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Starting a Small Business in Idaho: LLC or Sole Proprietorship

Reviewed by Ty Crandall

July 7, 2024


Starting a Business in Idaho

A new business in Idaho is in reach. Have you been wondering: just how do I start a business in Idaho? And more importantly, can I do so no matter what the economic conditions are? Can I start a new business in Idaho during a recession?

A New Business in Idaho: Pros and Cons

Business Insider put Idaho in the middle set of ten states to start a new business in, per a 2016 article. And this is for the whole nation.  But its per capita GDP damages its position on the list. The education level and the availability of employees are both on the low end, too.  But the state has the third cheapest cost of living. It also has the sixth best opportunity share of new entrepreneurs in the country.

Recent Upswing?

In a 2018 article, Forbes put Idaho at its somewhat covet-worthy 14th spot. But also in 2018, Fit Small Business put Idaho at number 24.

Keep in mind, naturally, the three sites have differing methodologies.

Forbes gives Idaho high praise for its economic climate and regulatory environment. The state also does well when it comes to growth prospects, with above an average labor supply.

Fit Small Business does give Idaho high marks for access to capital (sixth in the nation). Cost of living and quality of life also rank well. But it’s below average for labor market, a measure of location desirability and percent of people with bachelor’s degrees. Hence there may be workers available, but they won’t do so well in more technical disciplines (unless you are willing to pay for continuing education). Plus they ranked Idaho dead last for startup activity.

If you’re starting a trucking business in particular, Idaho could be right up your alley.

Information on how you can Discover 7 Easy Vendors to Start Building Business Credit Immediately - without a Personal Credit Check or Guarantee via Credit Suite

A New Business in Idaho: DBAs

For sole proprietors not wishing to have their business’s name be the same as their own, a DBA (“Doing Business As”) status makes a lot of sense. In Idaho, it is called an assumed business name. The proper forms are with the Idaho Secretary of State website.

Start a New Business in Idaho – Idaho Top Industries

According to Idaho Commerce, the biggest industries in Idaho are aerospace, recreation technology, and energy. More top Idaho industries are advanced manufacturing, and computer technology and innovation. Also, these are top industries in Idaho: shared services, food production, and travel.

Smart business owners can take advantage of the bigger industries in the area by offering goods or services such as trucking for any industry. They can also offer catering, hospitality, and transportation. Another option is computer services and repairs. Yet another idea is technological innovations, among others.

Here is exactly how to start a new business in Idaho.

Idaho New Business Secretary of State Requirements

Register a Business Name

Business names in Idaho must have a registration with the Idaho Secretary of State. Find and download the application to reserve a corporate name online at Reserve an Idaho Corporate Name on the Idaho Secretary of State website. There is a $20.00 filing fee to reserve a corporate name. A business owner must submit the name reservation application form to the office of the Secretary of State in Boise.

There are special naming requirements for Idaho corporations. To incorporate a small business in the state of Idaho, the corporate name that a business owner chooses must include the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” “company”. Or it can include an abbreviation of any one of these words.

Business Permits and Licenses

A website run by the state offers a “Business Wizard”. It has a quiz to help you determine which licenses you need.

Local Permits and Licenses

Idaho also keeps a directory of all the Idaho City and Idaho County Clerk or Recorder offices.

Start a New Business in Idaho – Business Registration

Information and forms are with the Idaho Secretary of State.

A vital part of preparing to incorporate a small business in the state of Idaho is choosing a registered agent for the corporation. A company’s registered agent acts as an agent for service of process. They will also be responsible for receiving legal and tax documents for the corporation.  A business owner may want to look into using the registered agent services of a corporate service company.

There are various corporate service companies which provide registered agent services for a fee. Go to Idaho Corporate Register Agent on the Idaho Secretary of State website to find more information about companies that provide registered agent services.

Tax Registration

Idaho Biz Help also has information about taxes. You must register with the State Tax Commission.

Virtual Offices

Alliance Virtual Offices offers virtual office space in Idaho, in Boise.

Regus, however, has Idaho virtual business offices in Boise and Meridien.

For other areas of the state, business owners might want to seek out local business owners. Or they could possibly try computer user groups to get help in this area.

Another option may be to seek virtual business office space in neighboring states. These are Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Start a New Business in Idaho – Build Business Credit

Business credit is credit in a business’s name. It doesn’t attach to a business owner’s personal credit, not even if the owner is a sole proprietor and the solitary employee of the business.

Thus, an entrepreneur’s business and individual credit scores can be very different.

The Benefits

Because small business credit is distinct from personal, it helps to secure an entrepreneur’s personal assets, in case of court action or business bankruptcy.

Also, with two separate credit scores, a small business owner can get two separate cards from the same vendor. This effectively doubles purchasing power.

Another advantage is that even startups can do this. Visiting a bank for a business loan can be a formula for frustration. But building company credit, when done right, is a plan for success.

