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How to Start a New Business in Idaho

Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at July 2nd, 2019

How to Start a New Business in Idaho

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.

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Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

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 Office

Alliance does not offer virtual office space in Idaho, not even 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.

The Process

Building business credit is a process, and it does not happen without effort. A company must proactively work to establish company credit.

That being said, it can be done readily and quickly, and it is much swifter than establishing personal credit scores.

Vendors are a big aspect of this process.

Carrying out the steps out of order will cause repetitive rejections. No one can start at the top with small business credit. For instance, you can’t start with retail or cash credit from your bank. If you do, you’ll get a denial 100% of the time.

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 company like GoDaddy.

And, company phone numbers should have a listing on

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.

549097 How to Build Credit For Your EIN That is Not Linked to Your SSN2 OP4 101119 - How to Start a New Business in Idaho

Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Start a New Business in Idaho – Working with the IRS

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

A business can begin as a sole proprietor. But they will most likely wish to 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.

Sole Proprietors Take Note

If you run a business as a sole proprietor, then at the very least be sure to file for a DBA. This is ‘doing business as’ status.

If you do not, then your personal name is the same as the company name. Consequently, you can wind up being directly responsible for all small business financial obligations.

In addition, according to the Internal Revenue Service, using this structure there is a 1 in 7 chance of an IRS audit. There is a 1 in 50 probability for corporations! Prevent confusion and dramatically decrease the chances of an Internal Revenue Service audit at the same time.

But don’t look at a DBA filing as being anything beyond a steppingstone to incorporation.

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 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.

new business in Idaho Credit Suite3 - How to Start a New Business in Idaho

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

These types of accounts have the tendency to be for the things bought all the time, like marketing materials, shipping boxes, outdoor work wear, ink and toner, and 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.


Net 30 accounts need to be paid in full within 30 days. 60 accounts must be paid fully within 60 days. Compared to with revolving accounts, you have a set time when you have to pay back what you borrowed or the credit you used.

To kick off your business credit profile the proper way, you need to get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting bureaus. When that’s done, you can then use the credit.

Then repay what you used, and the account is on report to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, or Equifax.

Vendor Credit – It Makes Sense

Not every vendor can help like true starter credit can. These are vendors that will grant an approval with hardly any effort. You also need them to be reporting to one or more of the big three CRAs: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.

You want 3 of these to move onto the next step, which is retail credit.

Retail Credit

Once there are 3 or more vendor trade accounts reporting to at least one of the CRAs, then move onto retail credit. These are companies like Office Depot and Staples.

Only use your SSN and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use the business’s EIN on these credit applications.

Fleet Credit

Are there more accounts reporting? Then move onto fleet credit. These are service providers like BP and Conoco. Use this credit to buy fuel, and to repair and maintain vehicles. Only use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, make certain to apply using the small business’s EIN.

549097 How to Build Credit For Your EIN That is Not Linked to Your SSN2 OP4 101119 - How to Start a New Business in Idaho

Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Cash Credit

Have you been sensibly handling the credit you’ve gotten up to this point? Then move to more universal cash credit. These are businesses like Visa and MasterCard. Only use your SSN and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use your EIN instead.

These are usually MasterCard credit cards. If you have more trade accounts reporting, then these are attainable.

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 and D&B for 90% 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.


Disputing credit report errors normally means you send a paper letter with duplicates of any proofs of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never mail the originals. Always send copies and keep the originals.

Fixing credit report mistakes also means you specifically detail any charges you contest. Make your dispute letter as crystal clear as possible. Be specific about the problems with your report. Use certified mail so that you will have proof that you sent in your dispute.

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.

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