Setting up a new venture always requires a certain amount of investment. But it doesn’t have to be exorbitant, as there are many ways to make money through good business ideas with low startup costs. If you’re ready to become your own boss or considering a change of career, and you’re exploring easy businesses to start as a side hustle, you’ve come to the right place. In this informative guide, we’ll outline the best businesses to start with little money and share tips and tricks on how to set up this kind of venture.
Businesses With Low Startup Costs: 15 Ideas To Inspire You
If you’ve ever watched Hollywood blockbusters or read articles written by business moguls who have built empires from scratch, you’ll know that it’s possible to turn low-cost business ideas into multinational corporations that generate millions of dollars in profits. Even though not every story is a success, it’s important to understand that you don’t need substantial capital to strike it rich as an entrepreneur.
If you want to be your own boss but you’re on a shoestring budget, it’s wise to consider home business ideas and focus on the cheapest businesses to start. We’ve put together a list of easy businesses to start to inspire you and get you thinking about your next professional move.
Do you love to write, share opinions or engage with people online? Do you have passions or hobbies that you’re keen to talk about, or do you have experience or skills that could benefit others and help you connect with like-minded souls? Blogging is one of the most popular ways to boost your income if you’re thinking about starting a business with no money. You don’t need employees, and you can work from home or on the go. Best of all, you can scale the venture as your following grows.
Studies suggest that there are currently over 600 million blogs in the world. Despite the marketplace already being saturated, blogging can still prove lucrative in 2022. To maximize your chances of making profits and attracting attention, you should focus on a niche and cover subjects that interest you. Think about your target audience, create fresh, interesting, original content, and encourage people to check out your articles and interact with you and other readers.
Setting up a blog as a low-investment business rather than a hobby requires you to think about how to monetize the site. Various options to explore include affiliate marketing, paid reviews, membership schemes, and exclusive content and advertising. Browse high-profile, popular blogs, see how bloggers make their money, and use social media to build a following, drive traffic, and get people talking about your content.
2. Social media consulting
If you’re a whizz when it comes to social media, you could leverage your skills to set up a new business providing services for companies or entrepreneurs whose objective is to boost sales or put their brand on the map. If you understand how social platforms work, you enjoy posting and sharing content and engaging with followers, this could be the perfect option for you.
It’s one of the easiest businesses to start if you know your way around Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and you have a good grasp of the basics of social media marketing. Most big companies have dedicated teams for social media management and marketing, but small businesses don’t have the budget for such a luxury. This is where your skills could come in handy. Since it’s a cheap business to start, it could give you extra income and the opportunity to grow and expand your client base quickly.
3. Teaching and tutoring
Teaching and tutoring are excellent home business ideas with low startup costs. Not only does teaching give you the opportunity to use your skills, knowledge, and experience to benefit others, but you can increase your earnings in the process.
If you have qualifications in accounting, graphic design or website development, you are fluent in foreign languages, have expertise in subjects such as geography or English, or play a musical instrument, for example, you can offer your services to teach others from the comfort of your home. As far as low startup cost businesses go, this is one of the best options for those looking for a flexible venture that offers the opportunity to expand your network.
If you decide that you want to teach or offer private tutoring services, advertise your business online using local SEO and post flyers in your area. Tell people about your business in local and community social media groups and spread the word via colleagues, friends, neighbors, and family members. Ask your clients to leave reviews and recommend you to others so that you can grow your business.
4. Handyman/ odd jobs
Most homeowners could rattle off a list of jobs they need done around the house. They represent an excellent client base that a handyman/ odd-job service provider could cater to. It’s one of the best businesses to start with little money because you don’t need a lot of capital; you can build a client list through word of mouth and cheap marketing methods.
Even though you don’t need formal qualifications to be a handyman or handywoman, it’s important that you have the necessary skills to tackle the tasks you take on and meet customer expectations.
Setting up a handyman and odd-job service is one of the cheapest businesses to start from home, but you may need to spend some money at the outset on tools, equipment, and marketing. Look for deals, compare prices, and ask to borrow more expensive items from people you know until your business grows.
Rent the machines that you’ll be using occasionally instead of buying them at the outset and use cost-effective marketing techniques, such as flyers, social media, and local SEO. Of course, safety first: Don’t forget to purchase the protective gear required for the tasks you’ll be performing.
