How much does it cost to start a business?

Last modified:

Wednesday 7 July 2021

Do you want to start your own business? Before you start, it is essential to assess the various costs you will have to face. 

No money, no project? Don’t worry ! In this article we’ll reveal the costs you’ll need to think about when starting your independent business. And as you’ll see, you don’t necessarily need a healthy bank balance to make your dream a reality...

Starting as a sole trader or starting a company

Startup costs vary depending on whether you’re launching as a sole trader or starting a company:

Launching as a sole trader 

The following formation or setup costs apply:

  • Registration with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (ECB) via the business registration service: €90.50 (VAT not applicable);
  • Activation of a VAT number via the business registration service: between €55 and €60 depending on the registration service (+21% VAT). Note that you can register yourself for free through the relevant local VAT office.

So for less than 100 euros altogether you can set up a company and start generating income.

Launching a company

The formation or setup costs for a limited liability company (SARL) or cooperative company (SC) include the following:

  • Solicitor’s authentic instrument, depending on the complexity: €900 to €1,100 (incl. VAT);
  • Write access to deeds: €95 (+21% VAT);
  • Registration rights of the constituent instrument with SPF Finances: €50;
  • Filling with the court administration service for the purpose of publication of the constituent instrument with the Belgian Official Journal, depending on whether the request is made via letter or email: €191.50 or €237.10 (+21% VAT);
  • Registration of your business with the ECB via the business registration service: €90.50;
  • Activation of a VAT number via the business registration service: between €55 and €60 depending on the registration service (+21% VAT). Note that you can register yourself for free through the relevant local VAT office.

Some of these amounts are indexed each year.

It will cost you in total around 1,350-1,650 euros minimum to set up a SARL or SC type company.  For these two types of companies, the founders must put up sufficient seed funding in order to carry out the company’s activities (rent payment, charges, insurance, your salary, equipment purchases, inventory, etc.), a sum determined through a financial plan. 

To launch a limited company (SA), it is mandatory for a minimum of 61,500 euros to be used as working capital.

However, in both cases, while this capital is essential, it does not need to be put up as direct expenditure when the company is founded, but rather injected into the company after it has been created.

Finally, you can create a simple partnership without a solicitor, by private deed, which considerably reduces the setup costs.

Additional costs

You may eventually have to pay discretionary costs depending on how specific your project is:

Let's stay in touch

Join more than 25,000 subscribers and receive every fortnight in your mailbox our free newsletter (French or Dutch), packed with the latest news, fascinating testimonials, actionable advice and an overview of useful workshops and networking activities for entrepreneurs in Brussels !