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How Much Does It Cost to Start Your Own Home Business in Singapore?

Singapore is renowned worldwide for being amongst the top countries most conducive for doing business globally, but have you ever thought about starting your own venture?

Some people hesitate because of perceived high startup costs associated with setting up shop—particularly if you are operating out of your own residential address. However, just like any other enterprise anywhere else globally, there are certain legal requirements and operational expenses that come with owning a home business.

In this blog post, we'll comprehensively explore what you should factor into your budget before taking that leap of faith and investing time, effort and resources in your business idea.

Benefits of Doing Business in Singapore

Singapore is a city state that has carved out a reputation as being one of the best places globally to do business. But what sets Singapore apart?

Well, there are several good reasons why this island nation has become so attractive to start a business:

  • Pro business environment. Singapore offers one of the most conducive environments globally for doing business. With low trade barriers and government policies tailored towards promoting trade openness and growth, this city state ranks #2 globally on World Bank ease of doing business rankings.
  • Easy registration process. Starting a new venture from scratch can be time consuming and frustrating in many countries worldwide—but not so in Singapore! Credit must go to their streamlined Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), making it possible for new businesses to be registered within the same day.
  • Intellectual property protection. For entrepreneurs who rely on innovation as their bread and butter protecting their intellectual capital is crucial. It's good news that Singapore offers strong pro intellectual property laws that offer clarity on ownership rights policing infringements and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Understand your home-business scheme

When considering starting a home based business within Singapore its important to note that there are two primary scheme options found within this market.

The specific scheme you choose will be dependent upon several factors including regulatory requirements and unique aspects related to your individual business operations. Let's explore these two different kinds more closely:

Home Office Scheme

Small businesses operating from homes without disrupting the surrounding residential area have an option called The Home Office Scheme.

This category generally includes freelance work, consultancy services and online retail stores amongst other things. As per the scheme's guidelines, you are authorised to use your home address as your business address and perform business activities at the residential address.

But it is important to note that no advertising of any kind is permitted, and neither can you put up any sort of external signage or allow customers to visit you at your residence.

If you want to go this route, you can apply for a license at GoBusiness Singapore; be prepared with your Singpass and a credit card (Visa or Mastercard) for payment.

Something that is worth nothing is that there will be an administrative fee of SGD $20 when applying for this application.

Home-Based Business Scheme

The Home-Based Small Business Scheme caters explicitly for businesses that are more intricate in nature with significant impact potential—think small-scale food manufacturing, hairdressing or beauty services providers, tutoring agencies or independent design professionals.

Remember though: all activities carried out under this scheme must align with relevant authority policies governing them—e.g., Singapore Food Agency for food compliance regulations (hygiene & safety), or Fire Safety & Shelter Department for fire safety.

Knowing which scheme best fits the nature of your business will help you proceed with registration confidently.

Costs of Starting a Home Business in Singapore

Here are some of the costs you can expect when starting a home business in Singapore:

Registration Fees

In addition to providing basic information about your business and its shareholders, you'll also need to pay a registration fee when registering your company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

The new business registration fee in Singapore with ACRA is $300, while the name application is $15.

This fee is payable at the time of registration, and covers the administrative costs associated with processing your application and creating a new business profile in ACRA's database.

As you begin working towards putting up your own business in Singapore, take note that registering entails more than furnishing ACRA with basic information about your company, the type of business entity, business activity type and your stakeholders. It also involves paying a registration fee.

The amount covers costs related to administrative processes such as processing applications plus creating new profiles for businesses within their database infrastructure.

To complete this process successfully, prepare to pay $300 for new business registrations while naming applications require an additional $15.

Property Costs

In Singapore's commercial landscape where rental prices can vary widely—from SGD 10k per month up to SGD 30k—finding an ideal space that suits your budget becomes crucial when starting your own business venture.

One way entrepreneurs cut their operating costs is by setting up shop at home instead of leasing out storefronts in shopping malls or offices.

Operating from the comfort of your own home eliminates the need for expensive rentals while providing prime real estate at zero extra cost. Weighing in on all the pros and cons beforehand could lead you down a much more informed path.

Why consider opening a retail space?

But let's say that leasing out retail spaces make sense for your business needs—what are some benefits involved?

For one thing: improved exposure.

Shopping malls are strategically located in high traffic areas where people gather regularly which means increased visibility for your brand. It can lead to a noticeable increase in sales for small business owners that rely on customer flow.

However this option comes with a higher rental price tag compared to operating from home.