5. Creating your online store
Online stores are among the most profitable small businesses. As online shopping becomes more popular and screen time increases, more and more consumers opt to buy from websites and apps rather than going to the mall.
Creating your online store may not be the cheapest business to start, but it doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you have relatively low product development costs. Before you start selling, compare platforms and marketplaces, take a look at existing stores and gather ideas, research impactful design and marketing strategies, and define your target group.
If you’re looking for low-cost business ideas with high profit, think carefully about what you’re going to sell and how much you’re going to buy and sell for. You could sell products you make on platforms like Etsy, for example: clothing, accessories, jewelry, furniture or pieces of art, or you could look into buying and selling through sites like eBay.
It’s worth spending time on research to make sure that there is a demand for your products. Moreover, you should calculate costs and establish suitable price points based on the target customer and competitor pricing strategies to define the most profitable route to take.
6. Online courses and tuition
Online education is booming. More people are learning online than ever before, and this is a trend that is set to gather pace in the months and years to come. If you’re exploring ideas for profitable businesses with low startup costs, and you have knowledge, skills, and expertise in specific areas or subjects, you could create online courses or offer tuition via video platforms and social apps.
From yoga and personal training to language classes and online courses about software development, accounting, or web design, there’s scope to use your professional experience, hobbies, and interests to add to your income. This is one of the cheapest businesses to start from home, and it offers considerable flexibility, as you can schedule classes for times that suit you. What’s more, you could provide courses that people can access remotely or download.
7. Resume writer
Businesses with low overheads are ideal for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start making money without worrying about expenses. Being a resume writer is one of the most inexpensive businesses to start. Whether you decide to set up a side hustle for extra income or have grand plans to turn a solo venture into a big business in the future, you can get started straight away with minimal investment. To offer this service, you should have a firm grasp of the labor market and what makes an effective resume.
In turn, this will enable you to provide a tailored service for your customers, which will help them secure roles that match their skills and level of experience. Resumes may all look similar, but they should be adjusted to ensure that the content is engaging and relevant to the role in question.
8. Social media influencing
Most of us are familiar with influencers and social media users who have built up enormous followings and whose profiles and accounts rake in substantial profits. It’s not easy to create content that will earn thousands of dollars per post, and it may take time to build a following, but it’s possible to turn a low-cost business opportunity into a profitable venture.
If you like the idea of becoming an influencer, find a niche and start contacting brands so that you can post content that will resonate with your followers and become commercially viable in the process. Inspire existing followers to share your posts, and consider running giveaways to get people to follow you and take an interest.
Promote products that are relevant to your personal brand, your passions, and your target customer. Interact with your followers, get to know brands, and build relationships with them, seizing all opportunities to network.
9. Freelance writing
Freelancing has become increasingly popular as people seek alternatives to a traditional 9-5 job. Freelance writing is a low-budget business idea which can help you boost your earnings and establish a reputation within the industry. There are multiple paths to explore if you’re looking for low startup cost business ideas, including writing for blogs, using websites and portals to find jobs that involve writing, signing up with agencies, and writing for companies on a freelance basis.
Freelancing is not as stable and secure as conventional employment when it comes to payment and income, so it’s crucial to establish a client base and manage your money prudently. Think about how you’re going to attract clients and find work, research rates, and market your services via social media. Design a website to describe the services you offer and provide information about your qualifications and experience, sharing some pieces and showcasing your writing style.
10. Personal training
Are you passionate about health and fitness? Do you want to help others reap the rewards of regular exercise or a new, targeted training regime? If so, personal training services could be a new business idea worth exploring. Being a personal trainer is rewarding and can also be quite lucrative.
If you love to work out, you can use your passion for this lifestyle to motivate and guide others. It’s worth noting that you’ll need certificates and proper training to start offering services, but once you have the recommended qualifications, you can earn a lot of money in a short time.
Setting up at home is a great idea if you’re looking for the best business to start with little money, as your overheads will be low. This will help you generate profits faster. You could also run online classes and sessions or create an app or a website with a members’ community. Another option if you don’t want to rent premises or pay to use a gym is to visit clients and make use of their homes as training spaces.
