and this must be protected under the name of the Corporation or LLC ownership preferably detailed within a properly structured Property Deed.
Can I operate an online business in Massachusetts from any location?
Yes, you can register your business in Massachusetts and operate from any legitimate internet-connected location even from any remotely located regions.
Do Massachusetts based companies file corporate income tax returns?
Just like in any U.S state, Massachusetts regulates corporate income tax, where businesses within the state report their finances annually following tax foreclosure proceeding.
What is the minimum wage rate in Massachusetts, and do small businesses have to pay it?
The current minimum wage rate in Massachusetts is $15 an hour with deferment regulation for employees under 18, small independent companies with six or under employees will mostly apply deferment on minimum wage.
What taxes do companies in Massachusetts have to pay?
Massachusetts applies sales, state income, corporate, property, and capital gains taxes – calculated based on a range of different financial determinants.
Where can I get information about permits and licenses to start a business in Massachusetts?
Entrepreneurs should contact statewide Agencies, Government Offices electronically for specific information governing permits and licenses requisite for business initiation.
What resource groups are in Massachusetts suited for advising and assisting entrepreneurs?
There are numerous group support and resources ongoing within Massachusetts aiding entrepreneurs, i.e.chamber of commerce groups, business incubators, and executive aid groups.
Is it mandatory for businesses in MA to purchase commercial insurance?
Unlike drafting or formulating acquisition control measures per Forbes Advisor, establishing MA state law requires commercial businesses to acquire a minimum amount of insurance.
How easy is it to recruit top workers and/or talent from colleges in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts sports a robust and fertile net of top educational institutions all around. Attaining outside talent is very achievable within Massachusetts due to the educational and innovation proximity
How long does it typically take to get a Massachusetts business registration?
It’s achievable within just 24 hours nowadays. Irrespective, definitive state paperwork and functions may occupy a period ranging from anyplace between 2-10 days, subject to individual filing requirements.
Is there any tool in Massachusetts acclaimed to foster setting up a business there?
The Small Business Guide toolkit advert sponsored by authorities in Massachusetts overview suggests a masterstroke guide running sequence aiming to comprehend protocols for efficient operational reinforcement.
Is it easier to get funding in Massachusetts compared to other states?
With various financial backing schemes readily available to aspiring entrepreneurs, Massachusetts offers great sponsorship content resources and immediate via VC’s, Angels, and private investor networks.
Is there any fiscal-economic package in Massachusetts aimed to attain noticeable and regional balance?
Offices assigned by the Baker-Polito Administration envelop focal solutions and products centralizing stable and evident enterprise-inceptive plans for creating numerous solid economic prospects spanning specific locales statewide.
Do businesses have to participate/be insured in worker’s compensation insurance programs in Massachusetts?
As required by state law, MA businesses with ANY employees – whether full time. Part-time, seasonal, Non Profit or Charity Organization – should hold worker’s compensation insurance.
Can unauthorized (immigrants) classifications either start or own businesses in Massachusetts?
Every Business licenses are granted and enforced by the state, regardless of its owner’s citizenship or arrival status, making it less sensitive to your movement of absence arrangement.
How is employment law coordinated in Massachusetts?
Companies need a clear version code in the realm of employment especially relative to discrimination preferences to valid age policies, religious sentiments. It must align exclusive with relevant State law to cue both sides involved on subsequently accurate, relevant and requisite employment enactment.
Is there any form of reverse tenders in Massachusetts designed to induce localized business?
There are various discreet state and magnitude-wide enterprise opportunities offered der in way ways, targeting new entrants providing localized resources and rectitude procuring necessities regional in-government conducting global economic preferences.
Where can you instantly enhance or acquaint your business-related competence?
There are personalized-developer assistance services obtainable from Massachusetts. Millions of businesses have assessed progressive entrepreneurial ideals advancing veteran know-how principally to give your enterprise a compelling progression lever.
Does Massachusetts also have subsidies particularly designed to create boundaries within rural areas?
Certain County initiatives supported by mid-state directions also organizes generalized or appropriated capital for developmental purposes such as expansive builds ranging from innovation farms, materials, expansive logistics, material resource distribution serving to resolve spatial barricades for newly-formed enterprise startups.
Who is Massachusetts’s secretary of state, and how critically challenging has this current exercise been under the current climate change regulations and bills updates?
Recent politics and allocation changes due to impending VP concretion have efficiently provided a separate series of stable outcomes for entrepreneurs although structuring legislature under Beuder’s enactment.

Also Read

Why You Should Start Business in Massachusetts

There are countless reasons why starting a business in Massachusetts can be a wise decision. One of the most appealing aspects of the state is its strong economy. Massachusetts is home to a diverse range of industries, from healthcare and education to biotechnology and finance. This diversity means that there are ample opportunities for businesses of all sizes and types to thrive.

In addition to its diverse economy, Massachusetts is also known for its highly educated workforce. The state is home to some of the top universities in the country, including Harvard, MIT, and Boston University. This means that businesses in Massachusetts have access to a talent pool that is not only well-educated but also highly skilled.

Furthermore, Massachusetts is a hub for innovation and technology. With its close proximity to major cities like Boston and Cambridge, businesses in the state have access to cutting-edge research and development facilities, as well as a supportive network of technology companies and startups. This makes Massachusetts an ideal location for businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve and harness the power of emerging technologies.

Another key advantage of doing business in Massachusetts is its robust support system for entrepreneurs. The state offers a wide range of resources and programs to help businesses get off the ground and grow. From mentorship programs and networking events to grants and tax incentives, Massachusetts is committed to fostering a thriving business community.

Moreover, the state boasts a strong infrastructure and transportation system, making it easy for businesses to connect with suppliers, customers, and partners both within the state and beyond. With its well-maintained roads, bridges, and public transportation systems, Massachusetts provides businesses with the logistical support they need to operate efficiently and effectively.

And last but not least, the quality of life in Massachusetts is second to none. The state offers a high standard of living, with excellent schools, healthcare, and cultural amenities. Whether you want to raise a family, pursue higher education, or simply enjoy a vibrant arts and entertainment scene, Massachusetts has something for everyone.

In conclusion, starting a business in Massachusetts is a smart and strategic decision for entrepreneurs looking to achieve success in today’s competitive market. With its strong economy, educated workforce, culture of innovation, supportive ecosystem, and high quality of life, Massachusetts provides businesses with the tools they need to thrive and grow. If you are considering launching a business, look no further than the Bay State.

Conclusion

Starting a business in Massachusetts has unique advantages and challenges since it offers a large and diverse market, access to skilled talent, and numerous networking opportunities, making it an attractive location for entrepreneurs. However, business owners must also contend with a high cost of living, intense competition, and potentially complex regulations.

Ultimately, whether starting a business in Massachusetts is the right decision depends on the entrepreneur’s specific needs, goals, and industry. It is crucial to conduct thorough research and consider factors such as taxes, regulations, workforce availability, and target market when choosing a location for a new business. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions and set themselves up for success in the competitive Massachusetts business landscape.

Leave a Comment