The price range for leasing out small retail spaces inside malls or office buildings starts at around S$3k to anywhere close to S$10k per month.

The cost of renting commercial property is an unavoidable expense for many small businesses, but it's not always clear cut how much you'll end up paying beyond just the monthly rent.

Additional expenses such as utilities and maintenance can take their toll on limited budgets making it increasingly difficult to grow your business over time.

This is why so many Singaporean entrepreneurs might opt for business loans just to get started.  

Operating from home: a new alternative to renting retail

To mitigate these financial burdens, some small business owners have turned towards home-based spaces as an alternative option.

By setting up shop within your own residence or another appropriate location outside traditional commercial zones, businesses are able to enjoy significantly reduced rental fees compared to traditional office spaces in shopping malls or other high traffic areas across Singapore.

While home based spaces offer obvious cost savings, there are also certain limitations and regulatory requirements that need to be considered before making the switch.

Adhering to local zoning rules and avoiding creating any nuisances for nearby residents are essential for ensuring your business can operate smoothly within a residential setting.

Should you lease a retail space, or run a business from home?

Ultimately you'll want to weigh up the various costs and benefits of each option when determining where to rent your small business space.

While mall locations may come with higher rental fees, they offer unbeatable access to customers and potential growth opportunities that could make all the difference in the long run.

Entrepreneurs who run small businesses must decide whether working from home or renting out a commercial location makes more sense financially as well as strategically.

Although utilising one's own living area has the potential for lower costs, there are particular mandates that need to be adhered to which could impact operations negatively.

On the other hand, leasing an outside space could allow for bigger aspirations though at a larger expense.

Ultimately, it is important for business owners to meticulously evaluate all factors relevant to their situation before reaching any conclusions.

Variable Costs

Any savvy home-based business operator knows that accounting for variable costs is essential for long-term success. By familiarizing oneself with these expenditures and crafting a business plan around them can help sidestep financial difficulties while achieving desired results faster.

Variable costs refer primarily to those unpredictable charges, such as monthly utilities payments or fuel expenditure related to internet bills among others such as delivery fees and fuel that vary depending on usage levels.

These differ from fixed expenses that stay constant even when the amount of production inputs increases or decreases in volume.

Doing due diligence on this critical aspect will undoubtedly set you up for success in the world of home business.

These are some of the variable cost that you'll need to factor in when running your home based business:

1. Equipment and supplies

When starting a business from your own home, it becomes essential to consider all the various costs associated with purchasing equipment and supplies required for running your business.

Since these costs could subsequently escalate very quickly, creating an adequate budget plan while distinguishing between urgent items versus those which can wait becomes crucial.

Here is a detailed breakdown covering essential supplies you may need, coupled together with effective methods for savings:

Equipment Costs

1. Computer. A computer is likely going be one's biggest expense; look online for discounts or even explore buying refurbished models which can help reduce costs considerably.

2. Printer. To print documents like invoices, labelling or contracts efficiently at home, purchase of printers becomes an expense that's hard to avoid. To minimize expenses further go for combination printers that double as scanning machines as well as copiers—ultimately saving both space and costs.

3. Phone and Headset. If plans involve making/receiving work-related calls regularly, then getting your hands on good-quality phones along with comfy headsets is recommended. For cost-savings purposes you may want to explore virtual services such as VoIP instead of traditional landlines.

4. Internet and Wi-Fi. Finally, having strong WiFi connectivity cannot be overstated when it comes running a smooth operation from home. Spend time exploring different internet providers' packages—some offer cheaper options bundled with extras, which could result in significant cost savings.

Supply Costs

1. Office Supplies. Costs associated with necessary items, such as paper, pens, and envelopes, may accumulate over time if purchased individually instead of buying bulk quantities.

2. Marketing Materials. To attract new customers and promote your business effectively requires an investment in marketing materials ranging from business cards to flyers and brochures. Finding good deals and exploring online printing services saves companies money while getting their message across effectively.

3. Shipping Supplies. Fulfilling orders may require expensive shipping materials such as boxes and tape but repurposing previously used packaging materials helps companies cut costs and align with sustainability goals simultaneously.

4. Inventory. The need for inventory can be capital-intensive, and Singaporean businesses should avoid over stocking products. A responsible approach involves beginning with a manageable amount of inventory that gradually increases as sales pick up reducing storage costs while optimising opportunities for growth.