11. Dog walking and sitting
Did you know that there are over 76 million pet dogs in the US alone? Dogs are wonderful companions, but they need a lot of care and attention. For many families, owning a dog can be difficult due to work commitments and the desire to travel or take vacations. This is where dog walkers and house sitters come in handy.
A cheap business to start, dog walking meets a market need by providing services for people who have pets but find it inconvenient to walk them during the day. By using a dog walking service, people can add a furry friend to the family without worrying if they’ll get enough exercise or become lonely while the owners are at work.
The advantage of a low capital business is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money at the outset. You can advertise via local magazines and newspapers, flyers, and social media, encourage customers to spread the word and scale your business as the demand grows. You’ll need a vehicle if you plan to travel outside of your local area. If your business becomes a success, you could consider expanding by hiring more dog walkers or adding services, such as house sitting or doggy daycare.
12. Virtual assistant
As our lifestyles are becoming increasingly rushed, many people have hectic schedules and are struggling to manage their diaries. If you have strong organizational and time management skills, you can use your expertise to offer this service to those who are daunted by their to-do lists.
If you’re interested in profitable businesses with low startup costs, being a virtual assistant is a marvellous idea. You can work from home, which means low overheads, and you can add clients as you go along once you start receiving more inquiries.
It’s a good idea to target people who have busy schedules, such as business owners, professionals, and working parents. You can advertise your services through social media, a website, and local press. Research the market to learn more about your target audience, establish a pricing strategy, and get to know more about how being a virtual PA works.
13. Gift ideas
Do people always compliment you on the gifts you buy or come to you for advice when they need a bolt of inspiration for a birthday or wedding present? If so, have you thought about turning your talent into a business? Many people don’t have time to trawl websites or stores looking for gifts, or they just can’t come up with original, imaginative ideas.
If you have a reputation for choosing fantastic presents or conjuring up inventive ideas, this is an easy business to start from scratch. You can offer customers a bespoke service to help them take the stress out of sourcing and buying gifts or organizing experiences. By hiring your business, customers can save time and effort while ensuring that the people they love will adore their gifts.
Are you meticulous when it comes to grammar? Do you have an eye for detail? Do you enjoy reading and writing? If so, why not set up a proofreading business? If you have an outstanding grasp of grammar and punctuation, this is a great home business idea with low startup costs. All you need to get started is a computer.
You can work at home or remotely, with compete control over your schedule and pricing strategy, choosing which jobs to take on or turn down, all while your running costs are kept at a minimum. It is critical to ensure that you have the relevant skills and knowledge to offer this service to paying clients. If you make mistakes or fail to notice and correct errors, customers may ask for refunds and may leave negative feedback.
15. Event planning
Are you the go-to party planner in your circle of friends, or do your family members rely on you to manage their social schedule and organize gatherings for special occasions? Event planning is a skill in high demand. From parties, weddings, and garden gatherings to corporate events, competitions, and charity functions, there is room in the market for a wide range of services to cater to diverse clients.
To excel in this role, you need to have superb communication, organization, and time management skills. Even though it’s not one of the easiest businesses to start, it can be profitable, as clients strive to make an impact with their event and will invest substantial sums to impress their guests. Start small and build a network of contacts. As you gain more experience, you should find it easier to plan events, which will enable you to take on bigger, more valuable contracts and expand your customer base.
How To Start a Business With No Money - Top Tips
Starting a business with no money is no mean feat, but it’s possible to turn a small startup into a profitable venture. If you’re looking for low-cost business ideas with high profits, here are some tips to help you maximize your chances of success:
Devise solutions for common problems: One of the best ways to make money through new business ideas is to identify some common issues and find solutions to address them. Think about the problems you want to solve in your life or the issues you hear friends, family members or colleagues talking about.
Play to your strengths: Think about your skills, qualifications, and experience when considering startup ideas. From language skills, cooking, playing musical instruments or singing, designing websites, bookkeeping or managing your diary to playing sports, training, marketing and building apps, there are all kinds of opportunities to make money based on your existing skillset.
Conduct research: Research is essential for any aspiring entrepreneur. Use market research methods to gauge the level of demand for the products or services you’re offering, identify competitors, define ideal buyers, and set price points.
Manage your finances: Managing your finances from the outset is vital if you’re looking for low-cost business ideas with high profit margins. Try to keep initial expenses and overheads low while building a client base and bringing sales in.