Consumer credit scores depend on payments but also other factors like credit use percentages.

But for small business credit, the scores actually only depend on if a business pays its bills promptly.

Start a New Business in Idaho – Business Fundability™

A company has to be Fundable to loan providers and merchants.

Hence, a company will need a professional-looking website and email address. And it needs to have website hosting bought from a hosting company.

In addition, the business phone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or similar).

A business will also need a bank account devoted only to it, and it has to have every one of the licenses essential for operating.

Information on how you can Discover 7 Easy Vendors to Start Building Business Credit Immediately - without a Personal Credit Check or Guarantee via Credit Suite

Start a New Business in Idaho – Working with the IRS

Visit the IRS website and get an EIN for the company. They’re free. Select a business entity such as corporation, LLC, etc.

A business can begin as a sole proprietor. But they will should switch to a kind of corporation or an LLC.

This is in order to decrease risk. And it will make best use of tax benefits.

A business entity will matter when it concerns taxes and liability in the event of a lawsuit. A sole proprietorship means the owner is it when it comes to liability and tax obligations. Nobody else is responsible.

Setting off the Business Credit Reporting Process

Start at the D&B website and get a free D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is how D&B gets a company in their system, to generate a PAYDEX score. If there is no D-U-N-S number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.

Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s web sites for the business. You can do this at www.creditsuite.com/reports. If there is a record with them, check it for accuracy and completeness. If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process.

This way, Experian and Equifax will have something to report on.

Vendor Credit

First you ought to establish trade lines that report. This is also known as vendor credit. Then you’ll have an established credit profile, and you’ll get a business credit score.

Idaho coronavirus Credit Suite

And with an established business credit profile and score you can begin to get more credit.

These types of accounts have the tendency to be for the things bought all the time, like shipping boxes, outdoor work wear, iand office furniture.

But to start with, what is trade credit? These trade lines are credit issuers who will give you starter credit when you have none now. Terms are commonly Net 30, versus revolving.

Therefore, if you get approval for $1,000 in vendor credit and use all of it, you need to pay that money back in a set term, such as within 30 days on a Net 30 account.

You want 3 of these to move onto more credit.

Start a New Business in Idaho –Monitor Your Business Credit

Know what is happening with your credit. Make sure it is being reported and attend to any mistakes ASAP. Get in the habit of checking credit reports. Dig into the specifics, not just the scores.

We can help you monitor business credit at Experian, Equifax, and D&B for considerably less.

Update Your Records

Update the data if there are inaccuracies or the info is incomplete.

Start a New Business in Idaho –Fix Your Business Credit

So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to challenge any errors in your records. Errors in your credit report(s) can be fixed. But the CRAs usually want you to dispute in a particular way. Fixing credit report mistakes means you specifically detail any charges you contest.

Information on how you can Discover 7 Easy Vendors to Start Building Business Credit Immediately - without a Personal Credit Check or Guarantee via Credit Suite

Start a New Business in Idaho –A Word about Business Credit Building

Always use credit sensibly! Don’t borrow more than what you can pay off. Track balances and deadlines for repayments. Paying off punctually and in full will do more to raise business credit scores than just about anything else.

Building business credit pays off. Great business credit scores help a company get loans. Your loan provider knows the small business can pay its financial obligations. They understand the business is for real.

The company’s EIN connects to high scores and loan providers won’t feel the need to call for a personal guarantee.

Business credit is an asset which can help your company in years to come.

Learn more here and get started toward opening a new business in Idaho.

Want to start a new business someplace else in America? Then check out our handy guide to starting a business in any state in the country.

Idaho’s Response to COVID-19

How is Idaho is handling COVID-19? On March 13, Governor Brad Little declared a state of emergency. The Governor also created a Coronavirus Working Group. So this group meets at least weekly to support the work of Idaho’s public health agencies. And they will increase coordination and communication around the many aspects of the issue.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved Governor Brad Little’s request to transfer $2 million to the Governor’s Emergency Fund to help in Idaho’s response. But it does not appear that they have earmarked these funds at all for small businesses. This may change in time.

On April 21, it was reported that some of the CARES Act funding in Idaho is going to large companies and not the small businesses for which the money is intended.

About the author 

Janet Gershen-Siegel

Janet Gershen-Siegel is the seasoned Finance Writer and a former content manager at Credit Suite. She has been admitted to practice law for over 30 years, with a focus on litigation and product liability, and is a published author, with writing credits at Entrepreneur, FedSmith.com and BusinessingMag.com.

She has a BA in Philosophy from Boston University, a JD from the Delaware Law School of Widener University, and a MS in Interactive Media (Social Media) from Quinnipiac University.

She regularly writes for Credit Suite, which helps businesses improve Fundability™, build credit, and get approved for loans and credit lines.

Her specialties: business credit, business credit cards, business funding, crowdfunding, and law

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