Inventory Management is Important to Avoid Wastage

2. Marketing and advertising

For small home-based businesses, marketing and advertising costs can pose significant challenges.

To create an effective marketing plan within their budget, Singaporean business owners must weigh multiple factors such as creative production, social media presence, networking opportunities, and influencer partnerships.

Of course, first-time business owners might not understand the importance of marketing and advertising in their first year of business. But these activities go a long way to getting your brand out there and launching your dream business into success.

Here are some marketing and advertising activities you should consider investing in for your home business, even as a first-time entrepreneur:

Social Media Marketing

There's no doubting the importance of social media marketing for small-scale home businesses. These platforms offer an affordable avenue for connecting with customers and expanding your reach.

To make the most of it business owners must identify which social media channels their target market prefers and produce captivating material that speaks to them.

Instagram is a particularly popular choice for home-based businesses in Singapore, as it provides a way to reach many consumers from a platform they love. Start by growing your brand's Instagram, and you'll be rewarded with more sales over time.

For the entrepreneur that loves to create short videos, then TikTok might be your best bet. Selling products on TikTok is a bit trickier, but with the platform's potential to make even small businesses go viral, you might reap the rewards tenfold.

Read more on social media channels small businesses can consider advertising in.

Ad Spend

Marketing success hedges significantly on ad spend, so devising an optimal strategy requires careful thought and planning. Small business owners may find determining their advertising budget challenging while also factoring in ROI considerations.

One smart practice involves initiating the campaign with limited resources and expanding progressively over time as sales increase.

Typically, experts recommend allocating about 10% of estimated revenue towards ad expenditures to maximise your returns.

Creative Production

When it comes to creating appealing ad materials for a small home-based business without overspending on production costs, the key lies in finding solutions that work best for your niche.

Rather than sacrificing quality for cost or vice versa, striking the perfect balance between both becomes important here.

Creative production options for small businesses include utilising budget-friendly online resources such as Canva or hiring experienced freelance designers, which could range in price anywhere between S$300-S$2k depending upon requirements.

Opting for services from professional agencies will cost you anywhere between S$1,500 to S$3,00 and above based on the project's complexity.

Pop-up Events

Up and coming home-based businesses often find themselves struggling when it comes to gaining recognition on the market, especially when they have restricted marketing budgets or resources compared against established brands who possess endless marketing dollars available each year.

Nevertheless there is still hope for them: pop up events. These non-permanent retail spaces that provide smaller companies with an excellent opportunity to showcase what they have on offer and attract brand new buyers—a big win when it comes to increasing brand visibility!

By participating in these events, small business owners can maximise foot traffic to their store and expand their customer reach.

For Singapore-based business owners who want to join the latest pop up events happening in town, look no further than Eventbrite, an event discovery platform which lists all upcoming related events. it's simple yet essential for any small business trying to gain more exposure.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing serves as an effective strategy for small home-based businesses seeking growth opportunities. The concept involves enlisting social media influencers with a considerable following who can leverage their audience to promote your brand and products effectively.

Compared to traditional advertising methods, this technique proves cost-effective while still allowing access to specific demographics through targeted promotion tactics.

It's vital that you align with influencers sharing similar values as yours while ensuring that their fan base engages in their content.

For example, if you're a Singaporean home-based food business, it makes sense to tap local Singapore-based food influencers with a good following. You should look into striking up a deal that gets your cuisine out there to their audience, so you know you're reaching a community of food-savvy followers.

Always remember that hiring an influencer could come at varying costs ranging from hundreds of dollars up into the thousands, so invest time in researching before committing fully. Platforms like Partipost offers businesses access to curated lists of affordable influencer options.

Small home based businesses often face hefty marketing and advertising bills. Yet by making wise choices employing strategic planning tactics and prioritising high ROI activities these businesses can craft a potent marketing strategy that propels them towards success.

Want to learn how to do influencer marketing even without a budget? Take a look at this guide.

3. Website development and maintenance

In today's competitive landscape, having a website is crucial to the success of any business. Website development and maintenance should be considered a necessary investment for small businesses in Singapore.

Costs can vary depending on the complexity of the website and the features required. However, the benefits of having a professional and user-friendly website far outweigh the costs, as it can help to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and ultimately drive sales for your business.

A business without a website is like a ship without its compass. In today's landscape, it is imperative that small businesses operating in Singapore acknowledge how indispensable investing in their own websites nowadays.