Spread the word: Running a profitable venture takes more than an ingenious low budget business idea. To make your new business work, you have to attract customers and encourage prospective clients to take the next step and actually spend money. Think of all the ways to spread the word and calculate marketing costs accordingly. Popular marketing techniques for businesses with low overheads include local SEO, social media marketing, and flyers.
Take inspiration from your passions: Your passions and interests can help you identify possible business ideas and narrow down your options. It’s possible to monetize hobbies, for example, baking, fitness, playing music, writing, and spending time on social media. If you run a business that allows you to do the things you love and help others do the same, this will not only boost your bank balance, but it should also give you a sense of satisfaction.
More and more people are pursuing the dream of becoming their own boss. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you don’t have to spend a fortune getting your new venture off the ground. These low-cost business ideas can help you build a profitable business without worrying about investment sources or bills while you’re still trying to find customers. If you’re on a tight budget but still intend to set up your small business, take inspiration from this guide and explore business ideas with low startup costs!
By Danica Jovic ·
Charitable organizations support and fund causes and initiatives across the world. In this guide, we’ll explore two types of charitable organizations: private foundations and public charities. Although there are similarities, there are important differences in the ways foundations and charities are set up and how funds are collected.
In this guide, we’ll delve deeper into the question of private foundation vs public charity, discussing charity and foundation differences and providing a private-public foundation comparison.
What Is a Private Foundation?
A private foundation, which may also be known as a private nonprofit, is an independent charitable organization. In most cases, private foundations are established by wealthy individuals, families, or businesses. Unlike public charities, which participate in fundraising activities, private foundations usually generate funds via investment from groups, families, or philanthropists. It’s common for foundations to bear the name of their founding members as part of the organization’s moniker; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a well-known example of this.
Private foundations are eligible for tax-exempt status in the US provided that they operate within IRS guidelines. To qualify as a 501(c)(3) private foundation, the organization must exist to support one of the causes mentioned in the following IRS guidance: “charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals.”
The most important foundation and 501(c)(3) comparison is tax-deductible status. Donations to all charities, including private and public foundations that qualify as 501(c)(3) entities are tax-deductible to donors.
How Do Private Foundations Work?
Typically, private nonprofit organizations are set up by sole benefactors, families, or companies. In most cases, the foundation uses an endowment (an initial investment) to generate funds, which are then distributed to causes, initiatives, programs, or schemes run by other individuals or charities. The structure of a private foundation contributes to stability and consistency, as the investment products usually generate a steady, reliable income. This makes budgeting simpler and enables boards, panels or individuals to decide where to spend money and how to make funding choices.
As private foundations are run by donors, they maintain control of:
The foundation’s purpose and funding goals and objectives
The makeup of the board
Funding decisions and the disbursement of funds
Which causes to support
What Are Public Charities?
Public charities are charitable organizations that rely on donations from the general public to support good causes and initiatives. IRS public charities are required to generate at least 33.3% of their income from contributions from the public or meet the criteria set out in the 10% facts and circumstances test. If you operate a public charity, the funds you collect from members of the public are used directly to support your endeavors, for example, giving shelter and meals to homeless people or providing healthcare.
It is critical for boards that run public charities to demonstrate that the acquisition of funds is not carried out to serve the interests of board members or donors. The sole aim must be to support charitable causes through grants and fundraising.
As public charities depend on donations from the general public, they must form a panel of independent members. The board should meet regularly and take responsibility for decision-making. The board should be diverse and it should represent the purpose the organization serves. A public charity board should not include several members of the same family.
Private Foundation vs Public Charity: The Key Differences
The most significant difference between a public charity and a private foundation is the way in which funds are acquired. However, there are several important differences to be aware of. These include:
Funding is the most significant point to address when discussing charity and foundation differences. Private foundations are usually funded by a charity endowment, an investment made by the benefactor or corporation. The funds generated by the endowment are distributed in line with the foundation’s purpose and funding objectives. Public charities are supported by donations from members of the public, which are usually collected through grants, fundraising campaigns, one-off donations, or regular contributions.
Private foundations often make grants, which are distributed to charities or other organizations. Public charities usually rely on donations from members of the public. It is possible for public charitable organizations to make grants, but this is much less common than for private foundations. Private foundations donate money to public charities or causes, while public charities use funds directly to benefit those in need.
Public charities must demonstrate that they receive a level of support from the general public to meet IRS criteria. Private foundations are not prohibited from fundraising and they can accept public donations, but most are entirely self-funded.
A private foundation is typically run by an individual or a board comprising family members or executives from the same corporation. Public charities must have a diverse board that reflects the charity’s mission; they should not have boards made up of family members or multiple individuals from the same businesses or organizations.
A private foundation requires investment and is usually more expensive to establish. All charitable organizations start life as private foundations. Public charities must prove that they generate at least a third of their income from public donations to qualify for IRS exemption.
Running a private foundation is very different from being a board member of a public charity when it comes to control. Individuals and families that operate according to private foundation rules have much greater control than public charity board members. They decide where the money goes and how and when it is spent. Public charities should have a diverse panel of board members and are required to form a quorum to carry out official business.
Public Foundation vs Private Foundation: What Is the Difference?
It’s common to come across the terms public foundation and private foundation when researching or reading about charitable organizations. A private foundation is not the same as a public foundation; the latter is another name for a public charity. Many charities have ‘foundation’ in their name, for example, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Public foundations are funded by donations from members of the public, businesses, private foundations, and the government. Private foundations are funded by individuals, corporations, or families. They are not reliant on public support and maintain control of all funding decisions.
Types of Private Foundation
There are two types of private foundations: operating and non-operating foundations.
Non-operating foundations: Non-operating foundations are the most common type of private foundation. These organizations provide grants for public charities. Private foundations can generate funds through fundraising activities, but non-operating foundations are not typically involved in running programs. Non-operating private foundations are required to distribute a minimum of 5% of their net investment annually.
Operating foundations: Operating foundations are actually involved and engaged in running charitable programs on a continual basis. To ensure that foundations continue to support initiatives in a sustainable manner, they must contribute a sizable portion - around 85% - of net investment assets per year. Operating foundations undertake charitable activities rather than providing grants for public charities. Examples include setting up and running an animal shelter or buying and delivering food supplies, rather than donating to a food bank.
Private Foundation Rules
To operate a private foundation, individuals, groups, and corporations must be aware of private foundation rules and submit the required legal papers for foundations and charities. The rules relate primarily to taxation and include the following:
Private foundations must distribute around 5% of the previous year’s net investment assets per year.
They must provide grants to other charitable organizations rather than individuals (although this may be permitted in certain circumstances, for example, supporting an individual through education).
They have to pay 1-2% excise tax on net investment income.
Public Charity and Nonprofit Comparison
When reading about charitable organizations, it’s understandable to have questions about nonprofit and foundation differences and make public charity and nonprofit comparisons. Nonprofit is an umbrella term that covers a broad spectrum of organizations. Public charities and private foundations are nonprofits, which means that they are run for the benefit of communities or public or social initiatives. Nonprofits are not run to generate profits for donors, owners, or supporters.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Private Foundations?
If you want to support good causes, you may be thinking about setting up a private foundation. Here are some pros and cons to consider:
Permanence: Private foundations can operate for many years, providing support to recipients on a consistent basis.
Control: Private foundations enjoy a much greater level of control than public charities. Individuals and families have the ability to decide how to spend their money, when to donate to causes, and how much to distribute in grants.
Legacy: Many individuals and families decide to establish a private foundation to form a legacy, which can strengthen ties for the future or commemorate those who have passed.
Tax benefits: Private foundations that meet 501(c)(3) criteria are tax-exempt. Contributors can usually claim donations as deductibles and benefactors can collect donations without paying tax on them.
Opportunities: As the rules are more lenient for private foundations than public charities, foundations can take advantage of a wider range of opportunities, including donating to individuals, making international grants, offering scholarships, or setting up and running their own charitable schemes.
Significant setup funds: To establish a private foundation, you need to have a substantial endowment to invest.
Time commitments: Running a private foundation isn’t for the faint-hearted; it takes up a lot of your time.
Record keeping and administration requirements: The paperwork demands of establishing and managing a private foundation can be overwhelming.
Private foundations and public charities are both forms of charitable organizations. Private foundations are usually established by individuals, families, or companies, and they make grants and distribute funds through their own investment assets and funds. Public charities rely on donations from the public and they support good causes, communities, and individuals directly.