Depending on what kind of features one wants to incorporate into their website or how sophisticated they want their site to be, this may influence costs along the way. Nonetheless, attaining professional-looking webpages that are user-friendly prove to hold more benefits than drawbacks as they can increase brand acknowledgment, foster leads generation opportunities as well as enhance sales revenue figures considerably.

Here are some cost factors worth considering while engaging with website development for home based businesses located within Singapore:

Domain and Hosting Costs

Anyone embarking on their website-building journey should make acquiring a domain name alongside finding reliable hosting services two of their top priorities.

Building your store website begins with selecting the right domain name relevant to your business; from there, finding trustworthy web hosting services with adequate space and security features is critical.

Of course, different plans will come with various associated costs depending on their features and desired capabilities—take time researching which one works for you.

For maximum peace of mind when it comes to any possible downtime complications, partnering with reputable providers like Namecheap who guarantee an impressive uptime rate of 99.9% can greatly benefit you and your audience's experiences.

When exploring domains over at Namecheap or elsewhere on the internet, it is worth noting that prices can differ wildly based on available names. This can range from mere dollars up to thousands of dollars based solely on popularity or rarity of the domain names.

Website Design and Development Costs

When planning to create a website with heavily customised features, you expect to invest upfront so that your investments can pay off in the long run.

Hiring professional web developers would help build a website that is on par with industry standards while focusing on optimising for search engine ranking along with maximising ease of the customer experience.

Expected that designers and developers can either bill you hourly rates or fixed prices, which could go anywhere between S$1,K to S$5K. But most importantly, you need to find a vendor that could grasps your company's objectives wholly so that every design element resonates well with them.

However, if budgets are tight or time is restricted, there's no need to worry.

Platforms like Cococart offers a cost-effective, user-friendly e-commerce platform with valuable features such as online ordering, bookings, loyalty programs, email marketing and analytics—all geared towards small business owners' online success.

For small businesses seeking to make an impact in the online commerce, Cococart presents an attractive option that takes into account both time and budget limitations. With its comprehensive features, this solution can help you establish or expand your digital footprint with ease.

Content Creation Costs

When it comes to expanding your audience reach and securing more website visitors, crafting high quality content is integral. From producing compelling blog posts and lively social media updates to drafting persuasive product descriptions, quality content reigns supreme.

Tackling this work yourself is an option, but hiring an experienced creator is also beneficial. Costs will vary depending on several factors like quantity and scope. To secure a proficient freelance creator for your brand expect to fork out anywhere between S$800 to S$1.5K.

Maintenance and Security Costs

Maintaining a website isn't rocket science—but neglecting critical security aspects might have negative consequences on your business operations down the line if left untended.

That's why conducting regular backups, software updates and cybersecurity scans are crucial in protecting your online presence from cyber attacks. Keep in mind: some web developers or hosting providers may include this service within their package cost, while others could charge an extra fee for their time spent working on maintaining your site.

Thanks to modern CMSs like WordPress, now small business owners have more control over securing websites than ever before with many affordable options like WordFence. Prices would start from US$120 per year for the basic plans.

4. Professional services (i.e. accounting)

Accounting Expenses

Aspiring entrepreneurs must put significant effort into establishing robust accounting systems that keep track of all financial transactions while ensuring compliance with legal obligations such as tax filings and reporting standards.

Collaborating with experienced accountants is a wise move to make because they can provide valuable advice regarding financial matters including budgeting and managing cash flows efficiently.

In Singapore, it's mandatory to maintain comprehensive records of all business transactions by implementing suitable tools, such as reliable accounting software engaging professional accounting services, or hiring an accountant, depending on the nature and complexity of your business.

The cost of hiring an accountant varies depending on factors such as volume and complexity levels.

Small businesses might have to spend anywhere between S$800 S$1,200 when outsourcing a freelancer, or alternatively choose affordable online platforms such as Xero which has standard plans starting from S$55 per month.

Xero Accounting


Setting up a home-based businesses in Singapore can be intimidating in the beginning, but if you put in the work, it's more than achievable.

Proper planning and financial management can significantly reduce your start-up expenses and pave the way for your dream venture's success. Remember to factor in important aspects like regulatory compliance, equipment purchase cost, inventory expenditure and advertising while charting out a blueprint.

It's always best to seek guidance from peers or seasoned business leaders when you need it. Launching a home based business can provide immense gratification without burning holes in your pocket if correctly executed. 

Ready to get started on the right foot? Launch your home-based business with Cococart today, and get access to amazing business-boosting tools for a fraction of the price.

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