It’s important to understand the differences between private foundations and public charities if you want to support projects or programs, or if you’re thinking about setting up a foundation. Private foundations retain control of funding decisions, but they’re expensive to set up and they often require a lot of time and effort, particularly during the early stages. Public charities have diverse boards, which are responsible for making decisions, but they are governed by rules that dictate how money is collected and spent.
By Danica Jovic ·
Patents are crucial for protecting intellectual property, particularly if you run a small startup. The last thing you want is to invest all your time, energy, and money into a project, only for an unscrupulous rival to snatch your ideas.
The patenting procedure isn’t free, though. In this post, we’ll take a look at how much a patent actually costs. Then, we’ll analyze some patent cost examples before exploring the difference between trademark and patent costs.
Cost of a Patent
You can break down the cost of obtaining a patent into three categories:
Government filing fees
Patent applications can range from $400+ if you decide to go down the do-it-yourself route to $10,000+ if you use a lawyer. The actual amount you’ll pay depends on your status. Government filing fees for micro-businesses are $400, while those for small entities are $730 or more. If you also require professional drawings to describe your inventions, they will set you back a further $300 to $500, depending on the complexity.
Obtaining a patent isn’t a straightforward procedure. While the application process is affordable for the majority of businesses, the official requirements can be high. The law is becoming more stringent, and government agencies, such as the United States Supreme Court, The United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, are constantly adding more regulations.
To secure a patent, you must demonstrate in writing that your invention is unique and be able to prove this to the USPTO. You need to show that you’ve developed something original that other market participants are not yet using. And you must describe it in such a way that meets the various legal requirements of government agencies. Therefore, while the price of a patent application might seem relatively manageable, the likelihood of success depends entirely on the quality of the communication.
Certain types of patents may be more complicated than others. If you’ve hired a lawyer to draft your application for you, it may take them time to get up to speed with the technical aspects of your invention. Your patent could seem simple to you, but it might be complicated for a lawyer to grasp if it’s technically intricate. This may then drive up your costs, since you’ll require lengthier consultations with your lawyer.
Software patenting costs tend to be higher because of the difficulty in understanding the innovation. It may also be hard for the patent office to determine the way in which the invention is unique or original, increasing patenting fees and surcharges further.
Types of Patents and Their Costs
Because of the varying complexity of patents, they have different costs. However, there are diverse types of patents that you can apply for.
Non-Provisional Patent Application
Non-provisional patent applications protect your invention for as long as it remains in effect. Prices start from around $400 and include search, review, and examination fees. At the higher end of the price spectrum, a non-provisional application may cost over $15,000 if most tasks are handled by a lawyer. However, you should keep in mind that how much you pay depends primarily on the complexity of the invention. Attorney patent prices are significantly lower for simple inventions compared to complicated or software-based ones.
Provisional Patent Application
Provisional patent applications are popular among organizations that want to begin protecting their intellectual property immediately but don’t have time to file a non-provisional patent application. Allowing time for the non-provisional patent application to go through, provisional patents protect firms for 12 months against IP theft.
As you might expect, filing for a provisional patent can be significantly cheaper than a non-provisional patent since it is temporary. You can pay as little as $65 in filing fees if you do it yourself, but more realistically, $5,000-$10,000 with the help of a lawyer.
Design patents protect your product’s unique appearance, for instance, the particular shape of a plastic bottle, earplug, or medical product. And because they only involve the evaluation of shape, prices tend to be much lower. Therefore, you can expect to pay $2,500-$3,000, including a $140 examination fee.
Design patents are essential in the fashion industry. A designer bag might not represent anything new in the technical sense, but the new design could be critical for the fashion house’s competitive advantage. Most importantly, a design patent can prevent rivals from creating copycat products.
Lastly, plant patents prevent anyone else from utilizing a particular plant for commercial gain. These patents mainly affect plant hybridization and genetic modifications, as plants found in their natural state cannot be patented.
Application costs for plant patents range from $360 to $720, whereas $170 of this cost covers examination fees. Total costs, including legal fees, are $4,600-$7,600.
What Factors Affect the Cost of Filing a Patent?
So far, we’ve discussed patent costs in terms of averages. However, the amount that you actually pay will be calculated on the basis of various factors to do with the patent itself.
Your product is similar to others. If your product is completely original and new, it is usually quite straightforward to determine its patentability. However, if you are adding a product to a saturated market, the patenting price rises. It is more difficult to demonstrate that the invention is unique and, therefore, requires more labor.
You want to protect your product in several countries. Protecting your intellectual property in the US is relatively clear-cut. However, you will need to pay additional fees to patent examiners in other countries if you want to protect it internationally.
You see a big market opportunity. In many cases, the greater the profits that an invention will bring, the more money it’s worth spending patenting an invention.
Your invention involves technology. As you might expect, a complex mechanical patent costs significantly more than a simple one. It takes time for examiners and lawyers to understand how it works and assess it accordingly.
You operate a large business. Lastly, the price of a patent will go up if you run a large business. Individuals, micro-entities, and small businesses pay the least.
Patent Cost Examples
Let’s take a look at some examples of how much you are likely to pay for a patent, from the simplest to the most complex:
Licensing a patent cost
Patent Attorney Cost
Paper clip, bowl, wallet, packaging, tea cozy
Fanny pack, children’s toy, drinks flask, dog harness
Handheld tools, MP3 player, disposable camera
Solar panel pack, pop-up tent
Prosthetic limbs, telecommunications equipment, medical scanners
Machine learning systems, automated control systems, networking software
More than $16,000
These figures are just an estimate and should be adjusted for each case. However, as you can see, the main cost is definitely legal fees. Other costs only make up around 20%-30% of the total price.
Here is an example of how your costs might break down for a consumer electronics product, such as a bicycle GPS or Bluetooth headset:
Patenting a consumer electronics product – example
Patent search with attorney opinion
Provisional patent preparation and filing
USPTO provisional filing fee
Non-provisional patent filing
USPTO non-provisional filing fee
As you can see, the costs can add up quickly. Even a relatively simple invention patent can reach five figures or more. However, the cost of a patent is considerably lower than the costs that might ensue in case of not filing.
How Much Does It Cost To Appeal a Rejected Patent Application?
The USPTO won’t always accept your patent, even with the help of lawyers. However, if they reject it, you can still appeal.
Filing a written response costs $2,000-$5,000, and if you want to speak to a USPTO representative face to face, you may have to spend thousands more dollars. There is no guarantee that your appeal will be successful, either, so it’s advisable to speak to an attorney before you proceed.
Patent Maintenance Fees
Non-provisional patents are for life, and you don’t need to pay recurring fees to keep them active. However, the USPTO requires inventors to pay periodic maintenance fees for provisional patents.
This breaks down as $980 after three and a half years, $2,480 after seven and a half years, and $4,110 after 11 years. Using this method, some inventors may be able to protect their intellectual property for the product’s entire life if obtaining a full non-provisional patent is not possible.
During this time, you can also make amendments to your invention. These cost $2,200-$3,500 and may help advance your non-provisional application in the sense that the alterations might be sufficient to convince the USPTO that your patent is one of a kind.
Furthermore, inventors of any type of patent (including non-provisional) may also be subject to ongoing costs. These include financial services administration fees, post-issuance fees, and extension-of-time fees, which let patents run for longer.
Trademark vs. Patent Cost
While trademark filing fees are roughly the same as patent fees – between $225 and $600 – legal costs vary significantly. In general, legal fees will be substantially lower (and sometimes non-existent) when filing for a trademark. It is solely in cases when applicants are challenging the trademark of another brand that they may incur considerable legal fees.
Asking the question “how much does it cost to patent a name?” doesn’t make a lot of sense, as trademarks, which are not inventions, cannot become patents.
Should You Use a Patent Cost Calculator?
It’s not always clear what the ultimate cost of a patent will be. However, you might be able to get an estimate using a patent cost calculator. It will help evaluate the complexity of the patent and then give you a ballpark figure based on current fees and cost estimates.
Calculators, though, are not a substitute for a professional opinion. Experienced attorneys should be able to tell you both the likely legal and total cost of an invention after reviewing your ideas.
So, how much does a patent cost? The price you pay for a patent depends heavily on the type of invention you want to launch on the market and the type of patent you obtain. Other factors that can lead to higher costs include things like the number of similar patents already registered and the size of your business. As a general rule, you should expect to pay a minimum of $5,000 with legal assistance.
By Danica Djokic ·